Know All About Breast Reduction


How Do I Decrease My Breast Size?

If you have macromastia, i.e disproportionate or overly heavy breasts, then you can be a prey to a number of problems such as chronic back and neck pain, sore muscles, stasis ulcers, skin irritation, dead skin tissues and breathing difficulties. These conditions can make it difficult for you to exercise, play sports, swim or even function on a daily basis. Numbness in breasts and upper chest areas can also be caused due to excessive weight.

Aesthetic displeasure in general with the size of the breasts is common among women. If you are also plagued by any of these problems, then your solution is right below.


Breast Reduction can help you remove excess fat from your chest and hence relieve back pain.

What Is Breast Reduction?

Breast reduction is a surgical procedure. It is performed to remove the extra glandular tissue and fat in the breasts, in order to reshape them or reduce their size. Overly large or sagging breasts may cause health and emotional problems like back, neck and shoulder pain in women. Men affected by gynecomastia can also get this surgery performed. The candidate should be physically healthy and a non smoker.

The procedure is also called Reduction Mammoplasty or Mammaplasty.

Who Are The Ideal Candidates For Breast Reduction?

Any patient with realistic expectations of the procedure, is a good candidate for the procedure. Some frequent demographics who opt for this procedure include:


Women with large pendulous breasts, that cause back, neck and shoulder pain commonly opt for this procedure.

Patients who have one breast larger than the other.

Women who haven’t noticed any change in comfort after wearing wide strapped bras, or receiving physiotherapy.

Men who haven’t responded well to medications or exercise regimens to reduce breast size.

What Are The Different Types Of Breast Reduction?

There are a number of ways breast reductions are done. It depends primarily on the skill and experience of the plastic surgeon. Surgeons often decide on the technique based on the size and shape of one’s breasts. Different kinds of breast reduction surgery are:

Anchor Breast Reduction

The incision in this procedure is made around the nipple, down the breast and along the crease of the breast, in the shape of an anchor. The fat, skin and tissue will be removed from the lower segment of the breast. At the end the nipple and areola will be moved to a higher location, and then a stitch is made to close the original incision.

Vertical Breast Reduction

A relatively new procedure, this is employed for its less invasive approach and longer lasting effects. A ‘lollipop’ incision is made around the areola and down the breast, after which fat and tissue is removed. The incision is closed by pleating the excess skin over each other. This is a popular procedure amongst patients with moderately large breasts.

Scarless Breast Reduction

This technique uses liposuction, with minimal scarring outcomes. The incisions are only a few millimeters wide and are made into the crease of the breasts or armpits. This is used in females whose breasts are large due to fat collection rather than the glandular tissue. This happens when the glandular tissue (which produces milk), does not have fat that can be removed by this technique. Thin women with large breasts do not make good candidates for this procedure.

 What To Do Before A Breast Reduction Procedure?

  • You will be asked to stop aspirin like medications, supplements, vitamin E and vitamin A. These are known to decreases clot formation and increase bleeding.

  • Cigarettes need to be stopped at least two weeks prior to your procedure. Nicotine in cigarettes causing the constriction of blood vessels which prolongs recovery time.

  • Arrange for someone to come over after your procedure to help you out, since you will not be able to do much in your recovery stages.

  • The day before your procedure make sure you do not consume any food after midnight. In some instances surgeons opt for intubations and this may cause an aspiration of gastric contents which could lead to infections in the lungs.

 What Is The Post-operative Care For Breast Reduction?

  • Ice should not be used directly on the skin. After care measures like cool compresses help reduce the swelling.

  • Sleep with your head elevated for at least a week. This helps to reduce swelling and numbness.

  • Don’t lift objects over 3 kgs for the next couple of weeks. Strenuous exercise should also be avoided.

  • Bending over or raising your arms over your head should be avoided for the first couple of weeks. This can cause tearing and internal injuries at the surgical site.

  • Sleep with pillows all around to prevent sleeping on your breasts and exerting excess pressure on them.

  • Make an appointment to see your surgeon after a few weeks, so that they can gauge your progress in the stages of healing and remove stitches if present. 

What Is The Post-operative Diet For Breast Reduction?

There are no restrictions to the diet that needs to be followed post surgery. However a soft diet for the first couple of days is advised. This is because post anesthesia, your bowel slows down, making eating tedious.

Drink plenty of water as this helps to flush out the effects of the anaesthesia.

Avoid fluids that increase indigestion like citrus juices and milk.

Spicy food is commonly avoided, as they dilate blood vessels increasing the bleeding risk.

Medications; especially painkillers and antibiotics need to be taken on time.

What Are The Realistic Expectations From Breast Reduction?

  • One can expect to get the following benefits from a breast reduction:
    • Relief from the physical discomfort like back pain caused by large breasts. 

    • Improvement in the size and shape of breasts. Breast reduction imparts a more natural-looking cleavage and shape to the breasts.

