When you hear about breast surgery, you might think first of plastic surgery that helps to improve or enlarge the appearance of the breast. However, some women actually need breast reduction surgery. Breasts that are too large can cause significant problems for some women, and breast reduction can help to improve their quality of life. Breast reduction may be right for you if you are experiencing discomfort.

If you are considering a breast reduction, you might wonder if it is the right step. Learn about the procedure, the recovery process, and how it can affect both the function and appearance of the breast to help you know if breast reduction is an option for you. There are many types of pain that can come along side having large breasts.

When Is Reduction Surgery a Good Idea?

Your first thought is whether or not breast reduction surgery is a good idea if you do have larger breasts. With supportive undergarments and some lifestyle adjustments, you might feel that surgery is unnecessary. In some cases, undergarments and lifestyle changes don’t provide pain relief and don’t align with the lifestyle you’ve envisioned. Many Tennessee women are active and don’t want to be hindered with pain symptoms or their current pain management isn’t working. You should consider breast reduction if:

  • You experience persistent pain. Women with overly large breasts can experience a great deal of daily discomfort. You might have welts on your shoulder from the weight of the breast pulling down on your bra. You might have back pain and trouble maintaining good posture. Neck pain and lumbar spine strain are a bother every day.
  • You have a difficult time finding bras and clothing. When finding clothes is challenging simply because your breasts are not proportional to your body size, a breast reduction is a good idea. Women who have small frames especially find their chest size to be prohibitive to finding normal clothing.
  • You cannot maintain healthy activity levels. Exercise is an important part of staying healthy as you age. With large breast, working out can be challenge; it might even be painful.
  • You experience social challenges. Unfortunately, some teens and young adults in TN might endure bullying or teasing, as well as unwanted attention from strangers, because of breast size.

If you are unhappy with your breast size for any of the above reasons, consider meeting with a surgeon to discuss the possibility of surgery. If living with large breasts causes chronic pain and significantly reduces your mobility, insurance may cover some of the cost as a necessary surgery. However, you’ll have to provide proof of a medical history that shows you have tried many other treatments for relief.

What Is the Surgical Procedure Like?

One of the reasons why people avoid surgery is because they worry about the procedure itself. All surgery brings some risk, but a skilled health care surgeon can remove tissue and fat from the breast and leave minimal scarring. Your surgeon can determine if breast reduction is right for you based on your current health and needs.

The scars from surgery are well placed so that they are not readily visible. Sometimes, they can be hidden under the breast, or the scars may be placed around the areola to make them less noticeable. During surgery, the physician opens up the breast and removes tissue in a symmetrical, methodical pattern to help the breast retain a natural shape post-operation.

The surgeon will also remove some skin since you will not need as much skin to cover a smaller breast. Depending on your breast shape, the surgeon may want to move the areola and nipple higher to maintain a natural look to the breast.

Breast reduction surgery is done under general anesthesia. The results from the surgery are immediate; you will have some swelling, but your breasts will be smaller as soon as the procedure is complete.

What Can You Expect After Surgery?

Your surgeon will want to make sure you don’t have any post-operative complications from the surgery. However, you will not need to stay in the hospital for very long; you should be able to go home that same day. Once you are home, you will need to care for the incisions until they are healed. The medications your surgeon prescribes will help prevent infection.

Breast reduction risk factors include:

  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Bleeding and blot clots
  • Changes to nipple sensations
  • Breast shape irregularities


You will not wear a bra right away. Instead, you might wear a simple, supportive cloth band that helps to keep wrappings and bandages in place while allowing your breasts to heal. After your surgeon does a follow-up visit to check you are healing properly, you can start to get fitted for smaller undergarments and clothing.

How Will Your Life Change?

You can experience the physical relief of breast reduction as soon as your procedure is complete. After surgery, you might notice:

  • Better sleep. People with large breasts can sometimes find it more challenging to sleep in any position. Side sleeping drags the heavy breast down, back sleeping causes the tissue to spread, making it harder to breathe, and stomach sleeping is challenging because the breasts are uncomfortable to lie on.
  • Reduced back pain. With the weight of the breasts reduced, your back muscles get a break from trying to provide support. Less weight equals reduced pain.
  • Increased self-esteem. Many women are self-conscious about having large breasts, and they can have reduced confidence, especially if they have been teased or bullied about their body in the past.
  • Easier exercise. You might be able to get into running, dancing, or other exercises that you could not enjoy before.

You should be aware, however, that breast tissue will still change over time. Your breasts might get larger during pregnancy if you choose to have children. Your skin and tissue can still stretch during exercise or as you age. These changes are normal whether or not you have breast surgery. Take natural changes into account when speaking with your surgeon about desired outcomes.

For more information, contact us at The Surgical Clinic to find out if breast reduction is right for you. With multiple offices in Tennessee, our board certified plastic surgeons can help you reduce pain and feel better about your body.

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