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If you have large breasts that are disproportionate to your body and you hope for physical relief from the symptoms caused by the excessive weight of your breasts, then you should set up a consultation with Dr. John Kim to discuss breast reduction, also known as reduction mammaplasty.

This procedure involves surgical removal of the excess skin, fat, and glandular tissue for the purpose of easing both the physical and emotional stress associated with overly large breasts. Breast reduction aims to alleviate the physical pain and discomfort caused by your excess breast tissue so you may achieve a more active lifestyle.

This procedure is a good option for women with heavy breasts with nipples that point downward, or for those with one breast quite a bit larger than the other. It is also for women who have back or shoulder pain as well as skin irritation beneath the breasts.

Choosing Breast Reduction Surgery

If you experience the emotional and physical stress of extremely large breasts, (also known as “gynecomastia”) breast reduction is likely a good option for you. If you are contemplating breast reduction surgery, you should make sure you are choosing it for you and not to meet someone else’s expectations. You should also be in good physical health and have realistic goals for what this surgery will achieve. When you meet with Dr. Kim at your initial visit, he will conduct a careful and thorough breast examination including taking detailed measurements of size, shape, nipple location, and skin quality. He will also ensure you are aware of any associated risks with the procedure.

Breast Reduction Procedure

Reduction mammoplasty is the surgical removal of excess skin, fat, and glandular tissue from the breasts. There are various surgical techniques that can be used, and Dr. Kim determines what is best for you during your consultation visit based on your individual anatomy. For example, if you have excess fat in the breast area, Dr. Kim may choose to remove it through liposuction in conjunction with the reduction surgery.

3 common incision patterns Breast Reduction

Once the incision is made, the nipple is repositioned and the areola (colored part around the nipple) is reduced. Then, the breast tissue is reduced, lifted, and reshaped. It is important to note that the nipple is typically not severed from its native blood and nerve supply, so there should be no complication involving death of the nipple tissue. However, extremely large, pendulous breasts may require nipple and areola removal and subsequent transplantation to a new spot to achieve more aesthetically pleasing positioning on the breast.

Breast Reduction Recovery

Breast reduction surgery is commonly done on an outpatient basis, meaning the hospital stay lasts 23 or fewer hours. You may feel sore or notice swelling for a few weeks after surgery, but you should also have no trouble taking care of yourself right after the operation. Dr. Kim will apply dressings to your incisions right away, and in some cases he will also place a thin tube underneath your skin to drain any excess fluid that accumulates in your breast pocket. You will likely need to wear an elastic bandage or support bra to minimize swelling and support your reduced breasts during the initial healing period.

After a few weeks, you should be able to resume normal activity levels, such as mild exercise and returning to work. While it certainly may take some time for you to adjust to your new look, breast reduction patients report the highest level of satisfaction than any other plastic surgery procedure. The incision lines from your breast reduction will gradually fade, and the marks that are left are easily concealable underneath clothing.

A major upside to breast reduction surgery is that the results are long lasting. Your new breasts should remain mostly constant in size for years, provided your weight does not fluctuate tremendously or you become pregnant. There is always the option to have a breast lift in conjunction with a breast reduction so as to restore the contour and shape of your breasts.

If you are in Chicago or the surrounding areas, please contact Dr. John Kim’s office to set up a consultation at Northwestern Plastic Surgery. At your personalized consultation, you can work with Dr. Kim to establish your goals and desires to create a more beautiful you.

Check out Dr. Kim’s original research article entitled “The Impact of Body Mass Index on Reduction Mammaplasty: A Multicenter Analysis of 2492 Patients” here.

Breast Reduction FAQs

Who is a good candidate for this surgery?

Women with fully developed breasts who are mature enough to understand the surgical procedure and have realistic expectations are the best candidates for breast reduction surgery. Women choosing to undergo breast reduction surgery may have large, disproportionate breasts and experience pain, discomfort and embarrassment due to breast size. Ideal candidates for breast reduction are women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding.

What problems do extremely large breasts cause?

Women with extremely large, oversized breasts may experience back pain, skeletal problems, skin irritation, neck pain, breathing problems and issues with self-confidence. Some women also find having oversized breasts interferes with daily activities, such as exercising.

What are the benefits of breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction surgery can relieve back and neck pain, skeletal problems, breathing issues and improve self-confidence. Following your surgery and recovery, you will notice your clothes will fit you better, you can be more active and you will feel better about yourself.

Can I get the same results without surgery?

