Those with excess or enlarged breast tissue (macromastia) can face a variety of short- and long- term health issues. A breast reduction, also known as a reduction mammaplasty, is a procedure performed on those with overly large breasts to alleviate any associated problems or discomfort.

What Is Breast Reduction?

This surgical technique removes excess fat, gland, or skin tissue to reduce weight and correct disproportionately large or uneven breasts. 

While often associated with women, male breast reduction, or gynecomastia, is a common surgery eliminating surplus fat and gland tissue to firm and flatten the chest. 

A breast reduction can be performed in a variety of ways, depending on the needs and conditions of the patient. 


The most common methods include:  


This approach involves a vertical incision to remove unwanted fat and glandular tissue, and make the breast more narrow, while restructuring and repositioning the areola. This style is perfect for patients seeking a moderate reduction in size and width, as well as lifting and reshaping contours for a younger, more natural look. 

Inverted T 

Also known as an anchor breast reduction, this popular technique is utilized for patients who need a greater amount of tissue extraction and more significant degree of reshaping. The approach is characterized by its distinctive, upside-down, “T”-shaped incision at the base of the breast. 

This is one of the most common medically necessary breast reduction procedures which may require a longer amount of downtime and recovery. 


This is an ideal solution for those requiring tissue extraction and size reduction without contouring and reshaping. The doctor will make a small incision in a specified area and siphon excess tissue using a small tube and vacuum. This is also a method for patients seeking a smaller, more conservative reduction of only approximately one cup size  


Who Is an Ideal Candidate?

There are myriad reasons people seek breast reduction surgery, from prolonged skin irritation or rashes, impeded physical activities and balance, uncomfortable sleep, or self-consciousness about appearances.

Some of the most common health issues patients with overly large or disproportionate breasts complain of include: neck, shoulder and back pain; shoulder grooves from undergarments; rashes such as intertrigo; numbness; headaches; problems with posture; and difficulties exercising, such as shortness of breath. 

It may not be recommended for those with heart conditions, diabetes, or obesity issues. Ideal candidates include healthy men and women who are non-smokers and unable to achieve desired results through weight loss. 


What Does the Procedure Entail?

In preparation for surgery, your plastic surgeon will consult with you about the best course of action based on medical history, health status, and expected outcome. Your breasts will be measured, and a series of tests performed, including a mammogram, to determine the best approach.

Prior to the procedure, your doctor will advise against smoking and taking medications such as aspirin for a certain amount of time due to their potential impact on blood flow during surgery. 

Breast reductions are typically performed under general anesthesia. The doctor will make an incision and utilize surgical methods to remove excess tissue.

Depending on the specifications of your surgery, the contours of your breasts may be reshaped, lifted to undo sagging, and nipple and areola repositioned for a younger, more symmetrical look. 

After your incisions are closed and the surgery completed, your breasts will be bandaged, and the doctor may apply tubes under your arms to drain blood or fluid during recovery.

You may feel tenderness as well as swelling or bruising for a while, and your doctor may recommend medication for pain and to prevent infection. You’ll also need to limit your physical activities and avoid restrictive clothing such as underwire bras for several weeks following surgery. 

Some scarring may remain, but fade and become less visible over time. Recovery can last up to eight weeks, after which patients will notice reduction in their breasts more proportional to their body. 

Consult your doctor for tips to aid your healing process and after a while you’ll begin to experience physical pain relief as well as enhanced self-confidence from your newfound figure. 


Is Breast Reduction Covered by Health Insurance? 

Insurance providers will often cover breast reductions if they are deemed medically necessary. 

Patients may be required to provide documentation of health factors including photos, relevant medical records, physician approval, and history of chronic health issues stemming from large or disproportionate breasts. 

Some insurance companies set criteria for coverage, including: 

  • A body mass index (BMI) less than 30 or 35
  • The weight and amount of tissue extracted 
  • Whether the procedure was performed to balance a breast cancer surgery


Contact your insurance provider to find out about its coverage and requirements.

Breast reduction surgery is a safe and effective way to achieve visible, lasting results, and working with the right plastic surgeon is essential. 


Long Island patients trust Buglino Plastic Surgery, which offers helpful financing options


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