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Breast Reduction

A breast reduction is a cosmetic operation to make your breasts smaller, and sometimes to improve their shape.

Is it suitable for me?

Your surgeon will assess you and let you know if a breast reduction is suitable for you.
You are most likely to benefit from a breast reduction if one or more of the following conditions apply to you:

  • You are self-conscious about the size of your breasts
  • Your back and neck ache because of the weight of your breasts
  • You are getting grooves in your shoulders from your bra straps
  • You are finding it difficult to stand or sit up in a good position (bad posture)

Your surgeon will carry out a detailed assessment before deciding if surgery is suitable for you. This may include taking photos for your medical records.

Your surgeon will examine your breasts and ask you questions about your medical history.If you are planning to lose a lot of weight it may be better to lose the weight first before having surgery. You may be able to reduce the size of your breasts by as much as one cup size by losing weight.

You should let your surgeon know if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant in the future. Pregnancy can change the size and shape of your breasts and may affect the long-term results of surgery.

What can I expect?

If the operation is successful, your breasts should be smaller and have a better shape. Most women who have a successful breast reduction are more comfortable with their appearance, are able to wear more revealing clothing and their personal relationships can improve.

What about sizes?

It is usually difficult to reduce a breast to less than a C cup. Any smaller and there is a risk of getting badly-shaped breasts and noticeable differences between your breasts.
Most women who need a breast reduction are used to a large bust size and look more natural with at least a C cup.

What does surgery involve?

The operation can be performed under local or general anaesthetic and usually takes about an hour and a half.

Your surgeon will make a cut on the line of the areola (the dark area around the nipple) and a vertical cut underneath your areola.

They will remove some of the breast tissue, excess fat and skin. Your surgeon will reshape your breast and lift your nipple so it is in a higher position.

If your breasts are bigger, your surgeon may also need to make a cut in the crease under the breast (inframammary fold). This will leave an anchor-shaped scar.
If your breasts are large or droopy, your surgeon may need to reposition your nipple and areola at a higher position.

Small tubes (drains) will usually be placed in the cuts to help the wounds to heal. They will usually close the cuts with dissolvable stitches, leaving the drains in place. The breasts will then be wrapped in bandages for support.

What happens after surgery?

After the operation you will be transferred to the recovery area. Your breasts will look discoloured and feel firm and swollen. You should be able to go home on the same day, and a responsible adult should take you home in a car or taxi, and stay with you for at least 24 hours.

What is the recovery time?

Most women return to normal activities within two to three weeks. The bandages can be removed after a few days as long as you have a soft bra that fits comfortably. You should wear a sports bra for 4-6 weeks. You should be able to return to work after the first week, depending on your type of job. For the first three weeks after the operation, do not lift anything heavy or do strenuous housework, like vacuuming or ironing. You should be gentle with your breasts for at least another month.You will have follow up appointments with your surgeon to check your progress – it usually takes a few weeks for the breasts to look and feel more natural.

The future

If you put on a lot of weight or get pregnant your breasts may get bigger. However, they should not get as big as they were before the operation. A breast reduction should not interfere with a mammogram but let your doctor know that you have had a breast reduction.

For further information on any surgical procedures or
to book a consultation, please contact us at:

Fitzwilliam Clinic, 70-72 Lisburn Road, Belfast
Tel: 028 9032 3888