Surgery is only performed when there is no other good alternative. If you are a good candidate for breast reduction and it is the best option for you, Dr. Kim will recommend you have the procedure. Without surgery, the problems related to having extremely large breasts cannot be corrected as successfully. The advantages and disadvantages of surgery will be discussed during your initial plastic surgery consultation with Dr. Kim.

Will health insurance cover the cost of surgery?

Breast reduction surgery is often considered to be a reconstructive procedure, rather than elective plastic surgery. As a result, the chance of your insurance covering part or even all of the breast reduction surgery is more likely. Several factors will determine whether and to what extent insurance will cover your surgery, including your insurance policy, the amount of breast tissue that will be removed and the potential health risks faced if you do not have breast reduction.

Can a man get breast reduction surgery?

Enlarged, over-developed breasts in males is a condition that can be surgically corrected with gynecomastia. Gynecomastia surgery is a surgical procedure for men seeking to remove the excess breast tissue in their chest. At times, liposuction may be the only requirement of removing excess fat in the male breast. However, sometimes an incision may be required if there is a significant amount of excess breast tissue and/or skin.

How long does breast reduction surgery take?

Breast reduction surgery typically takes anywhere from two to four hours.

What happens during surgery?

Breast reduction surgery may take place through a variety of techniques. Each method will remove excess fat and tissue from the breasts. After removing the excess tissue, Dr. Kim will reshape the remaining breast tissue to ensure an aesthetic shape, and the incisions will be closed. The number of incisions made and the length of time the surgery may take depend on how much correction is required.

Are there risks?

There are always risks before any major surgery, although risks of breast reduction are fairly minimal. There is a chance that nipple sensation may be lost temporarily following surgery, although in some rare cases this loss of sensation may be permanent. Dr. Kim will let you know of any possible complications that could arise during or after your breast reduction.

Is there swelling or bruising after breast reduction?

The moderate swelling and bruising from breast reduction surgery resolves in seven to ten days. To reduce swelling, rest in a semi-upright position and keep your heart higher than your chest. Ice can also be used to minimize swelling.

What can I expect after surgery and the recovery period?

Following the procedure, you will be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over gauze dressings. Dr. Kim will prescribe pain medication, and the bandages will be removed after a couple of days. You may be up and moving a day or two following the surgery, but your breasts may still ache for a couple of weeks. You should avoid lifting or pushing or pulling of any kind for at least four weeks.

Will there be scarring?

All breast reduction surgeries will leave a scar; however, they may be hidden and undetectable when wearing bikinis and very low-cut tops. The scar will fade over time, and will eventually become hardly noticeable. Most women consider breast reduction scars to be minimal compared to the trade-off of having smaller, less painful breasts.

What is the recovery like?

Although all patients heal differently, light activities are often resumed within the first week. Gentle exercise is often tolerated by two weeks, and more vigorous activities within another month or two. Patients may experience soreness, numbness and swelling following surgery. A support bra should be worn continuously, night and day, for the first few weeks.

When can I expect to resume my normal daily activities?

Many patients can resume most of their normal activities, including some form of mild exercise, within a few weeks. You may continue to experience some mild, periodic discomfort during this time, but these feelings are normal.

How long will I be out of work?

Following breast reduction, most patients find they are able to return to work within seven to ten days. The exact amount of time will depend on the extent of your breast reduction surgery, your pain tolerance and the physical demands of your work.

When will I be able to see the results of my breast reduction?

After your breast reduction surgery, you will immediately notice the decrease in the volume and weight of your breasts. If you have breast reduction surgery to alleviate back pain, relief will be evident right away. It will take several weeks for the final cosmetic result. Eventually, the breasts will settle into place and the incisions will smooth and fade.

Are results permanent?

Breast reduction should make a long-term improvement in your breast size and comfort. However, if you gain weight following the procedure, your breasts may grow in size and change shape. Staying at a healthy weight and exercising regularly are important for maintaining proportioned and attractive breasts after your surgery.

Can I breastfeed after breast reduction?

No woman is guaranteed to have the ability to breastfeed their newborn, and until it comes time to try for the first time, they will not know if they will be able to successfully breastfeed. When you choose to undergo any surgical procedure that affects the breasts, there is a chance that breastfeeding may not be possible. For breast reduction procedures, the risk of not having the ability to breastfeed depends on the surgical technique used for the procedure. If breastfeeding is an important part of your surgical decision, make sure you consult with Dr. Kim about your options to help decide what is best for you.

If you are in Chicago or the surrounding areas, please contact Dr. John Kim’s office to set up a consultation at Northwestern Plastic Surgery. At your personalized consultation, you can work with Dr. Kim to establish your goals and desires to create a more beautiful you.