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Reasons for Procedure
Overly large breasts, resulting in any of the following symptoms:
- Poor self image
- Back, neck, or shoulder pain
- Posture problems
- Grooving and/or abrasions from bra straps
- Rash under the lower portion of the breasts
- Breast asymmetry—may be due to previous surgery to one breast, such as in the case of mastectomy or lumpectomy
- Large male breasts, known as gynecomastia —can be related to hormonal changes, medications, or other health conditions
- Bleeding and bruising
- Possible loss of sensation to the breast, nipple, and/or areola
- Possible loss of ability to breastfeed
- Asymmetry between breasts
- Limited arm and/or shoulder movement
- Delayed wound healing
- Fluid or blood-filled cysts in the healing breast tissue
- Loss of nipple, areola, skin, or breast tissue due to change in blood supply
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Physical exam, including a breast exam
- Blood tests
- Photos for comparison after surgery
- Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure. Also arrange for help at home after the procedure.
- The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
- You may be asked to shower before your procedure. You may be given special antibacterial soap to use.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners
- Anti-platelet medications
- General anesthesia —You will be asleep.
- Local anesthesia—The area will be numbed.
Description of the Procedure
|Breast Reduction Procedure|
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Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Wear a special surgical bra that applies pressure. This will properly shape your breast(s) after the operation.
- If drains have been placed in either breast, they will be removed 2-4 days after surgery.
- Stitches are usually removed about 7-10 days after surgery.
- Absorbable sutures may also be used by your doctor; they do not need to be removed.
- Your doctor may advise you to avoid heavy lifting, straining, or difficult exercise for the first week or two after surgery.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions .
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which last for more than two days after you leave the hospital
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Pain or swelling in your calves, legs, or feet
- You have concerns about the size and/or shape of your breasts
- Fluid or blood collecting in either breast
- Any pain or stiffness when moving your arm
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery http://www.surgery.org
American Society of Plastic Surgeons http://www.plasticsurgery.org
Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons http://www.plasticsurgery.ca
Guide to Breast Augmentation in Canada http://www.canadaba.ca
Breast reduction. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.surgery.org/consumers/procedures/breast/breast-reduction . Accessed August 28, 2013.
Breast reduction. American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Reconstructive-Procedures/Breast-Reduction.html . Accessed August 28, 2013.
Breast reduction. Brigham and Women's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.brighamandwomens.org/Departments%5Fand%5FServices/surgery/services/PlasticSurg/cosmetic-procedures/breast/breast-reduction.aspx . Accessed August 28, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013