Breast reduction surgery: Key considerations

Written by: Mr Aftab Siddiqui
Edited by: Carlota Pano

Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure aimed at reducing the size and weight of breasts. The procedure involves the removal of excess breast tissue, fat, and skin to achieve a breast size more proportionate to the patient's body.


Here, Mr Aftab Siddiqui, renowned consultant plastic and cosmetic surgeon, provides a comprehensive overview of breast reduction surgery, detailing the key benefits, potential risks, and recovery process, to help patients make an informed decision about their health and wellbeing.



Who is an ideal candidate for breast reduction surgery?


Breast reduction surgery isn’t only about aesthetic enhancement but also about alleviating discomfort, enhancing quality of life, and addressing health concerns related to the large size of breasts.


While individual features vary, some characteristics seen in ideal candidates include:

  • Physical discomfort: Patients who experience physical discomfort due to having large breasts, including backache, shoulder or neck pain, skin irritation, rashes, infections underneath the breasts, and shoulder grooves from bra straps, may be ideal candidates for surgery.
  • Emotional wellbeing: Patients who feel emotional distress and social discomfort due to having large breasts, including low self-esteem, depression, or shyness that leads to avoidance of social situations, may discover significant benefits from this procedure, including improved self-confidence.
  • Breast size: Usually, breast surgery isn’t considered until a patient’s breasts have fully developed, except in cases where large breasts cause severe physical issues. While there isn’t a specific minimum size requisite for breast reduction, surgery is typically advised for patients with a C cup size or larger. This recommendation ensures that the operation aligns with the patient's body proportions and personal goals.
  • Activity limitations: Patients seeking breast reduction often report that their breast size limits their physical activity, including refraining from activities like running due to discomfort and struggling to find clothing that accommodates their breasts.
  • Health status: Ideal candidates for breast reduction are typically in good health, with a body mass index (BMI) of below 27.5, and non-smoking. For breast reduction surgery, it’s crucial that patients either quit smoking or have quit for at least three months before the procedure.


For patients considering breast reduction surgery, having realistic expectations regarding the surgery’s results is paramount. While the procedure can greatly alleviate physical discomfort and improve self-image, achieving complete symmetry or an ideal breast shape may not be possible due to each patient's individual anatomical differences.


How should I prepare for breast reduction surgery?


The consultation process before having breast reduction surgery is a critical step where you will discuss your medical history, surgical objectives, and any worries you may have. Be prepared to explore anticipated results, potential risks, and the recovery journey. Your plastic surgeon will also conduct a thorough assessment, examining your breast size, shape, and overall health via laboratory tests and breast imaging to determine your suitability for the procedure.


Adopting certain lifestyle changes before the procedure can help to enhance the healing process. These changes may involve quitting smoking and steering clear of medications that increase bleeding risks. Furthermore, arranging support for household tasks and transportation home post-surgery is also advisable.


Your plastic surgeon will provide detailed pre-operative instructions, emphasising the significance of emotional and mental readiness for the procedure. Choosing a plastic surgeon for your breast reduction surgery who is certified by the Royal College of Surgeons will guarantee a high level of expertise and proficiency. These surgeons have completed rigorous training, including a minimum of six years of surgical training. Moreover, selecting a surgeon listed on the General Medical Council’s specialist register indicates that their training and skills have been accredited by the Intercollegiate Cosmetic Surgery Oversight Committee.


What can I expect after breast reduction surgery?


After breast reduction surgery, you will awaken with dressings on your breasts, usually covered with tape or adhesive for protection. Plastic tubes may be affixed to drain excess blood – these will be removed within one or two days, allowing you to be discharged.


Once home, moderate pain around the breasts and chest, managed with prescribed medications, is typical during the initial week. Drainage from incision lines should diminish over several days, and you are encouraged to rest, maintain a nutritious diet, and stay hydrated. Sleeping positions may need adjustment, with back sleeping recommended for two to three weeks to promote healing.


Sustaining the outcomes of breast reduction surgery necessitates long-term care. Weight fluctuations can notably impact breast size and shape, and thus maintaining a stable weight is recommended to uphold surgical results. The use of supportive garments and bras is essential to avert complications such as bottoming-out. Scarring, a common concern, notably requires diligent care. You are recommended to adhere to scar prevention and management techniques to reduce scar visibility.


Post-operative follow-up appointments will be crucial to ensure proper healing. The frequency of these appointments depends on individual recovery, typically commencing with an initial check within the first week to evaluate pain management and wound healing. Subsequent visits may concentrate on removing skin staples or absorbable sutures and monitoring for potential complications like delayed wound healing or infections. Attending these appointments and fostering open communication with your plastic surgeon is crucial for you to achieve optimal outcomes.


The journey towards breast reduction surgery involves thoughtful consideration and personal reflection. Choosing a qualified surgeon, setting realistic expectations, and understanding the full surgical and recovery journey, emphasises the importance of making an informed decision. Beyond enhancing physical appearance, the goal of surgery is also to enrich quality of life and wellbeing.



If you would like to schedule an appointment with Mr Aftab Siddiqui, head on over to his Top Doctors profile today.

By Mr Aftab Siddiqui
Plastic surgery

Mr Aftab Siddiqui, who practises at the Breast and Body Clinic, is a highly experienced consultant plastic and cosmetic surgeon in Manchester, Chester and Preston, who posseses a special interest in mummy makeover, breast augmentation, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), breast reduction, breast uplift, liposuction, fat transfers, skin cancer surgery, hand surgery and labiaplasty.

Mr Siddiqui qualified in 2000 and has more than 20 years of experience in medicine. He undertook both a clinical fellowship at St Andrew's Centre for Plastic Surgery specialising in plastic and hand surgery and a further research fellowship in hand surgery at Anglia Ruskin University in 2015. He became a specialist in plastic surgery in 2006 and is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (Plastic Surgery). He is a full member of the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (BAPRAS), British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) American Association of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).

He is a recognised expert on perfect breasts and has extensive experience of a wide range of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. He holds a key position within the NHS with plastic surgery in reconstruction and trauma cases, which includes breast cancer, skin cancer, lower limb trauma and hand trauma. Mr Siddiqui is regularly invited to present and speak at conferences across the world. He is also a respected educator, leading lectures for colleagues and medical students at a national level.

Mr Siddiqui has an extensive list of publications that he has contributed to, demonstrating his excellent knowledge in the field of cosmetics and plastic surgery. He is renowned amongst fellow colleagues and his patients for his surgical expertise and excellent patient care. For more information, visit Mr Siddiqui's website:

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