Breast Reduction for Women

What Is Breast Reduction Surgery?

Breast reduction, or a reduction mammoplasty, is a procedure wherein fat, skin, and glandular tissue are removed from the breasts. The result of this is smaller, more comfortable breasts. Excessively large and heavy breasts can undermine your confidence and cause health problems that affect your quality of life. Relief is possible at West End Plastic Surgery in Washington, D.C. through breast reduction surgery. Our surgeons are highly trained with significant experience in cosmetic breast surgery, including breast reduction.

Breast Reduction | West End Plastic Surgery

Benefits Of Breast Reduction Surgery

In this surgical procedure, excess breast tissue, fat, and skin are removed from very large, heavy, or hanging breasts. Benefits of receiving a reduction mammoplasty include:

  • Reducing or eliminating various medical problems caused by heavy breasts
  • Balancing the overall figure with a more proportioned breast size
  • Increasing your confidence by enhancing your breast appearance

Be sure to ask your doctor about what will personally benefit you from this procedure. The best way to ensure being happy with your results is to have realistic expectations.

Good Candidates For A Breast Reduction

If you are in good general health with fully developed breasts and experience any of the following conditions, you may be a good candidate for breast reduction surgery:

  • Your heavy breasts cause medical problems such as neck and back pain, skin irritation or rashes, difficulty breathing at times, or changes in your bone structure
  • Your breast size limits your physical activity
  • Your overly large breasts make you feel self-conscious about your appearance
  • Your breasts are out of proportion with the rest of your body

Also keep in mind that you must not be breastfeeding or intend to breastfeed in the future in order to undergo breast reduction. For women who don’t plan to have more children, breast reduction may be combined with a tummy tuck and other procedures as part of a Mommy Makeover.

What Are Contraindications to Breast Reduction Surgery?

Like any other type of surgery, certain underlying health conditions may prevent a patient from being eligible for a breast reduction. These conditions can include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune diseases that affect wound healing abilities
  • Heart or circulatory disorders
  • Undiagnosed lumps or masses in the breasts
  • Irregular mammograms

Breast Reduction Before And After Photos

We’re as thrilled with our patients’ results as they are. Check out our before-and-after photo gallery and see for yourself the kind of work our talented surgeons do.

Your Reduction Mammaplasty Consultation

Prior to your surgery, you will have an initial consultation with your surgeon and the staff of West End Plastic Surgery. At this consultation, your breasts will be evaluated and you will discuss your goals and expectations for the surgery. We will discuss how large and which shape you would like your breasts to be, as well as the position of the nipple and areola.

Our surgeon and their team will:

  • Review the various reduction mammoplasty options with you
  • Clearly discuss the potential risks of the procedure
  • Outline in detail how the surgery is performed and what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure
  • Provide detailed cost, payment, and insurance (if applicable) information
  • Answer all your questions

You will be asked to provide:

  • Details about your medical history
  • A list of all medications you currently take including over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, vitamins, and herbal supplements
  • Information regarding your tobacco and alcohol use

Before the surgery, you will need to have a mammogram performed and you may be asked to donate blood so that your own blood can be used during surgery if a transfusion is needed.

Breast Reduction Procedure

Your breast reduction procedure is performed in our state-of-the-art surgical suite or at one of the area hospitals where Dr. Ruff and our surgeons operate.

Your surgeon and their staff are dedicated to ensuring your complete comfort during and after the procedure, as well as your satisfaction with the outcome. The procedure generally takes 2 to 4 hours and is performed under general anesthesia.

Your surgeon will make incisions in the nipple-areola complex (the dark area around the nipple). The incisions extend below the nipples and occasionally into the fold under your breast. The surgeon removes excess breast tissue, fat, and skin, contours a new breast shape, and repositions the nipple and areola. Stitches are used to close the incisions. Drains are frequently put in place to drain any blood or fluid that may collect in the surgical area. Taping and a surgical bra are placed over your breasts before you leave the operating suite.

