Breast Reduction

Breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty) is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of a woman’s breasts.


The procedure removes breast tissue, and skin from the breasts, making them smaller and firmer.

Women with very large breasts may experience a variety of medical problems. A common complaint is back and neck pain, breathing problems and irritation of the skin under the breasts. Breast reduction will seek to cure some of these symptoms by reducing the size of large breasts. Women with very large breasts may also be extremely self conscious and reducing the size of the breasts will help them in this aspect. In some cases the NHS will pay for the cost of this procedure. Your surgeon or GP will be able to advise you.

The average cost of this procedure in the UK is £4000.


There are many things you can do to have your body in optimum condition before your surgery. Read our Health Booster page to find out.


Breast reduction is usually done as an inpatient procedure in a hospital. The surgery usually takes two to four hours. A hospital stay of two to three days is not unusual. Breast reduction surgery is usually performed under general anaesthesia.

There are several techniques for breast reduction, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision that circles the areola, extends downward, and follows the natural curve of the crease beneath the breast.

Excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin is removed and the surgeon moves the nipple and areola into their new position. Then the skin is brought from both sides of the breast down and around the areola, shaping the new contour of the breast. Liposuction may be used to remove excess fat from the armpit area. In most cases, the nipples remain attached to their blood vessels and nerves.

However, if the breasts are very large or pendulous, the nipples and areolas may have to be completely removed and grafted into a higher position. Unfortunately, this will result in a loss of sensation in the nipple and areola tissue. Stitches are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downward, and along the lower crease of the breast.

In some cases, techniques can be used that eliminate the vertical part of the scar. And occasionally, when only fat needs to be removed, liposuction alone can be used to reduce breast size, leaving minimal scars.


You will be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over gauze dressings. A small tube may be placed in each breast to drain off blood and fluids for the first day or two.

You may feel some pain for the first couple of days, especially when you move around or cough and some discomfort for a week or more. Medication will be prescribed to lessen the pain.

The bandages will be removed a day or two after surgery, though you’ll continue wearing the surgical bra around the clock for several weeks, until the swelling and bruising subside.

Your stitches will be removed in one to three weeks. If your breast skin is very dry following surgery, you can apply a moisturizer several times a day, but be sure to keep the suture area dry.

Your scars will be firm and pink for at least six weeks. Then they may remain the same size for several months, or even appear to widen. After several months, your scars will begin to fade, although they will never disappear completely.

Some women can return to work in about two weeks and others may take as long as four to six weeks depending on the nature of their job.

Please note that this information is offered freely to individuals considering cosmetic surgery. No rights are granted and it is not to be reprinted or copied without the prior written consent of Cosmetic Surgery Net – UK . Beware that although efforts have been made to assure accuracy, many of the issues discussed here are a matter of professional opinion. Consultation with a Qualified Plastic Surgeon should be obtained to answer more detailed questions and advise you based on your personal circumstances.