What Is Reduction Mammoplasty?

A reduction mammoplasty, also referred to as a breast reduction, is a cosmetic surgery to decrease breast size by removing excess tissue, fat, and skin. Most women who undergo a breast reduction procedure do so to alleviate discomfort caused by overly large breasts or to make their breasts proportional to their body size.

In most cases, the procedure involves an incision and the surgical removal of unwanted tissue, fat, and skin. The surgery is sometimes performed in combination with liposuction to remove the excess breast fat. If the primary issue is excessive fat and not excess skin, which is rarely the case, then liposuction may be enough to achieve the desired results.

The Breast Reduction Procedure:

A breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia. Several different incision options are available based on the patient’s condition, the composition of the breasts, and the desired results.

  • A racquet or keyhole-shaped incision can be made around the areola that extends down to the crease of the breast.
  • An anchor or inverted T-shaped incision may also be used.

Once the surgeon makes the incision, the breast tissue is lifted, reduced, and shaped, and the nipple is repositioned. Internal sutures are sometimes used to support the breast tissue. The external incision is closed with adhesive, sutures, or surgical tape. The resulting scars generally fade with time and are concealed in the creases of the breasts and/or by clothing.

What to Expect Following Breast Reduction Surgery:

The surgeon will provide detailed instructions for caring for the incisions and breasts during the recovery process. In some cases, small tubes may be used to allow excess fluid and blood to drain from the surgical site. After surgery, the results are immediately apparent, and any post-surgical bruising and swelling will resolve within a few weeks. While the results of the surgery are long-lasting, breast size can be affected by age, gravity, hormonal changes and fluctuations in weight.