Breast reduction FAQs

The Blog
Dr. Jude LaBarbera, MD Plastic Surgeon


Breast reduction FAQs

Excessively large breasts can lead to physical symptoms such as shoulder grooves and back pain. Many women who have macromastia are also unable to engage in certain physical activities and may feel self-conscious when wearing certain types of clothing – or in social situations. Also referred to as reduction mammoplasty, breast reduction is the procedure of choice for women who are looking to reduce the size and weight of heavy and large breasts. During the treatment, plastic surgeons work to get rid of excess fat, breast tissue, and skin in order to achieve the patient’s aesthetic goals. 

If you are planning to have this procedure to alleviate physical symptoms or achieve personal cosmetic goals, it is important to learn as much as you can about this procedure. Spending the time to understand what your surgery will entail can help alleviate some of the anxiety associated with the treatment, while also setting the stage for a successful outcome. This post answers the most common questions that breast reduction candidates have. 

How common is breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction is among the most popular cosmetic breast procedures in the country. In 2018, more than 43,591 women received this surgery to address. Many of the patients who get this treatment are women who are struggling with the physical, emotional, or aesthetic consequences of excessively large and heavy breasts. 

How do you prepare for breast reduction?

Proper breast reduction preparation is important for a safe and successful procedure. The first step to your reduction mammoplasty is to schedule a consultation with a highly experienced plastic surgeon. Depending on your concerns and medical history, the surgeon will know whether this procedure is for you, as well as let you know what you should do to prepare for a successful outcome. In the weeks before the surgery, the surgeon may ask you to get lab testing or a medical evaluation, stop taking certain medications, get a mammogram, quit smoking, and avoid taking aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs. You will also receive special instructions on what to do on the day of the surgery, as well as post-operative care and follow-up details. Because breast reduction is considered to be an outpatient procedure, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery. 

Can I breastfeed after a breast reduction?

You may wonder how having a breast reduction will impact your ability to breastfeed. Because how the procedure is performed can have a significant influence on this, you must discuss this with your surgeon ahead of time. During the surgery, the surgeon will remove some glandular tissue, divide some of the milk ducts, and elevate the nipple. All these may have varying impacts on your ability to breastfeed and quantity of milk you can produce. Dr. LaBarbera utilizes advanced surgical techniques that preserve the structure and function of lactation-related structures. 

How is breast reduction performed?

Plastic surgeons may use varying techniques to perform reduction mammoplasty, depending on the goals of the procedure. During the surgery, the surgeon will make an incision around the areola going down to the breast fold. They will then remove excess breast tissue, fat, as well as skin in order to reduce the size and weight of each breast. Once the surgeon has reshaped the breast and repositioned the nipple-areola complex as needed, they will then close the incision and cover the treatment area with gauze dressing or bandages. You will be kept at the outpatient surgery center for about an hour so that the surgeon’s team can monitor your progress before being released to continue with the recovery at home. 

What should I expect after breast reduction surgery? 

Following breast reduction surgery, patients can expect to feel weak and have less energy than usual. You may also experience the sensation of fluid moving in your breasts. These feelings are very normal and tend to go away with time. Your new breasts will feel firmer and look younger. It is also possible that this procedure may change the normal sensation in your breast, at least temporarily.  All in all, breast reduction surgery recovery takes 2-3 weeks, after which time most people are able to return to normal work. 

What is the cost of breast reduction surgery?

The cost of breast reduction surgery will vary greatly from one patient to the other depending on factors such as the extensiveness of treatment, surgeon’s experience, anesthesia fees, and facility fees. 

Is breast reduction covered by insurance?

Insurance companies are not in the business of covering elective cosmetic procedures. However, excessively large breasts may cause physical symptoms such as pain and rashes, making breast reduction a medically necessary procedure that is eligible for coverage. Before accepting responsibility, insurers may need to see that less drastic treatments have been attempted in order to alleviate your symptoms. Some companies may ask that you try pain medication or physical therapy to help with back pain before giving you the OK for reduction mammoplasty. 

Can I choose what size my breasts will be reduced to?

It is possible to specify what kind of breast size you want to see after the reduction. After all, this is your body we are talking about. Make sure to let your surgeon know of your expectations during your initial consultation visit. This way, they can help select a cup size that is proportional to body frame and suits your needs. 

Will this procedure leave scars?

Scars are an inevitable consequence after every surgical procedure where incisions are made. Working with a highly skilled plastic surgeon is the best safeguard patients can talk against excessive post-procedure scarring. Dr. LaBarbera utilizes advanced surgical techniques and employs his immense experience to achieve the desired outcome while minimizing the risk of scarring and other complications. Furthermore, the surgeon will provide detailed post-op scar care instructions to help minimize the appearance of your scars.