This Article Has Been Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Jennifer Emmett, M.D.

Home Breast reduction How Does a Breast Reduction Procedure Alleviate Back Pain?

August 26, 2021

If you have back pain due to large breasts and are considering breast reduction, continue reading to learn more about how this procedure may help you eliminate your pain.

Women with large breasts often have unnecessary strain on their back and neck, causing constant pain and aching that can negatively impact their life.

Over time, this strain can cause serious changes to the curvature of the spine and lead to spinal deformity or other ailments.

Chronic back pain isn’t the only issue caused by large breasts — women may be self-conscious, feeling that their breasts are disproportionately large for their body.

Breast reduction can be common for female athletes to help them participate in sports without discomfort.

What is a Breast Reduction Procedure?

Unlike breast augmentation, which aims to add fullness and volume to the breasts, breast reduction seeks to reduce the overall size and weight of the breasts. 

A breast reduction procedure is similar to a breast lift, in that excess skin, weight, glandular tissue, and fat are removed from the breast to improve the appearance and lift.

Before a breast reduction procedure, the patient must first have their initial consultation with Dr. Emmett to see if they’re a healthy candidate for surgery.

During this hour-long consultation, Dr. Emmett will evaluate the patient’s health and previous medical history, including any previous surgeries, mammograms, and learn about the patient’s family history of cancer. She will also examine, measure, and photograph the patient’s breasts for record-keeping.

Dr. Emmett will then discuss any potential risks and complications associated with the procedure and answer any questions the patient has about the surgery. 

Once the patient has proven to be a healthy candidate, Dr. Emmett will schedule the surgery date.

The Breast Reduction Procedure Step by Step

Before surgery, the patient will be put under general anesthesia to be in an unconscious, pain-free state during the surgery.

Dr. Emmett will then make an incision around the entire areola. A second incision will be made from the top of the areola down the front of the breast, creating a keyhole incision. A third incision will be placed under the breast crease.

From here, Dr. Emmett can begin removing the excess tissue from the breasts and repositioning the nipple on the breast. Depending on what was discussed during the consultation, Dr. Emmett may also reshape the areola before repositioning it on the breast.

Finally, Dr. Emmett will suture shut the incision and apply skin adhesives and surgical tape to close the incisions to begin the healing process.

Breast reduction patients are sent home the same day as their surgery to begin their recovery process.

Can Breast Reduction Reduce Back Pain?

The excessive weight caused by large breasts places unnecessary strain on the neck and back muscles. 

Immediately following surgery, the breasts’ reduced size and weight will be noticeable and should eliminate most back, neck, and shoulder pain, provided there aren’t other sources causing the patients’ back pain.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recently published a study that half of the 179 women who had a breast size of DD or large had constant upper back and pain in their neck, shoulder, and lower backs. But after surgery, only 10% of these women still had that pain.

Other Benefits of Receiving a Breast Reduction

Many women who receive breast reduction surgery often state they feel uncomfortable going out in public and feel self-conscious when picking out new clothes, unable to find tops or bras that properly fit them.

However, after breast reduction surgery, finding properly fitting clothing and bras becomes much easier.

Shoulder dents are a common problem caused by heavy breasts. This occurs when ill-fitted bras create too much pressure on the soft tissue of the shoulder, creating semi-permanent indentations or red marks. A reduced breast size means a patient can find better-fitting bras that won’t dig into their shoulders.

Female athletes, including runners, often complain of breast pain during exercising, which can ruin their performance and strain their breasts. But this too is reduced after surgery, allowing athletes to compete without pain. 

How Long Does Recovery Last? 

It takes the body around 4-6 weeks to heal after receiving breast reduction surgery.

Immediately following surgery, you will experience soreness, redness, and bruising caused by the incisions. This is the body’s normal healing process. You will be prescribed pain medication by Dr. Emmett to help you during this time.

You will be advised to wear a post-op surgery bra, which compresses the tissue around the breasts to reduce swelling and liquid accumulation. This bra will also provide support to help your breasts settle into place while they’re healing.

Avoid showering the first couple of days after surgery, as your surgical tape should stay as dry as possible. 

Be sure to sleep in an elevated position, and avoid sleeping on your sides and front, as this can be painful and be harmful to the healing process.

Exercising after Surgery

Light exercise is permitted, but avoid exercises that will cause unnecessary shifting in your breasts until they are fully healed.

After a month, you should be fully healed and will be able to return to normal activities, including exercising, running, and weight lifting.

Schedule Your Initial Breast Reduction Consultation Today

Dr. Jennifer Emmett is a Double-Board certified plastic surgeon located in Lone Tree, Colorado serving the Greater Denver Area. 

She has been recognized by Castle Connolly as being a top doctor in Colorado, with excellence in cosmetic and enhancement surgery and over 20 years of experience.

Dr. Emmett and her staff are leading providers of advanced plastic surgery, and specialize in breast reduction, breast lifts, breast augmentation, facial surgery, and body contouring procedures.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Emmett, contact us or call (303) 955-7545 today!