A breast reduction surgery or reduction mammoplasty is a procedure that involves reducing the size of the breasts. It is very beneficial for the patients who are not satisfied with their breasts’ shape and size and who are experiencing emotional or physical discomfort because their breasts are too large.

Breast reduction surgery also includes a breast lift which makes it a two-in-one procedure. The very procedure is the same as in breast lift surgery – the only difference is that the breast tissue is removed to reduce the size of the breasts. Together with breast reduction, breast lift improves breast sagging so the patients get nicely shaped and properly sized breasts as a final result.

Procedure info at a glance

Will I be awake or asleep during the surgery?Local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia can be used
Do I stay in hospital after surgery?Might be needed to stay for 1 night
What is the recovery time? When can I return to work/exercise?Back to work in 1-2 weeks, back to exercise in 2-6 weeks depending on recovery
How long will the surgery last?1-2 hours
How long until the final results of surgery are visible?6-12 months after the surgery


Breast reduction surgery offers plenty of advantages to the patients who decide to undergo it. After the surgery, the patients may feel better in their bodies both physically and emotionally.

Some of the physical benefits that this surgery brings include:

  •     Relief in neck, shoulder or backpain
  •     Reducing skin irritation under the breasts or on the shoulders (caused by bra straps)
  •     Making movement and exercising easier
  •     Making sleeping on the back more comfortable 

Other advantages of breast reduction surgery are: 

  •     Achieving a more aesthetically appealing breast look
  •     Fitting in different clothes easily
  •     Getting breasts that are balanced in shape and size
  •     Feeling better about body contours and proportions


In the long run, the surgery improves the patient’s quality of life in more than one way.

The chronic neck, shoulders and back pain can greatly be reduced once the excess weight from the breasts is removed. Also, the patient improves the posture and rolls the shoulders back which reduces nerves compression and tingling and numbing sensations.

With the reduced breast size, the patient can enjoy a more active life and do aerobic or other exercises without worrying that her breasts are too large for that.

One of the biggest advantages of breast reduction surgery is perhaps increased self-esteem. The surgery improves the emotional quality of the patient’s life and she doesn’t have to worry about attracting too much negative attention with too large breasts. Instead, the patient can wear more flattering clothes and feel confident about body contours and proportions.



    As with any other surgical procedure, the patients should be mentally and physically prepared for breast reduction surgery. Optimally healthy patients increase their likelihood of being good candidates for this surgery. Also, being emotionally prepared for the surgery speeds up the recovery period.

    There are several issues that the plastic surgeon takes into account before deciding if the patient is a good candidate.

    It is important that the patient has a BMI below 30 or 32 before having breast reduction surgery. This is because the possibility of complications during surgery is increased if the BMI is higher.

    The patient must be minimally 18 years old to have this surgery. It is generally believed that the results of the surgery will be better if the patient is completely physically mature. There is always the chance that the patient’s breast may continue to grow after the surgery if the patient is still developing.

    This is a rare condition and involves abnormally excessive breast tissue growth. This condition makes the breasts extremely heavy and can contribute to even worse physical symptoms. Also, it can alter the nipple sensation due to nerve injury. Gigantomastia can be treated with hormonal treatment and with breast reduction surgery. However, sometimes the patients are not satisfied with the results because gigantomastia can return and they may need a second breast reduction surgery.

    Patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding are not good candidates for this surgery.

    Patients who have recently become mothers have to wait for 3 to 6 months before they can have breast reduction surgery. This is important because the body needs a couple of months to return to a normal state after pregnancy and childbirth. Having surgery too soon after childbirth may compromise the results and also the recovery period may not finish as predicted.

    Breast reduction surgery may affect or completely stop the capability to breastfeed. Therefore it is important to take this into account when deciding to undergo this surgery. It is generally advised to have the surgery after the patient has decided not to have any more children.


    When the patient decides to have breast reduction surgery, she comes to Lucia Clinic to have an initial consultation with Lucia’s plastic surgeon. There are various questions that the patient discusses with the surgeon, including:

    ● The reasons why the patient wants to have the surgery
    ● The patient’s goals and expectations from the surgery
    ● The patient’s medical history
    ● Any medications that the patient is currently taking
    ● If the patient suffers from allergies
    ● If the patient smokes

    The surgeon also requests the patient to have a mammogram or ultrasound taken.

    After this, the surgeon examines the patient’s breasts regarding size and shape, the quality and quantity of breast tissue and skin.

    Finally, the surgeon recommends a procedure plan that will address the patient’s specific breasts’ issues and explains all the possible risks and complications that may arise from the surgery.

    During the second consultation, the patient discusses with the anesthesiologist the type of anesthesia that will be used during the surgery. Usually, general anesthesia is used.


    The surgery can be less stressful and pass without any complications if the patient takes some time to prepare and takes the advice given by the surgeon.

    The patient may consider losing the last bit of weight or stopping smoking for at least 6 weeks before the procedure.

    Also, preparing well can speed up the recovery period.

    For example, it is important for the patient to find somebody to drive her home after the surgery because the patient won’t be able to manage driving because of the anesthesia. The patient will also need supervision for the first 24 hours in case of complications.

