Breast Reduction Frequently Asked Questions

With so many women wishing their breasts were bigger, it’s easy to forget how some women have the exact opposite desire – they wish their breasts were smaller. Having overly large breasts is a medical condition called symptomatic macromastia. It can cause a variety of health issues ranging from pain (back, shoulders, neck) to skin problems (rashes, dermatitis). Severe cases can even result in skeletal deformities and difficulty breathing. Women with overly large breasts often don’t engage in as much exercise as they would like because of the discomfort it causes.


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Reduction

As with any surgical procedure, you may have questions about breast reduction surgery. Below you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions people ask about reduction mammaplasty:


What is breast reduction surgery?

Reduction mammaplasty (breast reduction surgery) is a procedure to remove some of the skin, fat, and glandular tissue from the breasts to make them smaller, lighter, and firmer. Reduction of areola size may also be included when desired. For women whose daily life is made more difficult and uncomfortable because of overly large breasts, breast reduction surgery can be a truly life-changing experience for the better. 


Should I have breast reduction surgery?

The answer to this question depends on your unique circumstances. If you experience difficulties in your day-to-day life because of symptomatic macromastia, breast reduction surgery could provide relief. The most commonly reported symptoms include neck, shoulder, and back pain caused by the weight of overly large breasts stressing your musculoskeletal system. Other symptoms include breast pain and skin conditions (dermatitis, rashes) underneath the breasts. If you feel the quality of your life would significantly improve with breast reduction surgery, seek a consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon. If you’d like to arrange a consultation with Siwy Plastic Surgery, please call us at 317-876-7777.


Does health insurance cover breast reduction?

Many health insurance providers label breast reduction surgery as a cosmetic procedure and won’t cover it. But if you’re suffering from any of the various symptoms mentioned above, the “cosmetic” nature of the procedure may be the last thing on your mind. In these cases, the procedure qualifies as a kind of reconstructive surgery. But you may need to build a case for reduction mammaplasty (the medical term for breast reduction surgery) if you hope to have it covered by health insurance. What the health insurance companies seek is verification of health issues caused by your large breasts and attempted remediation of those issues with appropriate medical professionals. For those suffering from pain, see a physical therapist and/or a chiropractor. Those experiencing skin issues should see a dermatologist. Having these specialists recommend breast reduction surgery will help you prove you’re seeking a medically necessary procedure and not just a cosmetic treatment. For more information on this, see our blog article on breast reduction surgery and health insurance.


What are the benefits of breast reduction surgery?

Women who undergo breast reduction surgery enjoy immediate relief from their most uncomfortable symptoms, such as back, neck, and shoulder pain. They find they can lead a more active lifestyle than before, including more exercise, which leads to further positive health benefits. There are also mental health benefits for many women who previously felt very self-conscious or were ridiculed for their overly large breasts. A boost in self-confidence and a more positive mental outlook on life are common benefits of breast reduction surgery.


What happens at a breast reduction consultation?

When you come to Siwy Plastic Surgery for a breast reduction consultation, we’ll go over lots of questions about your health, lifestyle, and person desires. It’s important for the surgeon to get a full picture before making any recommendations. We’ll talk about why you want the surgery, what outcomes you’re hoping for, any current or past medical conditions, allergies, family medical history around illnesses (especially breast cancer), and so on. We can also perform an initial examination of your breasts to see what’s possible. 


Are there risks with breast reduction surgery?

Any surgery has risks. Potential risks with breast reduction surgery can include (in rare cases) a loss of additional breast tissue if there is inadequate blood flow to remaining tissue (this risk is greater among smokers). There is also a risk for reduced breasts being slightly uneven in size. In addition, there are cases where the scars remain dark and raised even after healing. Potential breastfeeding impacts are discussed in the next question.


How does breast reduction surgery affect pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Many women are apprehensive about breast reduction surgery before having children for fear it might negatively affect their chances of breastfeeding, or for fear of the breasts getting larger again when they do breastfeed. Breast reduction surgery can reduce your chances of successful breastfeeding. You should discuss these concerns thoroughly during your initial consultation with a plastic surgeon.


How do I prepare for breast reduction surgery?

At Siwy Plastic Surgery, you will receive very specific instructions tailored to you. Please follow these instructions carefully in the days leading up to your surgery. You may need to have a more thorough medical examination and/or mammogram ahead of time. You might be asked to take certain medications before the surgery. We might askyou to adjust your medication schedule depending on what you currently take. You should avoid aspirin or NSAID anti-inflammatory drugs that thin the blood and could increase bleeding during the surgery. If you’re having the procedure done as an out-patient surgery, you’ll need to line up someone who can drive you home. You will likely need assistance for at least several days as you recuperate from surgery. 


What happens during the actual surgery?

After receiving general anesthesia, small incisions are made on the breasts to allow for the removal of excess tissue, skin and/or fat. Exact methods are determined on a case by case basis. The three most common techniques for incisions include a circular pattern around the areola, complementing the areola pattern with a vertical incision down to the crease of the breast, or an upside down T-shaped incision around the areola. With removal of excess tissue, the nipple is repositioned and the areola may also be reduced. The incisions are brought together using the most appropriate surgical tools (sutures, adhesives, etc.). 


What is the level of pain I will experience after breast reduction surgery?

Each individual’s experience of pain is different, but most patients describe post-surgery pain as mild to moderate. You will be instructed on what pain medications to take that are appropriate for the level of pain you experience. 


How soon can I get back to normal activities after breast reduction surgery?

You will need to take it very easy for at least several days and will probably need assistance for many daily tasks, so be sure you have that help available. The surgery does involve being under general anesthesia, which has lingering effects that vary from person to person. You may find that you become very tired and need to take a nap at some point during the day for a week or two.