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What is a breast reduction?

Breast Reduction

A breast reduction is the surgical reshaping of the breast to make it smaller. Breast reduction, also called reduction mammoplasty, involves removing excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin to reduce breast size. Some people seek breast reduction for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons. Your doctor may also recommend it if large breasts are causing discomfort, back problems, or other health problems.

Breast reduction surgery is a common but major surgery with significant risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment. Consider getting a second opinion about all your choices before having breast reduction surgery.

Types of breast reduction surgery

The types of breast reduction procedures include:

  • Free nipple graft (FNG) involves removing your nipple and grafting it in a new location on your breast. Your surgeon removes breast tissue while your nipple is off, and then grafts your nipple back into place.

  • Liposuction involves injection and suction of fatty tissue and usually leaves little or no scarring.

  • Pedicle method involves making a circular incision around your areola (the dark area that surrounds your nipple) to remove breast tissue.

  • Anchor incision is an extension of the pedicle method with an incision that runs vertically down from the areola to the bottom of your breast and into a semi-circle around the bottom of your breast. This makes an anchor-like incision.

  • LeJour incision is an extension of the pedicle method with an incision that runs vertically down from the areola to the bottom of your breast and stops at your chest wall.

  • Stevens laser bra uses a laser and the extra skin that would normally be discarded to create a permanent internal support structure for your breasts.

Other procedures that may be performed 

Your surgeon may perform other procedures in addition to breast reduction surgery. The most common combination is a breast reduction with a breast lift (mastopexy). A breast lift is a procedure to boost sagging or loose breasts.

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 8, 2016

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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Medical References

  1. Breast Reduction. The American society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. http://www.surgery.org/consumers/procedures/breast/breast-reduction
  2. Breast Reduction. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/reconstructive-procedures/breast-reduction.html
  3. Breast Reduction for Men. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/breast-reduction-for-men.html
  4. Pile, JC.Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach.Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf
  5. Cosmetic Surgery vs. Plastic Surgery. American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. http://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/patient-resources/cosmetic-surgery-vs-plastic-surgery/

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