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Breast Reduction

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by Chwistek M

(Reduction Mammoplasty)


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:
  • 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.
  • 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.


You may be given:

Description of the Procedure

The area around the nipple and areola will be cut. Skin, fat, and breast tissue will be removed in a specific pattern. Depending on how much breast tissue is removed, the nipple and areola may need to be repositioned 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 reposition 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

At the Hospital
Right after the procedure, you will be in a recovery room where your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. Recovery may also include:
  • Medication to control nausea
  • Gradually returning to your normal diet
  • Using an incentive spirometer to help you breathe deeply
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
  • Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
  • Not allowing others to touch your incisions
At Home
When you return home, follow these steps:
  • You will gradually return to your normal activities.
  • Your doctor may advise you to avoid heavy lifting, straining, or difficult exercise for the first week or two after surgery.
  • Wear a special surgical bra that applies pressure. This will properly shape your breast(s) after the operation.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.


American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

American Society of Plastic Surgeons



Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons

A Guide to Breast Augmentation in Canada



Breast reduction. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery website. Available at: Accessed September 8, 2014.

Breast reduction. American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at: Accessed September 8, 2014.

Breast reduction. Brigham and Women's Hospital website. Available at: Updated July 24, 2014. Accessed September 8, 2014.


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