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Douglas A. Taranow, DO, FACOS

New York, NY


Posted June 27, 2018 in Breast Reduction

Women who have overly large breasts know how much of a struggle it is trying to fit into a cute blouse, exercising without three different sports bras on, dealing with constant neck and shoulder pain, and watching the integrity of the breast skin become compromised.

Having everyday life activities modified because you have large breasts can be a strain on an individual’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Breast reduction, otherwise known as reduction mammoplasty, removes excess breast tissue, fat, and skin to help lighten the load. The patient and the surgeon will discuss the patient’s overall goals in order to achieve a breast size that is more proportionate to the person’s body size.

woman measured her huge breast

How Is the Surgery Performed?

A breast reduction is performed under either IV sedation or general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The surgery typically takes about three to four hours depending on how much excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin needs to be removed. If only a small amount of breast tissue needs to be removed and no skin will be removed, then an incision will be made on the underside of the areola. When a larger amount of glandular tissue, fat, and skin need to be removed, an anchor-shaped incision will be made on the underside of the breast. The nipple and areola will be raised to a higher position, and all incisions will be closed with sutures.

What Is Recovery Like?

The amount of glandular tissue, fat, and skin removed during surgery will dictate the amount of time necessary for recovery. Tolerance to pain and a person’s natural ability to heal are key factors in recovery.

Immediately After

The patient will need to arrange for someone to take them home after surgery. It is also important that a surgical bra is worn to support the breasts during healing, minimize stress on incisions, and help to decrease swelling. It is recommended that the patient have a family member or friend stay with them the first night. Prescription pain medication can be taken as needed for pain and discomfort during the first seven days after surgery.

First Week Following

On the second day following surgery, the surgical bra and gauze covering sutures will be easily removed, and the patient will be able to take a shower. Mild to moderate pain and discomfort can be managed with pain medication and rest. Depending on the type of job, patients will be able to return to work about one week after surgery.

Two Weeks and Beyond

It can take up to six weeks for swelling to fully subside, and wearing a soft bra with no underwire will be most comfortable as the incisions continue to heal. Pain should be moderate, and over-the-counter medication can be taken to help with any residual pain and discomfort. Be aware that the first menstrual cycle following surgery may cause pain and an increase in breast swelling. No vigorous exercise should be performed for three to four weeks.

Who Is a Good Candidate?

Strong candidates for breast reduction surgery are:

  • In good overall health
  • Emotionally stable
  • Experiencing neck, back, and shoulder pain from large breast size
  • Experiencing difficulty finding well-fitted clothing
  • Uncomfortable with the appearance of their large breast size

Individuals who smoke, are obese, are dealing with certain medical issues, or have irregular mammograms are likely not strong candidates for the procedure.

What Are the Benefits?

  • Reduced pain in the neck, back, and shoulders
  • Reduce skin issues associated with bra straps
  • Reduce skin irritation and rash due to breasts hanging down
  • Increased confidence
  • Fit in clothing better
  • More comfortable when exercising
  • Improve overall body shape

For more information regarding breast reduction surgery or a consultation, contact the office of Dr. Douglas A. Taranow at 212-772-2100.