Breast Reduction
Understanding Breast Reduction (mammaplasty)

Understanding breast reduction
Is breast reduction for you?
Making the decision
Understanding the surgery
What to expect after sugery


Breast reduction is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of large pendulous breasts that are disproportionate to a woman’s body and can cause physical pain. Technically called reduction mammaplasty, breast reduction improves breast size, shape, and the associated conditions of large breasts that include:

  • Back, neck and shoulder pain caused by the weight of excess breast tissue;
  • Shoulder discomfort and indentation from bra straps that support heavy, pendulous breasts;
  • Restricted physical activity due to breast size and the associated discomfort;
  • Skin irritation beneath the breast crease;
  • Sagging, stretched skin and a low breast profile where, when unsupported, the nipple rests below the breast crease;
  • An enlarged areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple) caused by stretched skin.

Breast reduction can be performed unilaterally (on one breast) or bilaterally (on both breasts). It is generally considered a reconstructive procedure and may be covered by health insurance when it is performed to relieve medical symptoms.

Breast reduction surgery can be performed at any age; however, it is best performed when the breasts are fully developed. Because significant amounts of breast tissue are removed, breast reduction surgery may impair the ability to breast feed. Changes in the breasts during pregnancy can alter the outcomes of previous breast reduction surgery, as can significant weight fluctuations.

In general, good candidates for breast reduction are women of relatively normal, stable weight whose breast development is complete. Breast reduction is best performed on:

  • Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing;
  • Non-smokers;
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for improving their physical symptoms, breast size and shape


Geoffrey Kim, M.D.
Plastic Surgery & Med Spa
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*Disclaimer: "Results will vary from person to person"