Dr. Lauren Patrick & Dr. Catherine Hannan performing a Breast Reduction procedure:

What To Expect Immediately After Breast Reduction Surgery

In most cases, you will be ready to go home shortly after the procedure. You will need to have someone drive you home after the surgery because you may be a bit sleepy after the anesthesia.

During surgery, your breasts will be covered with a gauze dressing, and a surgical bra will be placed over the dressings to help hold your newly contoured breasts in the correct position. A small tube called a drain may be inserted into each breast to help drain off excess fluid; you will be given instructions on how to care for the drains.

woman's chest with a medical bandage

What To Expect 1-2 Days Post Reduction Mammaplasty Surgery

During the first 24 to 48 hours after your procedure, you will feel tired from the anesthesia and sore from the surgery. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to alleviate much of the discomfort. Your discomfort level will improve rapidly after the first 2 days.

You can take a shower or bath the day after your surgery; however, don’t let the bandages covering your incisions get overly wet. You can take off the surgical bra placed over your breasts after the surgery during your shower or bath, but it must be worn at all other times (even while sleeping) for the first 2 weeks after your surgery.


What To Expect The First Two Weeks After The Reduction Mammaplasty Procedure

  • You will notice a marked improvement in your discomfort level during the first few weeks after your surgery.
  • The gauze dressings placed over your breasts during surgery will be removed 1 to 2 days after surgery.
  • Most of the stitches will dissolve; any non-dissolving stitches around the areola will be removed 5 to 7 days after surgery. Remaining stitches will be removed within 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Any bruising you experience will usually disappear in about 2 weeks.
  • Your stitches will be removed within 10 to 20 days after surgery.

You should sleep on your back for the first week after surgery to help keep your breasts in the correct position during initial healing. Placing pillows on either side of your body often helps ensure that you do not roll onto your side while sleeping.

During the first 2 weeks after surgery, you should also:

  • Wear the surgical bra placed over your breasts after surgery at all times, even while sleeping, to help hold your breasts in the correct position. You may take the elastic bra off to shower or bathe but must put it back on immediately after drying off. If the bra is too tight, call the staff at West End Plastic Surgery immediately — bras that are too tight can cause skin problems.
  • Avoid heavy lifting and straining for at least a month.
  • Use moisturizer several times a day if you have very dry skin after your procedure.

How Long Will The Breast Reduction Results Last?

The results of your breast reduction are permanent. However, keep in mind that your breasts may change as a normal part of the aging process.

Dr. Lauren Patrick performing a Breast Reduction procedure:

Resuming Normal Activities After Breast Reduction

Everyone heals at different rates, and you are the best judge of when you are ready for certain activities, but the following are general guidelines:

  • You can most likely return to work or school within a week after your procedure, unless your work is strenuous.
  • You can resume driving as soon as you experience no pain when you turn the steering wheel, usually within a week for cars with power steering and a little longer for manual steering.
  • Two weeks after surgery, you can begin to sleep without the special elastic bra you’ve been wearing. However, you should continue to wear this bra during the day for 4 to 6 weeks after your surgery.
  • When you begin to wear your own bras again, you will probably be more comfortable wearing a bra without underwire support until your incisions are fully healed.
Breast Reduction Surgery | West End Plastic Surgery
  • You should not go without a bra, except while sleeping, for 4 to 6 weeks following your surgery. At your follow-up appointment, the doctor will let you know when you can begin to go without a bra.
  • Strenuous exercise can begin about 4 weeks after surgery. Our patients are encouraged to plan an exercise program and discuss it with the staff prior to resuming exercise.
  • The scars on your breasts should be protected from sunlight for at least a year after surgery.

