Breast Reduction

Breast reductions, also known as reduction mammaplasties, are very popular cosmetic procedures. During this surgery, we remove excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts and lift the breasts into a natural, youthful position. Breast reductions often help patients feel more confident while relieving discomfort caused by large breasts.

Our highly experienced, board-certified plastic surgeons have performed thousands of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. We invite you to book a consultation to discuss your goals and treatment options.

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Breast Reduction Benefits:

  • Reduced back, neck, and shoulder pain

  • Improved nerve pain, chronic rash, or shoulder irritation from bra straps

  • Ability to participate in higher-impact physical activities

  • Better self-esteem

  • Lifted and more youthful breast shape and position

  • Breasts appear more proportionate to the body

Our goal during breast reduction surgery is to accentuate the body’s curves and proportions while repositioning the breasts into a youthful, lifted position. Poor breast reductions can result in obvious scarring, asymmetric, boxy, or flattened breasts.

What to Expect

Before your breast reduction, you will meet with your surgeon to discuss your goals and medical history. We’ll examine your anatomy, take photographs and measurements, and will make treatment recommendations. We will also answer your questions and discuss the procedure, potential risks and benefits, anesthesia, medications, and recovery instructions.

If you’re planning on having children and breastfeeding, we may advise you to wait until after pregnancy and breastfeeding before undergoing your procedure. This is very case-dependent, and something we’ll talk to you about. Breastfeeding is still possible for women post-breast reduction surgery depending on how the procedure is performed.

Procedure Day

On the day of your breast reduction, you will meet with your surgeon to address any last-minute questions and go over the surgical plan. We may run some quick diagnostic tests and will ask you to sign final paperwork. You will change into a surgical gown and our clinical staff will make sure you’re comfortable in pre-op. Next, an anesthesiologist will administer general anesthesia. The entire procedure takes around two to three hours. You will need somebody to drive you home, as you will not be able to operate a vehicle after anesthesia. We perform breast reductions as outpatient procedures at our accredited Northern Arizona SurgiCenter in Flagstaff.

Breast Reduction Incision Patterns

Based on your anatomy and surgical goals, we will pick one of three incision patterns: the anchor, the lollipop, or the donut. Through these incisions, we’ll remove excess breast glandular tissue, fat, and skin. Liposuction may be used to remove fat tissue. Based on your goals, we can also shape the breasts, address asymmetry, and reposition the nipple and areola into a more natural position. In some rare cases, we’ll transplant the nipple and areola to an ideal position.

  • The Anchor (Inverted T): The anchor incision pattern involves three lines: one around the areola, one running vertically from the bottom of the areola to the crease, and one horizontal incision tucked under the natural breast contour. This pattern is most appropriate for patients who want to remove a significant amount of tissue, reposition the nipple and areola, address drooping or ptosis, or correct breast asymmetry.
  • The Lollipop (Vertical): The lollipop incision pattern is similar to the anchor, however, we do not make a horizontal incision under the breast. This pattern is best suited for patients who want a mild to moderate breast reduction.
  • The Donut (Periareolar): The donut incision pattern is the most discreet and is well-suited for patients who want very minor adjustments, however, it is more suited for breast lifts than breast reductions. This incision is hidden by the perimeter of the areola.

We make sure that breast reduction incisions are as small and discreet as possible. Proper incision aftercare and scar treatments can help improve the appearance of breast reduction scars.

Medical Review: This procedural information has been medically reviewed by plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Brian A. Cripe, M.D.

Breast Reduction Before and After Photos

For privacy, we reserve the majority of before and after photos for viewing during in-office consultations. The cases presented are representative and shared with permission.

Before breast reduction surgeryBreast reduction after
Breast reduction beforeBreast reduction after

Breast Reduction Recovery and Aftercare

You can expect to see breast reduction results immediately, and the appearance will continue to improve as you recover. Many of our breast reduction patients feel well enough to return to work after two weeks and can resume all activities and high-impact exercises within four to six weeks.

To optimize healing, we ask our patients to follow these recovery guidelines after their procedure. If you notice increased redness, discharge, or pain near your incision, please give us a call right away.

  • Incision Aftercare: After surgery, we’ll apply a surgical dressing to the incisions. Please be gentle with this area and keep it dry. You can shower after 48 hours, but avoid using hot water and getting the incision areas wet. Don’t submerge your body in water while bathing or swimming for four weeks. This helps reduce the risk of infection.

  • Post-Operative Bra: We’ll give you a post-surgical bra to wear continuously for six weeks. This compressive garment helps reduce swelling and improve incision healing. If you prefer, you can wear a sports bra or soft bra that also provides gentle compression. Don’t wear any undergarments with underwires for six weeks.

  • Medications: We’ll usually prescribe pain medications to help you feel more comfortable as you heal.

  • Scar Massage: After two weeks, once your incisions are fully healed, we’ll advise you to gently massage the scar areas. This can improve the appearance of your incision lines and promote healing. Don’t worry about buying an expensive scar cream. Any gentle moisturizer, like Aquaphor or cocoa butter, will do the job.

  • Sun Protection: Breast reduction incisions are usually hidden by clothing, bikinis, and undergarments, however, sun exposure can impede scar healing and damage your skin cells, causing wrinkling. Wear sunscreen on your chest and avoid direct sun exposure on the incision areas to help keep your skin healthy and improve scar healing.

  • Laser Treatments: Laser skin resurfacing treatments can help improve the appearance of breast reduction scars, and based on how you’re healing we may perform these during your follow-up appointments.

Breast Reduction FAQs

Patients who are diagnosed with macromastia and meet certain criteria can usually receive a breast reduction procedure covered by their insurance. We’ll submit pre-authorization documentation to your insurance provider, and you will also need to submit some additional documentation:

  1. A record of chronic health problems due to your large breast size. Symptoms may include chronic pain, postural problems, rashes or skin irritation, and/or nerve compression.
  2. A letter from your physician or plastic surgeon explaining your history of symptoms and previous treatments.
  3. Your height, weight, and photographs of your breasts.

If your insurance provider denies coverage for your breast reduction,  then you may need to pay out-of-pocket. Every plastic surgery practice offers different pricing. The national average procedural fee for a breast reduction is around $6,000, plus the cost of anesthesia, surgical facility costs, and medications. Please set up a consultation with one of our surgeons to learn more about the procedure and to receive a personalized quote. For patients paying out-of-pocket for their breast reduction, we offer six- and 12-month interest-free financing options through Care Credit.

Some patients with disproportionately large breasts may be diagnosed with macromastia, which means their breast reduction surgery may be covered by insurance. Patients without macromastia may also seek out a breast reduction procedure to make their breasts smaller. 

We generally perform breast reductions on healthy patients, nonsmokers, and who don’t have any medical conditions that may impede wound healing. BMI is also a consideration. When you meet with one of our surgeons for your consultation, we will discuss your goals and anatomy to determine which cosmetic procedures would be best suited to meet your unique needs.

Many patients also combine their breast reduction with a tummy tuck and liposuction, also known as a mommy makeover procedure. At Plastic Surgeons of Northern Arizona, we provide discounts for subsequent cosmetic procedures. Booking multiple cosmetic procedures at once is much more affordable than standalone surgeries, and reduces recovery time.

You May Also Be Interested In:

  • Botox

  • Breast Lift

  • Laser Skin Resurfacing

  • Mini Facelift

  • Mommy Makeover

  • Tummy Tuck

Book Your Breast Reduction Appointment

Our experienced, board-certified plastic surgeons would love to bring you in for a consultation to discuss your goals and treatment options. Fill out this form to receive a call-back shortly, or give us a call at 928-774-2300.