Joseph A. Mele MD
Plastic Surgery


Breast Reduction for Women

What are the Indications for Breast Reduction?

Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammoplasty)Breast Reduction is performed when the breasts are too large. Male breast enlargement is termed Gynecomastia, and male breast reduction is called Gynecomastia Reduction Surgery.

For women, the term for large breasts is Macromastia or sometimes Gigantomastia. Reduction Mammoplasty, or Reduction Mammaplasty, is the medical term for female breast reduction surgery, but it is usually referred to as simply breast reduction surgery.

There are many reasons why Breast Reduction Surgery is performed. Breast reduction is performed frequently for women with one or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Breast pain - Traction in the upper breast is caused by gravity pulling the breasts' mass downward. Aching within the breast parenchyma, may be caused by compromised circulation and vascular congestion.

  2. Neck pain - Often, lower neck pain is caused by the weight of the breasts twisting the chest forward and compensatory extension of the cervical vertebrae, straining the neck muscles.

  3. Back pain - Normally, upper back pain is from the breasts' torque flexing the thoracic vertebrae forward and straining the paraspinous muscles. Sometimes, the lower back can also be affected.

  4. Shoulder Rutting - Weight on the the bra strap can cause a groove to form between the neck and the shoulder. This rut may remain well after the bra is removed, and become permanent.

  5. Rash beneath the breasts - The moist environment caused by skin on skin under the breasts can lead to a chronic rash, especially in the summer months.

  6. Infections - Rashes or chronic irritation beneath the breasts can lead to infections. Fungal and bacterial infections are both common. Recurrent skin infections can lead to permanent discoloration and scarring beneath the breasts.

  7. Inability to Fit into Clothing - Disproportionate breasts make it difficult to find bras and tops that fit properly. Custom bras and garments may be necessary.

  8. Limitation in Movement - Large breasts get in the way. They also limit activities such as running and sports due to discomfort with motion.

  9. Embarrassment - Breasts which are out of proportion can be a source of embarrassment and undesired attention.

Breast Reduction Before and After Pictures (Reduction Mammoplasty)

Breast Reduction Patient Information from Dr. Joseph A Mele, III, MD, FACS

Breast Reduction Surgery and Breast Development

Breast Reduction Surgery is a cosmetic plastic surgery procedure that reduces, tightens and lifts the breast to diminish your physical discomfort and embarrassment, and increase your physical activity. The Reduction Mammoplasty does this in two ways. It reduces the amount of weight on the chest and the torque on the back by reducing breast tissue mass. Also, it firms and tightens the breasts by removing the excess breast skin and lifting the the breast tissue.

The timing of Breast Reduction Surgery depends on your health and your age. Since the Reduction Mammoplasty is elective surgery, it is important that you are in good health. If you have pre-existing medical problems, they should be well controlled, and Dr. Mele may ask you to see your doctor prior to surgery to be certain that the conditions are optimal for a safe and predictable breast reduction.

  1. Puberty: Frequently, macromastia becomes apparent at puberty. This may present a dilemma if the breast enlarge rapidly early in puberty. Breast reduction can be safely performed at a younger age; however, the breast may continue to develop, necessitating a second surgery. For this reason, when the symptoms can be tolerated, breast reduction surgery is delayed until the breast's growth has stabilized.

  2. Pregnancy: Breast can also enlarge with pregnancy. Most frequently this is followed by shrinking (atrophy) of the breast after pregnancy, when breast feeding stops. This is one of the main reasons why Breast Augmentation is so popular. Sometimes, however, the breast remain large after pregnancy, and breast reduction surgery is needed. It may be beneficial to wait until childbearing is completed before having breast reduction surgery. This allows the size of the breasts to stabilize, and allows for a more predictable result.

  3. Breast Feeding: Another reason to delay Breast Reduction Surgery until after child bearing is for breast feeding. Breast reduction surgery, by it very nature, involves removing breast tissue. Techniques such as the Inverted-T Breast Reduction, detailed below, preserve the milk ducts between the nipple and the breast tissue; however, it may not be possible for you to breast feed after breast reduction surgery.

  4. Menopause: Breasts can also enlarge later in life. There is no age that is too old for breast reduction, but medical problems do become more frequent as we age. For your safety, you may be required to have a full medical history and physical examination completed by your primary care doctor prior to surgery. Other specific tests and laboratories may also me requested.

Breast Reduction Videos

Schedule Your Breast Reduction Consultation Today

If you are considering Reduction Mammoplasty, the best first step is an in-person consultation with an experienced, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Call our office today (925) 943-6353 to schedule your personal Breast Reduction Consultation today.