Numerous health problems can arise in women with disproportionately large breasts. It is common to experience back, neck, and shoulder pain caused by the weight of one’s breasts. Irritation of the skin beneath the breast crease is another problem often experienced. Depending on the size of the breast, physical activity may be limited in women with overly large chests, leading to increased risk of obesity. Not only can this problem lead to health issues, but many women also suffer from emotional distress due to negative body image. Breast reduction surgery, otherwise known as reduction mammoplasty, is an excellent treatment option for women facing such problems. A breast reduction allows for the removal of excess breast fat in order to decrease the size and alleviate any associated discomfort. This surgery can leave patients with a more proportional figure, leading to a more active lifestyle, as well as enhanced self-confidence.

This procedure involves the surgical removal of excess fat, tissue, and skin through incisions on the breast. A breast reduction is typically an outpatient procedure that takes between two to four hours. There are a few options for incision types used in breast reduction surgery depending on the size and composition of your breast, as well as what your surgeon is most comfortable with. All incision options leave scars that are easily concealed beneath a bra or swimsuit. A few options include: a circular pattern around the areola, a keyhole-shaped pattern around the areola and vertical down to the breast crease, and an inverted “T” or anchor-shaped pattern. After the excess tissue is removed, the surgeon will reduce the areola and reposition the nipple in order to best fit the new breast size. While the scars left from surgery are permanent, they often fade and improve with time.

There is a high satisfaction rate for patients who chose to undergo breast reduction surgery, often leaving individuals with a new sense of confidence in their body image. Most patients can expect to need a week or two off from work or school for recovery, but patients will need to refrain from physical activity for at least one month following surgery. It is important to watch for redness, tenderness, or unusual swelling, as these are all signs of infection.

If you are interested in breast reduction surgery, but still plan on having children, it is important to understand that breast reduction surgery may limit your ability to breastfeed. Make sure to discuss this limited ability with your surgeon if you plan to nurse a baby in the future. Also, please note that you may experience changes in the breast during pregnancy that can alter previous results from surgery.

The choice to pursue breast reduction surgery is a personal decision, and should not be made lightly. It is important to consider your specific body goals, and speak with your surgeon to learn about your options. Dr. Kim is a board-certified plastic surgeon, with extensive experience in breast surgery. He will explain all of your surgical options, and provide his expert opinion on what will be best for you. Schedule your free consultation today with Dr. Kim at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to learn more about breast reduction surgery.