Things to consider before having breast reduction surgery

Written by: Miss Sujatha Tadiparthi
Published: | Updated: 03/11/2020
Edited by: Robert Smith

The thought of potential risks of breast reduction surgery can be scary! However, if you approach the right surgeon, you can minimise these risks as much as possible and ensure that you are well informed regarding the procedure. In this latest article, expert plastic surgeon Miss Sujatha Tadiparthi explains the things to consider before having a reduction mammaplasty.

girl standing in a field

In the first part of our discussion with Miss Tadiparthi, she explained how a breast reduction can be beneficial, how it can improve asymmetric breasts and the requirements for surgery.

In the second part, Miss Tadiparthi went on to explain how breast reduction surgery is done, how much scarring the procedure leaves, the aftercare, risks and the potential price of the procedure. Here is the second part of our discussion.

How is breast reduction surgery done?

The operation takes approximately three to four hours, it is carried out under a general anaesthetic and usually requires an overnight hospital stay. During the procedure, the existing nipple area is kept alive on a block of tissue called the ‘pedicle’. The skin overlying the pedicle is removed, leaving just breast tissue and fat. The excess breast tissue around the ‘pedicle’ is removed. The resected tissue from each breast is weighed to allow comparison of the tissue removed from each side and can be sent for analysis if required or there is family history of breast cancer. The remaining breast tissue is then brought together and the nipple area is secured into its new, higher position.


What scarring does a breast reduction leave?

The scars will depend on the technique used for the breast reduction. There are two main techniques: the ‘Wise pattern’ is the most commonly used and this leaves ‘anchor’ shaped scar with a scar around the nipple area, a vertical scar from the nipple area down to the breast fold and a long horizontal scar in the breast fold which is mostly not visible. A ‘vertical pattern’ breast reduction leaves ‘lollipop’ type scarring which is similar but has either a small or no horizontal scar in the breast fold.

How much breast tissue can be removed and can you predict what bra size I will be after breast reduction surgery?

There is no real limit on how much tissue can be removed. The risks are greater with larger breast reductions where greater sections of tissue are removed and there is a longer pedicle keeping the nipple area alive.

Bra sizes vary with individual brands and a definitive cup size after surgery cannot be guaranteed. It is best to have a discussion with your surgeon at your consultation to make sure they are aware of your size preference. The breasts are reduced to be natural and in proportion to your body but if you prefer, they can be made smaller or kept larger.


What is the difference between a breast reduction and a breast uplift?

In an uplift (mastopexy), either no or only a very small amount of breast tissue is removed and the main aim is to raise the position of the nipples and reshape the breasts. Whereas in a breast reduction, reducing the size of the breasts is the main aim and larger sections of breast tissue are removed.

Will I be able to breastfeed after a breast reduction?

You will not be able to breastfeed after a breast reduction as the majority of breast ducts will be cut during the surgery whilst relocating the nipples and removing sections of the breast tissue. If you wish to breastfeed, it is best to postpone your surgery until you have completed your family.

What is the recovery following a breast reduction? When will I be able to return to work, exercise, swim and wear an underwired bra?

You would not be able to drive for 2 weeks. Return to work should be possible by 2 weeks with most occupations, although you should be able to work from home after a few days. Swimming, strenuous exercise or heavy lifting should be avoided for approximately 6 weeks after the surgery. An under-wired bra can be worn after 6 weeks but you may find it more comfortable to wear a non-wired or sports bra for the first 3 months after surgery.

What are the risks and complications of breast reduction surgery?

The vast majority of breast reduction patients heal well and have an uneventful recovery. However, every surgical procedure has the potential for complications and these should be carefully considered before going ahead with surgery. The main risks include permanent scarring, poor scarring (stretched or lumpy), infection, bleeding with blood clot forming within in the breast, poor healing, fat necrosis (poor blood supply to the tissues leads to formation of a hard lump), asymmetry, altered sensation and rarely, there is loss of areas of the skin or all or part of the nipple and need for revisional surgery.

How much does a breast reduction cost?

In the UK, the cost of a breast reduction starts from £6,500.00 and can vary depending on the size of the reduction, whether any liposuction is also performed, and if done as a day case etc.

For more details on breast reduction surgery, read part 1 of this article on breast reduction surgery. You may like to consult with a leading plastic surgeon such as Miss Sujatha Tadiparthi. Visit her Top Doctors profile today for further information.

By Miss Sujatha Tadiparthi
Plastic surgery

Miss Tadiparthi's personal website can be found here

Miss Sujatha Tadiparthi is a UK educated and trained, fully accredited plastic surgeon who has over 15 years of experience in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery. Based in Surrey, Kent, and Central London, Miss Tadiparthi specialises in breast reduction and augmentation, breast uplift (mastopexy), skin surgery (moles, skin tags, cysts, lypomas) and post-weight loss  and body contouring surgery, including tummy tuck, arm lift, thigh lift, lower body lift, and liposuction

Miss Tadiparthi graduated from Cardiff medical school in 2002. By 2008, she completed her basic surgical training and undertook additional surgical research. Miss Tadiparthi then completed her basic surgical training and undertook additional surgical research. Miss Tadiparthi then completed her specialist plastic surgery training in the UK and passed the plastic surgery examination by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FRCS plas) in 2013. Following this, she gained further specialised training in breast surgery, breast and limb reconstruction and microsurgery.

A prestigious cosmetic fellowship at the London Wellington Hospital allowed her to work with some leading cosmetic surgeons in London and gain a wide breadth of training in cosmetic surgery including breast, facial and body contouring procedures. After gaining a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in the UK, she was entered into the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) specialist register for plastic surgery in 2014.

Miss Tadiparthi’s extensive specialist plastic surgery training in the UK has allowed her to gain considerable experience in both cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgical techniques and she often combines these two complimentary fields to get the best possible outcome for her patients.

Miss Tadiparthi is one of the few female plastic surgeons offering private plastic and cosmetic surgery in London, Surrey, and Kent. Having a warm and friendly nature, patients often feel very comfortable in her presence and feel free to share their concerns and needs with her. At the consultation, she will spend time to go through your concerns and advise if surgery is appropriate and what surgical or non-surgical options are available to you. The procedures offered are individualised and tailored to suit your particular needs and expectations.

As a full member of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), she endeavours to provide the safest and best possible care to her patients.

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