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Breast Reduction

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by Chwistek M

(Reduction Mammoplasty)


Reasons for Procedure

After the surgery, your breasts will be smaller and more symmetrical in appearance. They should reflect the size, shape, and symmetry you desired.

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

You may be asked to look through an album of breast sizes and shapes. This will help the doctor understand the outcome you desire. Computer software may also be used to help you determine your desired result.
Your doctor will likely do the following:
In the days leading up to your procedure:
  • Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure. Also arrange for help at home after the procedure.
  • The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • You may be asked to shower before your procedure. You may be given special antibacterial soap to use.
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications or herbal supplements up to one week before the procedure, like:
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Blood thinners
  • Anti-platelet medications


You may be given:

Description of the Procedure

The doctor will cut around the nipple and areola. Skin, fat, and breast tissue will be removed in a specific pattern. Depending on how much breast tissue is removed, the doctor may need to reposition the nipple and areola higher up on the breast tissue. Liposuction , a vacuum procedure used to remove excess fat, may also be used. The amount of scarring will depend on the amount that the breast is reduced and the amount of repositioning needed to the nipple and areola. The scarring can occur around the areola, down to the breast crease, and along the breast crease.
Depending on the extent of operating required, a small flexible tube may be placed in one or both breasts to drain any fluid from the early phases of healing. These drains may need to stay in place for several days. They can be removed in the doctor's office. You will not need a second surgery to remove them.
The cuts in the breast skin will be closed with tiny stitches.
Breast Reduction Procedure
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Immediately After Procedure

You will be tightly bandaged around your chest, or you will have a special surgical bra. These will provide pressure and support.

How Long Will It Take?

2-4 hours

How Much Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia prevents pain during the surgery. You will have tenderness, swelling, and bruising of the breasts for several weeks after surgery. The pain can be controlled with medications.

Average Hospital Stay

The hospital stay may be up to four days. It may be possible to leave the hospital or surgery center on the same day of the procedure. Talk to your doctor to see if this is an option for you.

Post-procedure Care

  • Wear a special surgical bra that applies pressure. This will properly shape your breast(s) after the operation.
  • If drains have been placed in either breast, they will be removed 2-4 days after surgery.
  • Stitches are usually removed about 7-10 days after surgery.
  • Absorbable sutures may also be used by your doctor; they do not need to be removed.
  • Your doctor may advise you to avoid heavy lifting, straining, or difficult exercise for the first week or two after surgery.
  • Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions .


American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

American Society of Plastic Surgeons



Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons

Guide to Breast Augmentation in Canada



Breast reduction. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery website. Available at: . Accessed August 28, 2013.

Breast reduction. American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at: . Accessed August 28, 2013.

Breast reduction. Brigham and Women's Hospital website. Available at: . Accessed August 28, 2013.


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