    • Breasts are brought into better proportion and balance with the rest of the body. 

    • Boost in confidence, comfort and quality of life.

    • Improved ability to exercise.

  • Breast Reduction results last for a lifetime and are permanent.

  • Recovery time for breast reduction is generally between 3 weeks to a month.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Breast Reduction?

  • Pros

  • Cons

  • The procedure provides the required comfort for women struggling several years with shoulder, neck and back aches due to their large breasts. 

  • For both men and women, reductions in the size of their breasts help boost their self confidence. 

  • Performing daily functions as well as participating in your regular fitness schedule becomes more achievable and less humiliating. 

  • With advances in surgical techniques, surgeons are now trying to adopt methods to preserve the milk production system of the breast to favour lactation and nursing.

  • It is common amongst men to remain shirtless in gyms and fitness centres. In countries like India some of the prayer rituals require men to remain without a shirt. The social stigma of an enlarged chest in men as a feminine feature is eliminated when surgeries like breast reduction are made readily available.

  • If not done properly, the procedure can have painful complications as well as cause infections. With the right research and a good plastic surgeon, the procedure can have a smooth recovery process.

  • Recovery time could take anywhere from one to three weeks, and simple activities like taking a shower can be tedious. 

  • Breast reduction has risks, like possibility of scars and reduction in nipple sensitivity. More rarely, these scars may take time to fade away.

  • If women intend to nurse current or future babies, breast reductions are usually not advised as they lead to numbness of the nipple and sever some of the breast tissue, required for breast milk production.

Who Should Avoid Undergoing Breast Reduction?

  • While the surgery can be performed on any individual, it is advisable not to get it done until breast development is completed like during late teens or early 20s. Getting breast reduction at a very early age might cause breastfeeding difficulties later on.

  • Older women: Women aged 35 and above should be tested through a mammogram for the presence of any cancer, especially if they have a history of breast cancer in the family.

  • Smokers: Wound healing is delayed due to smoking - It is advisable not to smoke for at least 10 days before the procedure. Heavy smokers are unsuitable candidates.

  • Risky health problem: Obesity, patients with vascular disorders and circulatory problems, heart problems can face complications during the surgery in terms of bleeding or other severe side effects.

 What Are The Alternatives To Breast Reduction?

Patients who would like to reduce the size or change the shape of their breasts, usually opt for a breast reduction surgery. It is also effective for patient who want to restore their breast size after pregnancy or any traumatic accident.

However, other options available to achieve similar results, include both non-surgical procedures such as breast reduction pills and weight loss, as well as other surgical procedures such as liposuction.


This surgery can be used to remove excessive fat from the breasts, which is relatively less invasive than an augmentation mammoplasty, and also involves a faster recovery time. However, since a liposuction does not remove the excess tissues or skin from the breasts and only the fat, the result could be loose/saggy breasts and a less permanent solution. 

Fat Implants

In this procedure, fat from one part of the body is injected to the breasts to expand. The procedure is ideal who are uncomfortable with saline or silicone implants.  

Diet and Exercise

If an individual wants to avoid surgery altogether, she can lose weight through diet and exercise, which might help in reducing the size of the breasts. Exercise of the pectoral muscles can increase them. However, this is a long process which does not promise any sure shot results.


Breast reduction pills, which claim to reduce the fatty cells in the breasts, thus reducing them in size, can also be considered. Such creams and foods also exist. However, these may not be genuine and may involve serious side effects.

Does Breast Reduction Lead To Scarring?

Scars can last for several months and can be lumpy. They eventually fade over the next few months. Incisions are usually made in discreet locations to enable patients to wear low cut blouses and bikini tops. Liposuction has the least chances for scar formation, versus the traditional anchor procedures, which can cause extensive scars. Following post op instructions and watching out for infections helps reduce scars over time and decrease healing time.

What Are the Temporary Side-effects Of Breast Reduction?

The most commonly encountered complications include:

Bruising - This should resolve on its own within a few days or 2 weeks.

Swelling - This should not be alarming, and any swelling will gradually subside after application of ice packs.

Discomfort - Consult your doctor regarding any discomfort lasting over 2 weeks. Stiffness or pain while lifting arms or in the breasts is manageable with analgesics, a feeling or sound of any grating should be brought to the notice of surgeon.

Temporary Numbness - There may be diminished sensations, especially around the nipples. This generally lasts for a month, but may fade at least partially over time. Any lack of sensations should be reported to your doctor so that you may be advised accordingly.

 How To Choose A Surgeon For Breast Reduction?

It is important to choose a surgeon who keeps you well-informed throughout the process, from presenting you with alternative options during consultations, to ensuring you take proper postoperative care. 

Better results are obtained if the procedure is combined with a breast lift. Your surgeon should skilled enough to be able to perform both procedures. A good judge of this fact would be to ask for before-and-after-pictures of the patients’ of the doctor, as well as refer to different patient forums to get feedback on their experiences.

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