Breast Reduction (also known as Reduction Mammaplasty)

A breast reduction operation removes excess fat and skin from the breasts. They are reshaped and the nipples repositioned to form newer smaller breasts. Heavy breasts that are out of proportion to a woman’s silhouette can be reduced and lifted to rebalance proportionality.

This should reduce many of the physical problems associated with large breasts such as backache, neck pain, skin rashes, as well as any feelings of self-consciousness and embarrassment.

Although some women can reduce the size of their breasts with a weight loss programme, most cannot as weight reduction can reduce the fat component but not the glandular element. The amount of breast tissue to be removed should be carefully planned and while it is possible for a woman with GG breasts to be reduced to a C or D cup, the final size needs to be in relation to overall shape and size of the patient.

The nipple rarely needs to be removed. In most cases, this means the patients breasts retain a natural appearance and nipple sensation. However, some patients experience a change in nipple sensation, either a reduction or, more rarely, heightened sensitivity.

The consultation should involve a discussion of technique, the likely scar pattern and the anticipated size and shape. Risks associated with any operation apply including swelling, bruising and bleeding. Infection is rare. Healing can sometimes be delayed, particularly where the scars meet. This area is called the “T” junction  and can cause complications in around five - 10 percent of procedures.

Most patients will not be able to breastfeed after surgery.


The operation and post-op information

Breast reductions are performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation takes around two hours and involves a two to three night stay in hospital.

The patient may have the wound drained (while in hospital) and will be given painkillers as necessary. You will need to bring in a well-fitting sports bra (i.e. Sloggi or Shockabsorber) that you will need to wear for three weeks. It is advisable that you take two weeks off work and avoid strenuous physical exercise for three - four weeks. In most cases, you can shower after one week and drive when comfortable.

Some women combine breast surgery with an abdominoplasty (also known as a tummy tuck).

Click here to read more about breast reductions on the BAPRAS website.