Breast reduction surgery is an option for many for both medical and cosmetic reasons. Breast reduction removes excess breast fat, glandular tissue and skin. This helps to achieve a breast size more in proportion with your body. This may also reduce discomfort or pain associated with large breast size.

Disproportionate and large breasts can cause physical and emotional distress. Patients may experience physical discomfort due to breast weight. The pain can also make it challenging to perform common physical activities. Some may also suffer from emotional distress or more significant mental health problems.

Patients with no medical issues can also pursue a breast reduction. A cosmetic breast reduction may address social stigmas or improve individual appearance.

About the procedure

Your surgeon will make very small incisions on your breasts. Next your surgeon will remove excess fat, glandular tissue and skin. In some cases, your surgeon may recommend liposuction. Your doctor will help you come up with the best treatment. Together, you will discuss your condition, amount of reduction desired, and personal preferences.

You will receive anesthesia at the start of the procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will give you a recommendation.

The type of incision your surgeon makes varies by individual. Common incision types are:

  • A circular pattern around the areola
  • A keyhole or racquet-shaped pattern around the areola, and down to the breast crease
  • An inverted T or anchor-shaped incision pattern

Your surgeon will reposition the nipple after making the incision. The nipple may be reduced in size. Your surgeon will reduce, lift and shape the smaller breast. Sutures then support the breasts along with adhesives and bandages for recovery.


You will notice your breasts are smaller immediately. During a recovery period, swelling will go down and incision lines will fade.

After surgery, you will need an elastic bandage or support bra. This reduces swelling and gives support. You will have a small, thin tube to drain any excess blood or fluid. And your individual care instructions may include:

  • How to care for your breasts following breast reduction surgery
  • Medications to apply or take
  • Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health

Learn more about how breast reduction can help you look and feel better.

For more information, including answers to FAQs, visit the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Breast Reduction page.