This Article Has Been Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Jennifer Emmett, M.D.

Home Breast reduction Is Breast Reduction Surgery Safe, and Is It Right for Me?

August 9, 2022

You may consider breast reduction surgery if you are a woman with large breasts that interfere with daily life and self-image.

During breast reduction surgery, a surgeon will carefully remove excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin to achieve an ideal breast size.

Many women who undergo this procedure choose to have it done because their breasts’ weight and size cause neck, shoulder, and back pain. In addition to physical pain, some suffer mentally and emotionally as well.

It can be challenging to have a positive self-image when your breasts prevent you from activities and specific clothing.

Learn the benefits and risks of breast reduction surgery, if it is right for you, and what to expect during and after the procedure.

What are the risks of breast reduction surgery?

While breast reduction surgery is a common procedure that is generally safe, some people may experience minor complications.

Some of these risks include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Asymmetric appearance of the breasts or nipples
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Cellulitis
  • Changes in nipple or breast sensation
  • Excess fluid in the breast
  • Inability to breastfeed
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Poor wound healing
  • Prominent or thickened scars

You can lessen your risks and complications by choosing to live a healthier lifestyle.

Those who smoke or have obesity have more potential risks and a longer healing time than those who don’t smoke and are a healthier weight.

Quitting smoking and losing weight before surgery can improve your chances of a safe and speedy recovery and your general health and well-being.

A highly qualified plastic surgeon can give you a more exhaustive list of risks that may or may not pertain to you.

During your consultation with Dr. Emmett, she will help you determine if breast reduction surgery is right for you based on your health and lifestyle.

Is breast reduction surgery safe?

Over 40,000 breast reduction surgeries are performed a year in the United States, most with successful outcomes.

Most patients are satisfied with their procedures. Even those who experienced minor complications such as infections or prolonged bleeding claimed to have no regrets.

As with any surgery, there are risks, but with a team of professional medical care providers and close observation, surgeries go quickly and smoothly.

At Emmett Plastic Surgery, we use twilight sedation, another way that Dr. Emmett ensures her patient’s safety.

While some surgeons use anesthesia, negative side effects make it a less desirable choice.

If you have any questions or concerns about breast reduction surgery, Dr. Emmett can answer them and offer you peace of mind.

Why it’s done and is it right for me?

Many women decide to have breast reduction surgery when their breasts are causing them chronic pain. Larger and heavier breasts can cause neck, shoulder, and back pain, nerve pain, and uncomfortable rashes.

Rather than taking pain medication and applying creams to rashes, which are only temporary fixes, this procedure can be a long-term solution.

Women also opt for breast reduction surgery to help them improve their self-esteem.

There are many bras and shirts that larger-breasted women cannot wear comfortably. Their breasts may make clothing fit too tightly or not cover them properly, making them self-conscious.

Sometimes, larger breasts may not suit a woman’s lifestyle or body. Breast reduction surgery can help a woman’s body look more proportional and engage in hobbies that are too difficult with bigger breasts.

What can you expect?

During your consultation, Dr. Emmett will explain what will happen during and after the procedure.

Below we have included the basics to help you gain an understanding of what to expect now.

During the procedure

Your licensed plastic surgeon will use a marker to draw incision guidelines around your nipples.

Your surgeon will then begin making an incision around the areolas and beneath the breasts, where they will remove excess skin from the sides of the breasts.

Next, your surgeon will remove excess fat and glandular tissue, reshape the remaining tissue, and reposition the nipples and areolas.

Generally, the nipples will remain attached to their blood and nerve supply. However, if breasts are too heavy, they may need a free nipple graft. This is where the nipples are removed and reattached to a higher point on the breast.

Your surgeon will then bring your skin incisions together and close them with sutures and surgical tape.

After the procedure

Immediately after surgery, your surgeon or a nurse will wrap your breasts in gauze bandages and, if needed, insert drainage tubes into the breasts to prevent fluid build-up.

You may experience bruising, swelling, pain, discomfort, and numbness, which is normal.

You may need pain medication for the first week, but your pain will lessen, and your breasts will feel tender and sensitive.

You will need to limit physical activity for the first two to four weeks while your breasts heal.

It is common to see bruising and swelling for up to 8 weeks after your surgery. Around this time, you will also notice the healing of your incisions.

Schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Emmett

Dr. Jennifer Emmett, M.D. is a double-board certified plastic surgeon by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery.

Located in Colorado, her practice is skilled in performing breast enhancement procedures, including breast augmentation, breast lifts, and breast reduction.

Her skills and experience make her an expert in other plastic surgery procedures as well, including Botox, body lift, Brazilian butt lift, derma fillers, facelift,  liposuction, neck lift, rhinoplasty, and tummy tuck.

Emmett Plastic Surgery is a leading provider of surgical and non-surgical services and is recognized for its client satisfaction.

Contact us if you have been considering breast reduction surgery.

We can schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Emmett to discuss breast reduction surgery if you are a good candidate for the procedure and financing.