Things To Be Aware Of After Breast Reduction Surgery

  • You may feel tired for several weeks after your surgery. Listen to your body, and rest when you need to.
  • You may see a small amount of fluid draining from your surgical incisions. Some crusting in the area is also normal. However, if you have bleeding that does not respond to 20 minutes of direct pressure or you have intense pain, call West End Plastic Surgery staff right away.
  • You will lose some feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by swelling after surgery. This usually fades within 6 to 8 weeks but can take up to a year.
  • Your breasts may heal at different rates. One breast may swell, one may feel less comfortable, or the shapes of your breasts may look different. This is normal, however, when your body is fully recovered, your breasts will look very similar and natural.
  • The skin of your breasts may appear shiny due to swelling. Within a few weeks, the swelling will disappear and the skin will return to a normal appearance.
  • You may experience random shooting pains in your breasts for a few months. These are a normal part of the healing process.
  • During your first menstrual period after surgery, your breasts may swell and hurt.

Risks of Breast Reduction Surgery

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with breast reduction. During your initial meeting with the doctor, these risks will be discussed and it will be determined whether you are a good candidate for breast reduction.

Most likely risks include the following:

  • Loss of nipple-areola complex
  • Sensation changes
  • Scars
  • Uneven breasts
  • Breastfeeding limitations
  • Breast hardness

As with any surgery, you can help reduce the risks of the procedure by closely following the instructions provided. Dr. Ruff and the staff of West End Plastic Surgery will be with you every step of the way to ensure that your procedure is a success.

Will Insurance Cover My Breast Reduction?

Most health insurance companies will not cover the costs of a cosmetic breast reduction. However, if a breast reduction is deemed medically necessary, patients may find that their health insurance will cover part or all of their procedure. We recommend getting in touch with your healthcare provider to find out. Additionally, West End Plastic Surgery is happy to work with patients who may need customized payment plans for their procedures.

Can Liposuction Be Used for Breast Reduction?

Liposuction, otherwise known as lipo, is a fat removal procedure used in plastic surgery to remove excess fat cells from the body. Liposuction can be used in breast reduction procedures to remove additional fatty tissue from the breast area.

What Do I Wear After Breast Reduction Surgery?

Wearing the proper clothing after your breast reduction is essential to a successful, complication-free recovery. After your procedure, you will need to wear a compression garment or compression bra to lower the likelihood of bruising and excessive swelling that could impact sutures. . Wear loose-fitting clothing that is easy to put on, and avoid any garments that require you to raise your arms high above your head for the first 14 days after surgery. After four to six weeks, patients can switch from their compression bra to a sports bra.

Myths and Misconceptions of Breast Reduction

Despite being a common procedure, there are many myths and misconceptions about breast reduction surgery. These can include untrue statements like the following:

Your breasts can grow back after a breast reduction. Although changes in weight, hormonal fluctuations, and pregnancy can alter the appearance of your breasts, it is not true that your breasts can “grow back” after a breast reduction, as the breast tissue and fat that was removed in surgery cannot grow back. To maintain their breast size, we recommend that patients stick to a healthy diet and exercise routine that allows them to maintain a stable weight for at least six months.

You can’t breastfeed after a breast reduction. While some milk ducts and tissues in the breast area are removed during the breast reduction procedure, not all of them are. There is a risk that patients may not be able to breastfeed post-surgery. However, many women are still able to breastfeed without experiencing any problems after surgery.

You can’t have a second breast reduction procedure. Many people believe that once you have had a breast procedure, you can’t have another one. However, plastic surgery is meant to be customizable to each patient. If you are unhappy with your results or have experienced body changes such as weight gain or pregnancy, you are still able to have a second breast reduction to achieve the results you want.

Schedule a Consultation

If you or someone you know is interested in breast reduction, it’s time to contact the highly experienced surgical team at West End Plastic Surgery. Serving the Arlington and Reston areas in addition to Washington, D.C., we invite you to request an online consultation or call our office at 202-785-4187 to schedule a consultation.

Request an Appointment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

* All indicated fields must be completed.
Please include non-medical questions and correspondence only.

Located in Washington, D.C.

Monday: 8am-5pm
Tuesday: 8am-7pm
Wednesday: 8am-5pm
Thursday: 8am-7pm
Friday: 8am-6pm
Saturday: 9am-5pm
Sunday: Closed

Accessibility Toolbar

west end art event
Scroll to Top