What is Reduction Mammoplasty: Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results

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What is Reduction Mammoplasty: Overview, Benefits, ⁢and Expected Results

Reduction mammoplasty, also known as breast reduction, is ⁣a procedure designed to help individuals with oversized breasts, a ⁢condition⁢ known as macromastia or mammary hypertrophy. ‍This ⁢condition involves an enlargement of breast tissue due to⁢ overgrowth ​of⁤ either glandular or‍ fat tissue, or ‍both. This​ condition is commonly found in women, however, it can also occur​ in men, and can cause a ‌variety of physical and emotional issues. Reduction ⁣mammoplasty is a surgical procedure that‍ reduces the size of⁣ the breasts and can improve the overall appearance, shape, and symmetry ‍of ‍the breasts, as well as relief common ‌physical and psychological symptoms associated with the condition.


Reduction mammoplasty is a major surgical procedure that involves the excision of skin, glandular, and fat tissue in order to reduce⁢ the size of⁢ the breasts. The procedure is generally performed with general anesthesia on ​an outpatient basis. Depending on the ​complexity‌ of the case, the surgeon may ‍choose to perform a variety of incisions in order to reduce the size‍ of the breasts. These incisions may include a vertical, donut (circumareolar), or ​an inverted ‍T-shaped incision⁢ (anchor). The incision choice is based on the size of the⁤ breasts, the desired size, ‌type of tissue that needs to⁢ be removed, and the amount of compensation the patient desires. Once the incisions‍ are made, the excess skin, ⁤fat, and glandular tissue is removed to achieve the desired size and shape.‍


The primary benefits‌ of reduction mammoplasty are the‌ physical and psychological results that can be seen and felt almost immediately following the surgery. Patients who have undergone reduction mammoplasty experience a⁣ significant decrease in the size ​and⁤ weight of the breasts,⁤ which can be extremely​ relieving⁣ and reduce the discomfort associated ⁣with macromastia. This reduction in‌ size and weight can also improve the patient’s overall appearance, increase their mobility, and make exercise and other physical activities‍ much more enjoyable.

The psychological benefits of reduction mammoplasty can be life-changing for some patients. Carrying excess weight on the chest often causes physical and emotional discomfort and can lead to low self-esteem. Having the breasts reduced in size can have a ⁣positive impact on a patient’s mental health and restore their ⁢confidence and self-esteem.

Expected Results

The results of reduction mammoplasty are‌ usually visible almost immediately following the surgery, however, it may take several weeks or months for the final ​appearance of the breasts ⁣to be revealed. The​ patient ⁣can expect to see an immediate decrease in the size and weight of‍ the breasts. Secondary to this, the patient will also notice ‍improved symmetry and an overall increased ⁢balance to their figure.

The⁤ scars resulting from​ the incisions made during surgery can ​take approximately 6-12 months to fade but may remain visible⁢ for many years. It is important to keep in ⁤mind that the size and shape of‌ the ⁣breasts following the surgery will be permanent but may still be affected by aging, weight gain or loss, pregnancy, or other ‍external factors.


As with any surgical procedure, there are ‍risks associated with reduction mammoplasty. The most‍ common risks include bleeding, infection, reaction to anesthesia, poor wound healing, delayed healing, and asymmetry. There is also the risk of ‌complications from breast ‍tissue or nipple sensation loss,⁤ permanent‍ or temporary changes in nipple ⁤or breast shape, and scarring. Patients should discuss the potential risks of the procedure with their healthcare provider to better understand and anticipate the outcome.


Reduction ⁤mammoplasty is a ‌surgical procedure designed to reduce the size of the breasts and improve⁣ the⁢ symmetry of the figure. This procedure can not only improve the physical appearance of the breasts, but can‌ potentially reduce physical ‍and psychological symptoms associated with macromastia.‌ The expected results of the procedure include an immediate decrease in size and weight of the breasts, improved symmetry, and reduced discomfort associated ⁢with macromastia. However, ⁣as with any surgical procedure, there ⁤are risks that⁣ should be discussed with a healthcare ⁣professional ⁢prior to ​undergoing the‌ procedure.

