Excessively large breasts are not only detrimental to one’s self-esteem but can also be devastating to one’s health and quality of life.

Complaints due to excessively large breasts include constant neck and back pain, breast pain, poor posture, skin rashes and irritations, and painful grooves in your shoulders from the weight of your breasts in your bra. The dramatic improvement to a woman’s figure and her quality of life are reasons enough to undergo breast reduction surgery.

Surgery: A breast reduction is more than removing excess tissue and fat. The breast itself needs to be sculpted into a smaller shaper. The techniques and incision patterns used are essentially the same as those used in a breast lift. There’s been a focus on lessening scars and improving shape so that some fullness is restored to the upper portion of the breast. Today, incisions include all or any combination of a concentric or donut-shape around the areola, including an incision made vertically down from the areola to the breast crease, and horizontally at the breast crease. Breast fat and tissue are removed through these incisions. The nipple is repositioned (while remaining attached to its nerve and blood supply), and the entire breast is reshaped. The overlying breast skin, and possibly the size of the areola, is reduced to match the shape, position, and proportion of the new breast. You will be placed under general anesthesia.

In many cases, breast reductions are commonly outpatient procedures. For some women, an overnight hospital stay is occasionally recommended although this is a rare occurrence. The results of a breast reduction are seen and felt immediately.

Recovery: Keep in mind that skin and breast tissue that has been thinned and stretched from the weight of the breast is at increased risk for raised, wide, or irregular scars. After breast reduction, significant weight gain or loss and pregnancy can affect breast size and the results of your surgery. From a quality of life perspective, the psychological impact of breast reduction can be life-altering. A whole new world of clothing and lingerie options open up for a woman who has been hiding under baggy tops for years.

You will wake up after surgery wearing a support bra that was either purchased before surgery or supplied by your plastic surgeon. In the case of breast reconstruction, you may be simply wrapped with a surgical dressing like gauze. You may have small, think tubes placed in your incisions to drain any excess fluid, or a tube that is attached to a pain pump. You may be a little stiff and sore; however, alert someone immediately if you experience severe pain or develop a tense, swollen breast. You should be up and walking around the day of surgery. If you are not staying in the hospital overnight, you will need a responsible adult to care for you and monitor your condition for at least 24 hours after you arrive home.

Sleep on your back in a reclining position for the first few days following your breast reduction surgery. During recovery, follow all instructions for proper breast support, including sleeping in your support bra if instructed. Please do not wear underwire bras until you are given approval. Long-term support is essential for the well-being and longevity of your new breast appearance. Start walking around and doing light activity as soon as possible, but avoid pushing, lifting, twisting, and strenuous exercise until your plastic surgeon gives you the go-ahead.