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Reduction mammoplasty, better known as breast reduction surgery, is one of the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedures in the U.S. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in 2014 over 114,000 women underwent reduction mammoplasty. During this procedure, excess breast fat, tissue and skin is removed to reduce the size and weight of the breasts and to improve breast contour so that they are more proportional.
Women typically seek reduction mammoplasty to address a combination of physical and body image concerns. Patients with large pendulous breasts that are out of proportion to their bodies experience back, neck and shoulder pain, rashes between and under the breasts, bra strap grooving, difficulty finding clothing, and a decreased ability to perform certain physical activities. These issues contribute to significant body imaging concerns that can be psychologically debilitating.
There are several different options for breast reduction determined by the pre-existing size of the breasts. These different techniques have varying lengths of scars. The scarring from reduction mammoplasty is typically quite favorable. Recovery from the procedure is typically about two weeks to return to normal activities and six weeks until the patient may return to full activities. The risks of the procedure are quite manageable and most commonly include delayed healing of the inferior incision and fluid collections that can be treated in the office.
Patients who are in good health, are nonsmokers and have reasonable expectations make good candidate for this procedure. The patient satisfaction rates reported in published studies in the range of 96-98% are quite common in everyday practice. Patients who pursue reduction mammoplasty often comment that they “wish that they had done it sooner” as a result of the dramatic improvement in symptoms, appearance andbody image.