Skip to main content


Mytien Goldberg, MD, FACS

Request A Consultation

How is the breast reduction procedure done?

Posted April 06, 2012 in Breast Reduction

Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast reduction surgery is a surgical method of reducing the size of the breasts. A breast reduction procedure is most commonly performed for women who have breasts that are too large in relation to their body frame, women who have shoulder, neck or back problems caused by the weight of the breasts, women who are restricted from physical activity due to the size of the breasts, and for women whose breasts are large enough to cause body image and self esteem issues. Breast reduction can attend to one or both breasts if they are disproportional or if they differ in size.

Breast reduction surgery is available to any patient whose breasts have completed physical maturation. One of the most significant factors involving the size and shape of the breasts is pregnancy and breast-feeding which can dramatically change the shape and size of the breast and some doctors may recommend waiting until after childbirth, although this is not a rule. Patients should also be in good physical health and be non-smokers. Patients who regularly smoke and wish to undergo breast reduction surgery may be asked to quit for several months before and after the procedure. Patients will also need to refrain from the use of Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs that thin the blood and can cause a risk of bleeding during surgery.

How is the breast reduction procedure done?

During a breast reduction procedure, the surgeon will make 3 main incisions and generally they are all that are necessary. The first incision runs from the areola down to the base of the breast. The second incision runs along the underside of the breast and follows the curve of the breast. The final incision traces the aureola so that the nipple can be repositioned after breast tissue has been removed. The nipples remain connected to the underlying tissues in an effort to retain function and sensation. The size of the aureola can also be reduced before repositioning to help balance the proportion between the size of the breast and the nipple. Be sure talk with your surgeon about any future plans to have children and express any concerns regarding breast function.

A breast reduction procedure can be performed in a hospital or at a surgical center and takes anywhere from 2-4 hours on average. During this time the patient will remain under general anesthesia to prevent pain and will not feel or remember anything. Although a breast reduction is a major surgery, it is usually considered an outpatient procedure, meaning patients are allowed to return home afterwards and do not necessarily require an overnight stay. Some patients choose to stay at a post surgical recovery center the first night after surgery to make sure they get the optimal care and attention available.

There are multiple variations on procedures and a surgeon will be able to determine what is best for each patient.

The most important thing patients can do to make sure surgery provides the best results is to stay healthy in the weeks and months leading up to surgery, and get plenty of rest and take care of the body afterwards. It is vitally important to follow the advice of the surgeons as closely as possible and not to rush back to strenuous activities. Most patients are able move about after several days and with the help of post-surgical compression bras may be able to return to work in around 2 weeks with the approval of the surgeon during check ups. Vigorous activities should initially be avoided but should slowly be eased into as advised by surgeons. While the breast will be very swollen and tender for at least the first couple of weeks, swelling and discomfort will subside fully over the course of several months and patients will be able to return to wearing normal bras and finally get an idea of what the final outcome will be.


Request a consultation or book your
next appointment.

Contact Us