Breast Reduction

Breast reduction is routinely undertaken as an inpatient procedure with only a one night stay in hospital usually required. The techniques for breast reduction vary, but the most common ‘inferior pedicle’ procedure results in an anchor-shaped scar that circles the areola, extends downward, and follows the natural curve of the crease beneath the breast (see diagrams). Excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin is removed and the skin from both sides of the breast is draped down and around the areolar and nipple, in their new position, shaping the contour of the breast. The nipples remain attached to their blood vessels and nerves. However, if the breasts are extremely large they may have to be removed and grafted in to the correct position which resultants in loss of sensation. Liposuction may be used to remove excess fat from the armpit area.

As with all surgery there are general complications inherent from having any surgical procedure & anaesthetic as well as specific complications from the type of procedure itself. Your surgeon should carefully explain these to you. As with any surgery, smokers should be advised that nicotine can delay healing, resulting in conspicuous scars and prolonged recovery. Less than 5% of women will develop a significant post-operative complication. Prompt treatment of any complication reduces the chance of long-term problems. Depending on your age you should continue with regular mammograms.


Breast reduction does not delay detection of breast cancer and may even reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. 

After surgery, your breasts will be wrapped in an elastic bandage over dressings. A small suction drain will be placed in each breast to drain off blood and fluids for the first day. The bandages will be removed the day after surgery before you go home although you'll continue wearing a sports bra/lycra crop top day and night for 4 weeks and then during the day for a further 4 weeks. Although you will be up and about the day after surgery, your breasts may still ache occasionally for a couple of weeks. Take your prescribed painkillers regularly for 3-5 days, then as required. Most women can return to work (if it's not too strenuous) in about 7-10 days but you'll have less stamina for several weeks, and should limit exercise until your energy level returns. Do not wear an underwire bra for at least 8 weeks. Avoid swimming or immersing your breasts under water for 4 weeks. 

The procedure does leave permanent scars, although your bra or bathers will cover them. The procedure can also leave you with slightly mismatched breasts or unevenly positioned nipples. Future breast-feeding may be possible and is encouraged if applicable. Although much of the swelling and bruising will disappear in the first few weeks, it may be six months to a year before your breasts settle into their new shape. Even then, their shape may fluctuate in response to your hormonal shifts, weight changes, and pregnancy. Your surgeon will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible, Still, it's important to remember that breast reduction scars can be extensive and permanent. Most scars take three months to reach their full strength and during this period they may become itchy, firm, red and a little raised. The scars will then gradually mature until they become a fine, white line over nine to twelve months, although this is variable according to individual skin types. After 6 weeks when the wound has healed soundly you may massage the scar with moisturising cream or oil twice daily for two to three months. It is not essential to use Vitamin E cream or oil