Breast reduction

A breast that is too large and therefore too heavy is a health problem for most people affected. Especially back problems are often a consequence. But there is also the aesthetic effect that too large a breast is perceived as unharmonious. In both cases, breast reduction can help.

What is breast reduction?

Breast reduction or "breast reduction" involves the removal of excess skin and glandular tissue to correct the size and position of the breast.  At the same time, the nipple is moved to give the breast a youthful appearance. For optimal results, the areola is often reduced in size. The incision runs around the areola, in the lower breast fold and along a connecting line between these points.

Knowledge of different surgical techniques is important in order to be able to do justice to different findings and wishes. In addition to reduction, special attention is always paid to harmonious proportions and optimal symmetry and shape of the breasts.

How can you prepare a breast reduction?

  • All your questions about possible complications and alternative treatments should be answered in advance.
  • Keep nicotine and alcohol consumption to a minimum!
  • If necessary, take hormone-containing medication (the pill) temporarily.
  • Blood-thinning medication (e.g. ASS, Thomapyrin®) must be discontinued at least 10 days before the operation after consultation with your doctor.
  • Vitamin preparations (A, E) and food supplements (omega-3 fatty acids, St. John's wort preparations, etc.) must be discontinued at least 4 weeks before the operation.
  • Surgery limits the ability to travel by air. Therefore, do not plan any professional or private air travel during the 6 weeks after the operation!
  • In the case of pronounced findings, the health insurance company will cover the operation costs in individual cases. Then an application should be made 2 to 3 months before the planned operation.

How is breast reduction performed?

  • As a rule, surgery is performed under general anesthesia. This is associated with a short inpatient stay.
  • As a rule, the wound on the breast is sutured with self-dissolving skin threads. Depending on the findings, drainage tubes are inserted into the wound, which can be removed again after a short period.
  • The procedure takes approx. 2.5 hours, depending on the findings.

What do you have to consider after a breast reduction?

  • In the first 6 weeks it is necessary to confine yourself to the supine position and to position the upper body at an elevation of approx. 30 degrees.
  • Showering is possible immediately before the wound check from the 3rd postoperative day.
  • Postoperative clinical controls are recommended on the 3rd postoperative day and after 1, 2, 6 weeks as well as after 6 and 12 months.
  • Previously fitted support bras should be worn continuously for 6 weeks.
  • Scar care (scar massage, sun protection, silicone overlay) from the 3rd postoperative week onwards helps to create inconspicuous scars.
  • Sport, saunas, swimming, heavy work and sunbathing should be avoided for at least 6 weeks.
  • Consistent sun protection (sun protection factor 50+) for 6 months is recommended.

Author's statement

Author: Stéphane Stahl, MD, PhD. There are no financial relationships with the pharmaceutical or medical device industries that could have influenced the above text. Any reproduction, even partial, is permitted for personal use only. All texts used on this website are protected by copyright.


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