Breast Reduction (Mammaplasty)

An overview of breast reduction, which is also known as mammaplasty.

By Sarah Leavitt, Medical Research EditorLast modified: June 06, 2011

Breast Reduction (Mammaplasty)

A breast reduction, also known as reduction mammaplasty, is a common procedure that decreases the size of one’s breasts through surgically removing tissue in one’s chest. Breast reduction surgery has helped millions of people feel confident in their bodies. Breast reductions are also solutions for medical problems in people, both men and women, with excessively large breasts.

A Good Candidate for Breast Reduction (Mammaplasty)

Healthy women with very large breasts or pendulous breasts are good candidates for a breast reduction (mammaplasty). Men who suffer from gynecomastia are also generally good candidates for a male breast lift.

Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast reduction surgery (mammaplasty) generally lasts between 3 and 5 hours in which the patient is under a general anesthesia. The surgeon first makes markings on the patient's chest while he or she is sitting up right. These markings guide the doctor in making the incisions once the patient is lying down. The surgeon then removes excess skin, fat, and glandular tissues before relocating the nipple to a higher location on the chest. Once the incisions are stitched closed, the patient will then be wrapped in gauze and monitored closely in the hours following surgery. 

What is a Breast Reduction (Mammaplasty)?

A breast reduction reduces the size of breasts in patients who feel pain or discomfort from their breasts. Breast reduction, also known as mammaplasty, restores confidence in those unhappy with over-sized breasts. 

Preparing for Breast Reduction

During the breast reduction surgery (mammaplasty) consultation, your doctor will outline the procedure and instruct you on preparing both emotionally and physically for your breast reduction.

What is Hypertrophy?

Women with hypertrophy of the breasts often seek breast reduction surgery. Hypertrophy of the breasts is a rare connective tissue disorder that causes excessive breast enlargement. While hypertrophy of the breasts is a benign condition, it can cause back problems as well as severe dissatisfaction with one's physical appearance. Women with hypertrophy of the breasts may also have breast asymmetry, for which a breast reduction can correct. 

Recovering from Breast Reduction (Mammaplasty)

The recovery period following breast reduction surgery (mammaplasty) is a crucial aspect to obtaining the results you desire. Your breasts will be sore and swollen and you may feel strong pain in your chest. Pain can be alleviated with medication from your doctor. 

Risks and Side Effects of Breast Reduction (Mammaplasty)

Infection, excess bleeding, unwanted scarring or bruising are all risks and side effects of a breast reduction (mammaplasty). Some women report short-term loss of sensation in their nipples while other women experience no major side effects. 

Cost of Breast Reduction (Mammaplasty)

A number of factors influence the cost of breast reduction surgery (mammaplasty). In the United States, the aggregate cost of the procedure generally costs several thousands of dollars. 

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Copyright © 2010 All rights reserved

This article was written by the medical research team at does not intend for any of the information on this site to be regarded as medical advice - it is meant as a starting point for understanding treatment details and options before contacting a registered, licensed doctor. We advise all patients to seek medical advice from a doctor.
View sources

© 2010 Medstar LLC. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of' s terms of use and privacy policy.

The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.