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What is a breast reduction?

The procedure can relieve physical symptoms such as breast discomfort, neck ache, backache, shoulder pain, skin irritations under the breast fold, painful pressure from bra straps and difficulties and discomfort during exercise.

What happens during breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction is performed under a general anaesthetic. It can take between one-and-a-half to three hours.

There are several different surgical procedures for breast reduction. Excess skin and fat is removed. Your breasts are reshaped and the nipples are repositioned. All procedures result in a scar around the areola (dark area around the nipple) and each method results in additional scarring. Your surgeon will discuss each procedure with you and together you will decide which is best in your particular case. Breast reduction can also be used to correct asymmetry (imbalance) of your breasts.

Going home after breast reduction surgery

Patients are usually required to stay in hospital one to two nights. You will have dressings on your breasts and there may be drains (plastic tubes). The drains are usually removed before you leave hospital.

You will be given post-operative pain killers and instructions regarding your dressings and any stitches you may have.

Most patients are mobile from day one and return to normal activities within six weeks. However everyone heals differently. Be sure and discuss your return to work with your surgeon.

The results of breast reduction improve gradually over time. Your breasts should become softer and more natural as the healing continues.

This chart is a guide to stages of recovery only. Everyone heals differently so your results may vary.
 
Day 1-7
Week 2
4 – 6 Weeks
6-9 months

You may have some discomfort for a week. Mild painkillers will help with this but avoid taking aspirin.


Keep walking around to avoid post-operative complications.

Sports bra worn day and night for about 3 weeks.

Might pull and hurt a little when you move around.


Any non-dissolvable stitches will be removed.

Gradually begin to increase your activity.

Depending on your job, should be able to return to work from 2 weeks.

Drive only when you feel safe to do so.

Avoid lifting or pushing anything heavy for at least four weeks.


No need to wear a bra during the night but keep one on during the day.

Loss of sensation to breast and nipple area continues to improve.

Scars will begin to soften and fade.


You can begin to judge the final result.

Every surgical procedure has a risk of complications. Be sure and discuss any concerns you might have about these risks with your surgeon.

Specific complications following breast reduction:

  • Developing a lump or swelling inside the breast
  • Numbness or persistent pain on the outer part of the breast
  • Loss of skin, including the areola and nipple
  • Stiff shoulder
  • Change of breast and nipple sensation
  • Uneven shape: Your breasts will change shape after reduction surgery. There is a chance that they may end up slightly lopsided, lumpy or with uneven nipples
  • Reduced ability to breastfeed


Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment
Bournemouth  

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
Overall rating View rating
Brentwood  

Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good
Bristol  

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good
Cambridge  

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370 922
Overall rating Outstanding
Cardiff and Vale  

Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavey Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN

02920 836700
Cheltenham  

Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51 6SY

01242 246 552
Overall rating Good
Chester  

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good
Chichester  

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good
Derby  

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good
Exeter  

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 276 591
Overall rating Good
Glasgow  

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ

01413349441
Guildford  

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555 800
Overall rating Good
Hereford  

Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF

01432 355 131
Overall rating Good
Ipswich  

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good
Leeds  

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
Overall rating Outstanding
Leicester  

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 276 9401
Overall rating Good
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good
Oxford  

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good
Plymouth  

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775861
Overall rating View rating
Shrewsbury  

Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282628
Overall rating Good
Taunton  

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286991
Overall rating Good
Tees  

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 367439
Overall rating Outstanding
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
Overall rating Good
Warwickshire  

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 427971
Overall rating Good
Wessex  

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good
Woking  

Shores Road, Woking, GU21 4BY

Switchboard 01483 227800
Overall rating Good
Wolverhampton  

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 793 269
Overall rating Good
York  

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715000
Overall rating Good

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