Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammoplasty)

Female breast reduction, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is an operation to reduce the weight and volume of the breasts. During the procedure, fat, glandular tissue and skin are removed from the breasts, which are then reshaped and the nipples repositioned

The procedure may improve symptoms such as backache, neck pain, poor posture, skin complaints under the breast, weals or grooves on the shoulders from bra straps, or the ability to exercise comfortably and take part in sports.

What happens?

Surgery takes between two and four hours. You are usually required to stay in hospital for one or two nights.  The surgeon will use a pen to mark areas of the skin where the incisions (surgical cuts) will be made.
Most breast reduction surgery begins with the nipple, which is moved to its new position, usually while still attached to the blood supply. If you have extremely large breasts, the nipples may be removed and re-positioned as a skin graft. They will develop their own blood supply.  Excess skin and breast tissue are then removed.  The remaining breast tissue is reshaped to create smaller and more elevated breasts.  There are various different ways to do a breast reduction. Your surgeon will decide which is most appropriate for you depending on the size of your breasts and the desired outcome.

When you wake up after having breast reduction surgery, your breasts will be bandaged and plastic drains (tubes) may be attached to your breasts.

After one to two days, any tubes will be removed and you should be able to go home. You may experience some pain for a few days, which can be relieved with painkillers.  Once you have returned home, depending on your age and general fitness, you will need to rest for two to six weeks. Your surgeon will advise you when you can resume your normal activities and return to work.


After surgery, you will have some discomfort and swelling in your breasts. Bruising and pain may last a few weeks. The scarring will usually fade to pink after around three months, and then fade to white.

Are there any risks?

As with all surgery, there is a risk of complications such as:

• Pain
• Bleeding
• Scarring
• Infection
• Blood clots (deep-vein thrombosis)

Specific complications of this operation include:

• Scarring
• Uneven shape
• Wound healing problems
• Loss of nipple sensation
• Infection
• Haematoma
• Your ability to breastfeed may be reduced.

Be sure and discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon.