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8 Things to Know Before Having Breast Reduction Surgery

A breast reduction is a common procedure for women who want to reduce the weight of their breasts, ease discomfort and achieve a breast size proportionate to their body.

Many women with larger breasts suffer from back and shoulder pain whilst feeling self- conscious about their size.

If you are considering breast reduction surgery, here are 8 things to know before having surgery.

April 29th, 2024 |Ask an Expert

1. The surgery itself is fairly quick

A breast reduction is performed under general anaesthetic and the procedure involves complex surgical techniques which typically takes between 1.5-3 hours.  As it is a complex surgical procedure, patients will be required to stay in a MYA hospital overnight and be monitored by our nurses after breast reduction surgery.   

2. You can decide your post-op breast size

Throughout the consultation process, patients are able to share their expectations and discuss with the surgeon what breast size is right for them. Allowing them to choose their final size and get a sense of how much volume and weight is going to be removed.

3. Breast reductions include a breast lift 

While performing a breast reduction, the specialist surgeon reshapes the breasts by removing fat, breast tissue and excess skin (from one or both breasts) and repositions the nipple to create a more uplifted, symmetrical shape.

4. Physical recovery takes about two to eight weeks

Every woman’s breast reduction recovery time is different, and each breast can heal at different rates - typically, patients take 6-8 weeks to heal from surgery. During the first few weeks, your breasts may feel tender and your incisions may feel itchy, but pain relief will be prescribed as required to ease any discomfort. Any bruising or swelling to the breasts and chest should subside after 7-21 days.

Patients are advised to take 7-14 days off work following breast reduction surgery. If a patient’s job is more physically demanding, they may be required to take additional time off work for recovery.

Patients must attend all their post-op appointments at their MYA clinical hub for a nurse to monitor and deliver wound care. Healing will evolve over several months, but it can take up to 1 year post-op to see the final result.

5. You will have scars

Due to the way a breast reduction is performed, scarring is inevitable. However, most of the scarring will sit beneath the nipple and so shouldn’t be too visible once healed and the swelling has gone down.

The most common type of scarring is anchor scarring – a T-shaped scar which goes around the areola, down, and curves under the crease of the breast.

6. People rarely regret breast reduction surgery

Breast reduction surgery is a very common procedure with one of the highest patient satisfaction rates. There are a lot of health problems that come with larger and these are typically alleviated after the surgery, leaving patients very grateful. Popular issues that are solved through surgery are pain, physical ability, irritation, clothing and underwear options and self-esteem.

"I have had an amazing experience with MYA from day one. I booked into to have breast reduction. They checked into to make sure I was ok after my surgery. Answered any questions I had. I am so happy with the results so far. The nurse in clinic is so lovely and reassuring." Jess, Breast Reduction Patient

7. Only get surgery when you are ready - mentally emotionally, and physically

The decision to have cosmetic surgery should not be taken lightly and should be something that a patient is 100% ready to do. Everyone feels emotionally and mentally “ready” at different times, but there are some physical requirements for surgery. 

Prior to undergoing any type of surgery, screening procedures will be undertaken to assess a patients suitability for surgery. Patients must also attend a consultation with one of our specialist surgeons. At this consultation the surgeon will carry out a physical assessment and make medical recommendations regarding the patient’s suitability for the procedure and discuss options. To qualify for a breast reduction a patient’s BMI must be over 16 and under 34 and their medical history must be approved by MYA to ensure they are fit for surgery.

8. You will need to make pre- and post-op lifestyle changes

If you are considering breast reduction surgery, prepare to make some lifestyle changes. Surgeons recommend that a patient is at their ideal weight before having the procedure, as sudden fluctuations in weight following a breast reduction could affect their final aesthetic result. If you are planning or in the process of losing weight, it is recommended you get to your goal weight before proceeding with surgery and sticking to it after.

You will also need to limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking, at least temporarily. Both smoking and drinking alcohol can cause complications, and can have a serious impact on the final results and the way you heal. You will be given a nicotine test on the day of your surgery. And, if it’s positive, you will be turned away from your procedure.

We don’t want anyone to waste their time and money, which is why it’s vital you stop smoking, vaping and taking any nicotine replacements like gum and patches, at least 4 weeks prior to your surgery date.

MYA advise not to drink alcohol for a minimum 48 hours before your surgery, unless you drink more than 2-3 drinks daily. If this is the case, you need to abstain for 2 weeks prior. This may vary given your chosen surgeon, procedure or medical history.

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