Breast reduction surgery

Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammaplasty, is a procedure used to remove excess fat, tissue and skin from the breasts. If you have large breasts, you might choose to have breast reduction surgery to ease discomfort or to achieve a breast size proportionate to your body.

Breast reduction surgery might also help improve your self-image and self-confidence and your ability to participate in physical activities.

If you're considering breast reduction surgery, consult a board-certified plastic surgeon. It's important to understand what breast reduction surgery entails — including possible risks and complications — as well as set realistic expectations.


Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Breast reduction surgery is meant for women who have large breasts and want to resolve issues such as:

  • Chronic back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Chronic rash or skin irritation under the breasts
  • Deep grooves in the shoulders from bra strap pressure
  • Restricted activity
  • Poor self-image related to large breasts
  • Difficulty fitting into bras and clothing
  • Difficulty sleeping

You can have breast reduction surgery at any age — even as a teenager in some cases. However, it's usually best to wait until your breasts are fully developed.

If you haven't started a family or your family isn't yet complete, you might postpone breast reduction surgery until pregnancy isn't an issue. Changes to breast tissue during pregnancy could affect your surgical results.

Also, breast-feeding might be challenging after breast reduction surgery — although some research suggests that breast-feeding difficulty after breast reduction surgery is related to a lack of support or coaching rather than the surgery itself.

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