Breast Reduction: New York Surgeon on FAQs

Your frequently asked questions about breast reduction surgery are answered by NY surgeon Dr. Carlin Vickery.

1. What is breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction surgery is an operation in which breast skin, glands and fat are reduced in order to make a patient's breasts smaller in volume, more narrow and higher on the chest wall. Candidates for this surgery have breasts that are overly large for their frame and height. Many of these patients complain of constant neck, shoulder and back pain and find exercise difficult to impossible due to the large weight and gravitational pull from the weight of their breasts.

2. Am I a good candidate for a breast reduction?

An ideal candidate for breast reduction is in good health and is within 20 pounds of their ideal weight. Patients over this weight category may still be candidates for breast reduction with the anticipation that increased exercise after breast reduction surgery will allow them to be more active and lose more weight. Patients who seek this surgery may be as young as 15 or well into their 70s.

3. What are some of the risks involved in a breast reduction procedure?

Breast reduction surgery in healthy candidates is a very well-tolerated procedure with minimal complications. Infection and bleeding are potential complications following any surgical procedure, but are rare in breast reduction. Nipple and areolar tissue may have reduced blood supply following the surgery, which can result in partial loss of these tissues. In most instances, the loss is superficial and adequate healing will occur over time. As there are several suture lines in breast reduction surgery, it is not unusual for there to be a slight separation which can cause a delay in healing, but with time this will resolve.

4. Will I be in pain after the breast reduction procedure?

Breast reduction surgery is generally very well-tolerated. Most patients will require oral pain medication for several days, but are comfortable with the medication. After 48 hours patients normally feel well and begin to gradually resume their daily life. Returning to school or work within a week of surgery is common.

5. Do you have a recovery area to accommodate me after a breast reduction surgical procedure?

Breast reductions can be performed in a hospital or an ambulatory center. Most patients benefit from spending one night with nursing care. This can be arranged at most facilities.

6. How long is the recovery process after the procedure?

The average patient will want to stay home for 2 to 3 days. By the third post-op day, many patients will be ready to get out of the house for a walk. Most patients can return to work or school by one week. The breasts will continue to heal for a number of months. Exercise should be limited for 8 weeks until maximal healing strength is reached. During this period, patients should wear a supportive bra 24 hours a day. After 8 weeks, patients can return to full exercise with a supportive bra.