Breast Reduction Surgery - How It Works and Tips

Also known as mammoplasty, breast reduction surgery consists of decreasing the volume and weight of the breasts. Women with very large breasts may suffer from aesthetic and physical discomfort, and often become the target of inappropriate looks and comments.

Although many women suffer from back pain and postural deviations due to the excessive weight of their breasts, the vast majority seek breast reduction surgery for aesthetic reasons.

Many women with disproportionate breasts end up suffering from their self-esteem, often avoiding activities or situations in which they will feel exposed. For this reason, most of the women who underwent breast augmentation were said to be satisfied with the procedure, which helped them improve their body image. According to plastic surgeons, this figure would be higher than 90% of patients operated on.

As it is a highly invasive procedure, it is important that you first know how breast reduction surgery works and the risks associated with it.

Indications for Breast Reduction Surgery

In addition to causing great aesthetic discomfort, many large breasts can also lead to:

  • Back pains;
  • Neck or shoulder pain;
  • Change in posture - to disguise the size of the breasts, many women end up bending forward;
  • Difficulty in performing physical activities;
  • Excessive sweating and infections of the skin beneath the breasts;
  • Excessive friction between the breasts, causing irritation to the skin.

Some women may also have a breast size different from the other, choosing to have surgery to leave them with the same volume and proportional to the rest of the body.

The amount of breast removed will depend on the size of the breasts, chest size and the patient's final goal (the final breast size should be proportional to their physical structure).

  • 5 Facts About Stomach Reduction You Did not Know
  • How is a Tummy Tuck Surgery?
  • Types of Bariatric Surgery - Benefits, Risks and More
  • Gastric Balloon Is It Worth It Even?

What is the best age to perform the mammoplasty?

The ideal is to wait until the breasts are fully developed, which occurs around the age of 18.

Because breast augmentation may make it difficult or even impossible to breastfeed in the future, consider having surgery only after you have had children. In addition, breastfeeding can alter the format of breasts already operated, decreasing the effects of surgery.

How Does Breast Reduction Surgery Work?

One of the most accomplished plastic surgeries in Brazil, breast reduction surgery consists of removal of the excess fat, skin and glandular tissue of the breasts in order to make them proportional to the physical structure of the woman.

Prior to surgery, the doctor will order mammography, mammography, and traditional laboratory tests (blood, urine). A cardiac and coagulation examination should also be part of the pre-surgical evaluation.

Preoperative Care

Before surgery, the patient should be fasted for a period of 8 or 12 hours, according to the medical indication. In addition, as the cigarette increases the risk of lower limb thrombosis and tissue necrosis, its use should be discontinued for at least 30 days prior to surgery.

Tell your doctor about the use of medications, especially diuretics and anticoagulants.


The most commonly used types of anesthesia are general or epidural with sedation. The decision on the best option for your case should be made between you, the surgeon and the anesthesiologist.


There are different techniques of breast reduction surgery, but the most commonly used technique is one that uses an inverted "T" incision. The incision is made around the areola and descends to the mammary furrow, where it runs horizontally.

If the breast is very large, the nipple and areola can be removed, which will later be replaced. The breast will be remodeled to fit the cone shape, which is the natural shape of the breasts.

There are cases in which the surgeon opts for the installation of surgical drains in the place, which should be maintained for 48 hours.


Breast reduction surgery can last from three to four hours, varying according to the technique used and the particularities of each case. Usually, the patient remains at 24 in the hospital in order to follow up any complications.

It is necessary that there is someone to take it home, since the movements with the arms will be limited.

Post surgery

In some cases of breast reduction, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics before and after surgery to reduce the risk of infection at the incision site. Analgesics may also be indicated, although discomfort is more common only within the first two to three days after the procedure.

The patient leaves the hospital with dressings and wearing a surgical compress bra, which should be used for two or three months, according to the medical indication. Dressings should be changed daily, and stitches are removed around 10 days after surgery.

Exaggerated movements with the arms should be avoided during the first few days after surgery. Ideally, you have someone to help with basic day-to-day activities such as bathing and changing clothes.


The breast reduction surgery leaves very red scars in the first few weeks, but they become clearer over the months. The scars follow the technique used in the surgery, but are usually in the anchor format (around the areola and descending in a vertical line and another horizontal).

Definitive healing occurs around 12 months after surgery, but may vary according to the skin tone, surgical technique and the care taken in the postoperative period.

In general, the greater the amount of tissue removed, the greater the scar. Talk to your doctor first if you tend to form keloids.


Although breast reduction surgery is not a high risk procedure, it can still bring some complications such as:

  • Difficulty or inability to breastfeed;
  • Sensitivity loss: Some women may partially or totally lose sensation in their breasts. A greater amount of removed tissue implies a greater risk of loss of sensitivity, since there is a greater nerve injury;
  • Keloids: These are reddish, irregular (thick) and protruding scars;
  • Necrosis of the areola: Although rare, it can occur in very large breasts, which have a lot of skin between the breast and the nipple, making it difficult for the nipple to be irrigated during the surgical procedure.
  • Opening of stitches: Due to swelling, the breast becomes very heavy after surgery, which can lead to rupture of the surgical suture.
  • Breast asymmetry: one breast may be in a different size or shape from the other.

In addition to these factors, the risks common to other surgeries may be associated: thrombosis, complications with anesthesia, respiratory problems, risk of infection and postoperative pain.


To ensure the success of your breast reduction surgery and avoid complications, be aware of these tips:

  • As the size of the breasts varies with the gain or loss of weight, even after the surgery there may be increase or decrease of the breasts. If you are very overweight, talk to your doctor about the need to lose weight before breast reduction;
  • Try to schedule the surgery for your vacation, as this will limit your movements and may have a better healing;
  • To avoid running out of the surgical bra, have a reserve to use while the other is washed;
  • Do not give creams or other products to the scar without medical advice;
  • Enjoy that you have not smoked so far to give up smoking once and for all;
  • Make the least possible movement with your arms the first few days after surgery. Abrupt or forceful movements may compromise healing;
  • After three weeks you can walk lightly to exercise, but avoid doing physical activity with your upper limbs before it has been two months after surgery.

How Much Does Breast Reduction Surgery Cost?

The price of breast reduction surgery will depend on the city, the professional and the hospitals chosen to perform the procedure. Currently, breast reduction surgery costs between R $ , 00 and R $ , 00, and some professionals even offer the option of installment payment.

Health plans usually do not provide coverage for aesthetic surgeries, but can cover the breast reduction surgery if your indication is for health reasons (back pain, example). In this case, there is a need for medical reports that prove the problem, in addition to a pre-approval of the plan.

Before deciding whether to have breast reduction surgery, seek a qualified and good referral doctor. Talk to him about the risks that surgery involves, the types of anesthesia and the hospital most suitable for the procedure.

Be sure to discuss with your surgeon your expectations, such as the final size of your breasts, loss of sensitivity and size of scars.


Do you know anyone who has had breast reduction surgery? How was the result? Do you think you need to undergo this surgery? Why? Comment below!

(47votes, average:, 5of 5)
Loading ...