    As the patient needs to rest after the surgery, it’s a good idea to finish all the household chores before the surgery. The patient shouldn’t stretch during the recovery period to avoid straining the incisions.


    When the patient arrives at the operating room on the day of the surgery, the surgeon explains once more what the surgery will involve. Then the patient is given anesthesia and the surgery can start.

    The surgeon makes the incision to remove the excess tissue and skin. There are various types of incisions the surgeon can use in order to achieve the desired results.


    The incision that the surgeon uses depends on how much breast tissue must be removed.

    ● Circumareoral incision - this incision is made around the areola and it is used for smaller reductions.
    ● Vertical incision - this incision is made around the areola and down to the line of the breasts. It is used for small to moderate reductions.
    ● Inverted-T incision - this incision is made around the areola, downward to the line of the breast and then across the line of the breast. It is used for large reductions.

    The places where the incisions are made will turn into scars when the recovery period is over. The scars heal really well and can barely be noticed 6 to 12 months after the surgery.


    Generally, the most common technique that is used in the surgery is called a pedicle technique - the areola and the nipple remain attached to a certain amount of breast tissue that is untouched during the operation. This way the nipple and the remaining breast tissue are constantly supplied with blood and connected to the nerves as the excess tissue is being removed.

    ● Inferior pedicle at the lower area of the breast - the tissue is removed from the upper area of the breast. It is used for very large reductions.

    ● Superior pedicle at the upper part of the breast - the tissue is removed from the sides and the lower area of the breasts.

    When the nipple remains attached to the breast tissue there is less possibility of complications and better preservation of nipple sensations.

    When the surgeon removes all the excess breast tissue, he/she closes the incisions and finishes the surgery.

    The breast reduction surgery lasts between 1.5to 3 hours all depending on how much tissue is being removed.


    Every patient is different and their bodies react differently to the surgery so the recovery time can last longer or shorter.

    Some patients may feel well enough to continue with their activities even before the recommended recovery time, but others may still feel discomfort long after the surgery.

    After the surgery, the patient may need to spend the night at the hospital. Before going home, the patient needs to schedule a follow-up appointment with the surgeon. During this appointment, the surgeon examines the breasts to see if they are healing properly and removes the stitches if they are not dissolvable.

    The surgeon might recommend wearing a postoperative bra to ease the discomfort and also sleeping on the back to reduce the swelling and the pressure on the breast.

    1 to 2 days after the surgery the wounds will be sore, and swelling and bruising of the treated area is something to expect. The skin around the breasts might feel tight.

    3 to 4 days after surgery, the patient may still need pain medications. Light activities can be performed like short walks- this is recommended to avoid blood clots.

    It is important to keep a healthy and well-balanced diet during the recovery period. The patient should eat food that is high in proteins and low in sugar and salt. Also, the patient should drink a lot of water.

    The patient should take the whole week off work and rest. Regarding exercise, after six weeks post-surgery the patient can continue with all sports and exercises.


    After the surgery, the patient will have scars around the breasts and nipples. The scars will fade after a year but it is important to take good care of them to achieve the best aesthetic results.

    Therefore the patient shouldn’t expose the scars to the sunlight for 12 months to avoid discoloration or darkening of the scars. The treatment area should be kept clean and dry. When the incisions are completely healed, the patient may want to massage the scars or use gels for scars for 6 months. This may reduce the visibility of the scars.


    There are several risks and complications that can arise from the surgery. The surgeon explains everything about them to the patient prior to the surgery.

    ● Infection - as with any other surgery there is a possibility of infection that can happen one or two weeks post-surgery. If the patient notices symptoms like high temperature, swelling, increased pain or a bad smell that is coming from the incision, she should inform the surgeon immediately. If the infection is only mild it can be treated with antibiotics and it shouldn’t affect the final outcomes of the surgery.

    ● Bleeding and bruising - they are a part of the healing process and are expected to appear.

    ● Keloid scarring - some patients are prone to forming these thick and raised scars. They can be hard to treat.

    ● Numbness or altered sensations of the breasts - During the surgery, some nerve endings in the breasts may get disrupted and the patient may feel numbness or increased sensitivity of the breasts. Generally, these sensations should resolve after some time when the breast completely heals.

    ● Seroma - this condition involves the creation of pockets of clear fluid around the incisions. Generally, seromas are not harmful and resolve themselves after some time. Larger seromas can be drained by the surgeon.


    The final outcomes of the breast reduction surgery are visible 12 months after the procedure. It takes time for the breast to heal and for the scars to fade. But being patient is really worthwhile because the patients really start feeling great in their new bodies.

    It is important to keep a healthy diet and exercise regularly because this will help with maintaining the results. Gaining a lot of weight after the surgery may interfere with the results.

    The surgeon can’t guarantee that he/she will be able to achieve the exact cup size that the patient wishes to get, but that is a good starting point for the surgeon to understand what size the patient wishes to reduce her breasts. Usually, the surgeon talks in terms of grams to prepare the patient for the expected results.