Written by Dr. Gayatri, MD Anaesthesiology | 
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond)


What is breast reduction?

In breast reduction surgery a portion of the breast gland and fatty tissue is removed and the opened skin is brought back into position and stitched or glued together.

From time immemorial smooth well shaped and firm breasts are an icon in all cultures. The bust as they are popularly referred to should not be too small or too big.

My breasts have a career of their own. Theirs is going better. Women are constantly asking me who my doctor is and referring to my chest. I don't understand what everyone's obsession with boobs is about. Every other person in the world has a pair.- Jennifer Love Hewitt

Big or Oversized breasts can give rise to shoulder pain, neck pain, crouching posture and can be a source of unease for the person. Some men who face a condition called 'gynecomastia' or enlargement of the breasts may also seek this operation.

This surgery is done by cosmetic or plastic surgeons. A detailed discussion with the surgeon is a must; the patient must convey her expected level of reduction in the breast size. After a thorough examination and assessment of the patient's skin condition the surgeon will advise on the amount of reduction possible.

Certain medications like aspirin and habits like smoking must be stopped prior the operation. A mammogram is done to rule out other problems in the breast and basic urine examination and a couple of blood tests may be done.

The surgeon measures the breasts and marks out the desired position of the nipple in the upright posture. The operation is most often done under a general anesthesia in a fully equipped operation theatre.

Once the patient is anesthetized, the area is scrubbed with the antiseptic, and the surgeon sets about his task. He makes an incision across the areola and nipple and opens the skin. A portion of the gland and fatty tissue is removed and the opened skin is brought back into position and stitched or glued together.

Breast reduction is possible by using liposuction alone, at times. During other instances, reduction may have to be combined with a breast lift or mastopexy.

There is a possibility of bleeding, infection, anesthetic complications following the operation. Loss of sensation over the areola, soreness, bruising, wound break down, asymmetry of the breast, necessity of revision surgery are all likely complications. Good post-op care of the breast is necessary for better results.

Realistic expectations and having a positive outlook brings tremendous satisfaction for a woman seeking breast reduction. Add to this the skills of a qualified aesthetic surgeon and you have a sure formula to look good and feel great.

If the insurance company is likely to cover the cost of the surgery, it is important to get a pre-authorization or understand the criteria that may have been established by some insurance companies to make a claim Some insurance companies rely on symptoms such as neck and shoulder pain before they approve the surgery.

If the surgery is done purely from a cosmetic angle and involves small reductions such as of 2 cups sizes only, it may not be covered and would likely be considered a breast lift or mastopexy operation.

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