Why some women choose to have breast reduction surgery

Written by: Mr Maisam Fazel
Published: | Updated: 29/11/2019
Edited by: Bronwen Griffiths

Breast reduction surgery is a common procedure, carried out not only for aesthetic results, but often for relieving certain problems, such as back ache and shoulder pain. Mr Maisam Fazel, an experienced aesthetic surgeon who has carried out many breast reductions, explains this procedure in detail.


Why do some women want breast reduction surgery?

Some women with larger breasts can, as a result, experience a number of problems, including back and shoulder pain, problems finding clothes that fit properly, headaches and unwanted attention. Of these problems, backache is very common, and often the main driving factor for women choosing to have breast reduction surgery (reduction mammoplasty).

Having larger breasts can result in back pain because the extra weight puts pressure on the nerves in your back between your shoulder blades and the thoracic area. Such pressure can cause neck, back and shoulder strain, and can even cause arm numbness in some cases. This pressure, over time, can lead to poor posture, skeletal deformity and sometimes shortness of breath. It is often remarkable how much one’s posture improves after a breast reduction.

What does breast reduction surgery involve?

During this procedure, a general anaesthetic is required and an incision is made around the nipple and down the breast along the crease. This type of incision is called an anchor incision. Alternatively, two circular incisions can be made around the nipple. The type of incision made will depend on how much of a reduction is being made.

Surgery generally takes between one and three hours. After the incisions are made, glandular tissue and fat are removed and the skin is then tightened. The result from breast reduction surgery is smaller, lighter and lifted breasts that are in proportion to your frame.

Right after surgery, patients will feel groggy whilst the anaesthesia wears off, with some tenderness. Most patients feel well enough to return to normal activities after two weeks.

Is there a minimum age for having breast reduction surgery?

Whilst there is no strict lower age limit for having breast reduction surgery, the patient’s breasts need to have reached their full size. Patients also need to have the emotional maturity to make such a big decision. This is something that the surgeon and patient will discuss together.

Are there any risks?

Any surgery carries risks, and when you meet your surgeon they will go through these with you in detail. One of the consequences of having breast reduction surgery includes the possibility of not being able to breastfeed later in life. This is because during the procedure, the nipples are separated from the milk ducts.

Sometimes there can be a loss of sensation in the nipples if the nerves are damaged during surgery. Often sensation returns within a matter of months, however, sometimes this can be permanent.


If you are considering breast reduction surgery, make an appointment with a specialist.

By Mr Maisam Fazel

Mr Maisam Fazel is a consultant aesthetic, oncoplastic and reconstructive surgeon based at several prominent clinics in London and the Home Counties. He has a unique background in plastic and breast surgery, with a clinical interest in cosmetic surgery, breast reconstruction and breast cancer.

Mr Fazel trained at several leading teaching hospitals in London, Paris, and Milan, and completed several fellowships in both the UK and US, including the prestigious Royal College of Surgeons Cosmetic Fellowship, gaining considerable experience in a variety of cosmetic procedures, and working with some of the top plastic surgeons in the UK. 

Mr Fazel is a leading expert in gynaecomastia surgery having pioneered innovative techniques in this area. He is also well known for his work in post pregnancy body reshaping (mummy makeovers), VASER liposuction, PLEXR soft surgery and variety of oncoplastic techniques used during breast cancer surgery.

Mr Fazel has published widely in his field, with publications in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery to his name, and has regularly presented his work both nationally and internationally. He is also actively involved in breast reconstruction research and has been part of the faculty of the Royal College of Surgeons. He is frequently invited to lecture internationally and is also involved in medical charities in the developing world.

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