Breast Reduction

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What is breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction surgery, commonly called reduction mammoplasty, is a very commonly performed procedure. The procedure can be performed for medical/functional reasons or for cosmetic reasons. This surgery can provide significant relief from the problems associated with large breasts, including back and neck pain, posture problems, skin rashes under the breast, skeletal deformities, breathing problems, and discomfort during exercise. Additionally, the surgery produces three primary affects. First, and foremost, the breast size (weight) is reduced. Secondly, the areola is reduced to some degree depending upon the size preoperatively. Thirdly, a breast lift is performed simultaneously in conjunction with the breast reduction. Rarely, the nipple is removed and replaced at the time of the procedure. This is done primarily for women with extraordinarily large breasts. Your anticipated breast size after surgery will be discussed with you before surgery with Dr. Lewis. There are many factors that go into that decision. Every effort is made to achieve your ideal breast size after surgery within the confines of also trying to improve your preoperatively symptomatology. If the breast reduction is done for cosmetic reasons then there is relatively more freedom in achieving your ideal postoperative size. Insurance pre authorization is required before the procedure can be performed and billed to insurance. That process is begun at your initial office visit. Your complaints will be documented, photographs are required and an inquiry can be made with your insurance carrier.

As Dr. Lewis states,

“My aim is to create a breast shape and size that appears natural and consistent with your desires before surgery.”

The choice of breast reduction is highly personal, and women consider the procedure for many different reasons. If you have experienced any of the following, Dr. Lewis suggests you consider breast reduction surgery: Your back, neck or shoulders are often in pain, and it can be bothersome taking a deep breath. You are concerned about having disproportionately large breasts. You want to eliminate unwanted attention because of your breasts. Bras are extremely uncomfortable, chafing, and leave marks on your shoulders. You feel limited in your clothing options due to your large, sagging breasts. No sports bra you have tried makes exercise any easier. You are unable to do activities such as running, aerobics or other strenuous sports because of your large breasts. You are a non smoker.

What to Expect

Breast reduction is an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia and takes between two to four hours. Occasionally, the procedure is performed at a local hospital with an overnight stay. Incisions are made around the areola, vertically down from that point and then along the fold or crease under the breast. The shape of the incision is typically compared to the shape of an anchor.


Following the surgery, for the first few days you will wear surgical bra. A post-surgical bra, or a comfortable sports bra is commonly worn for at least two weeks. Avoid lifting and more strenuous activities for about one to two weeks. Oral medication prescribed by Dr. Lewis will control most discomfort associated with the surgery. Some amount of swelling, bruising and tenderness also follows the procedure. Full return to strenuous activity usually takes four to six weeks. Dr. Lewis will discuss with you a proper schedule for returning to your normal activities and work. Showering can be resumed within 36 hours postoperatively.