Definition and Overview

Also known as breast reduction surgery, reduction mammoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that involves the removal of excess glandular tissue, skin, and fat to make breasts smaller. Although more common among women, it can also be performed on men with gynecomastia.

Before puberty, both males and females have a small buildup of breast tissue. As they enter adolescence, breast changes occur in women due to the increased production of female hormones like estrogen. The lobes begin to branch out more as the breasts are prepared for potential pregnancy and childbirth. Also, as females gain weight, fats can accumulate in these subcutaneous adipocytes, causing the breasts to become larger and heavier.

Hormone changes and increased fat buildup may lead to disproportionately large breasts that can lead to different health and cosmetic problems. One of the possible solutions to such a problem is a breast reduction procedure.

Who should undergo and expected results

Reduction mammoplasty may be performed to:

  • Reduce discomfort caused by large breasts – Significantly large and heavy breasts can cause chest and back pain. Some studies also link having big breasts with breathing difficulty, headaches, and severe migraines.
  • To boost self-confidence as big breasts can be a source of embarrassment for some men and women.
  • To participate in physical activities – Large breasts may reduce a person’s endurance, flexibility, and motion.

As a cosmetic procedure, breast reduction surgery is often elective and not covered by insurance. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the ideal candidates for this procedure are non-smokers, individuals who are of good weight, and physically healthy. It may not be advisable for women with underlying conditions like hypertension and diabetes.

How the procedure works

Prior to the actual breast reduction surgery, the patient meets with the surgeon for a consultation where the following are discussed:

  • Expectations – It is important for the surgeon to ensure that the patient’s expectations are realistic
  • Risks and complications
  • Actual surgical procedure and technique to be used
  • Cost and financing options
  • Follow-up care
  • Family and personal medical history including history of previous surgeries and breast cancer
  • Medications and supplements being taken
  • Lifestyle

The surgeon will look into the patient’s medical records and may request certain tests including psychological exam to ascertain that the patient is in rational mind while making the decision. The surgeon will also assess the breasts and take photographs and scanned images to help him devise the best reduction mammoplasty plan for the patient. A mammogram is also taken before and after the procedure to monitor any changes in the breasts. If the patient is a smoker, she will be advised to stop as soon as possible to increase the chances of quick and uncomplicated recovery. Certain medications may also have to be stopped.

The surgery may be outpatient or inpatient. However, in most cases, patients only stay in the hospital or clinic overnight.

During the actual procedure:

  • The surgeon will place markings on the breasts to serve as a guide when making incisions.
  • The patient is made to lie down topless on the operating table
  • The patient is connected to a machine that monitors the vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Anesthesia is delivered usually through an IV line.
  • The surgeon applies antiseptic on the breasts before making an incision. The type of incision that will be made depends on factors like the shape of the breasts, the position of the areola and nipple, and the amount of fat and/or skin tissue that needs to be removed. The incision could be circular or around the areola, a keyhole that runs around the areola and into the breast crease, or an inverted T, which includes a circular incision on the areola, then a vertical incision to the breast crease, and another incision underneath the breast crease.
  • With the nipple still attached to its nerves and blood supply, the surgeon begins to excise excess fat through cauterization and the use of a scalpel. If necessary, the skin around the areola may also be removed.
  • The breasts are then reshaped and the remaining skin tightened to make them appear more youthful.
  • The nipples and areolas are moved to a higher position.
  • The incisions are closed with sutures before the breasts are bandaged. A compression garment may also have to be worn during recovery.

Normally, a breast reduction surgery takes around two to three hours with one or more surgeons working on the patient. As much as four pounds of tissue may be removed during the surgery.

Possible risks and complications

A breast reduction surgery does not guarantee that the breasts will not return to their normal since it does not deal with underlying causes such as hormonal imbalance or fat buildup.

Also, the surgery can result in visible scarring. The patient is also vulnerable to breast asymmetry, the decreased or complete loss of sensation on the areola and nipples, infection on the wound or incision site, and allergic reaction to anesthesia. Some studies also found that the procedure can affect breast milk production.


  • Fisher J, Higdon KK. Reduction mammoplasty. In: Neligan PC, ed. Plastic Surgery. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 8.1.


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