FAQ: Breast Reduction Surgery



Breast Reduction Surgery

A medical as well as an aesthetic concern, large breasts can cause their bearers to suffer chronic shoulder, neck and back pain, as well as challenges finding well-fitting clothing. Breast reduction is a safe procedure designed to reduce and raise the breasts, and offers dramatic and pleasing results.

What is the specific breast reduction procedure?

Overly large breasts are usually caused by three areas of excess: breast glands inside the skin, the skin surrounding the gland, and the areola (the dark area around the nipple). Often, the nipple area is also placed too low. To reduce breast size, I must first trim the gland. The skin, which supports breasts like a natural bra, is then reduced to match the gland size. Lastly, the areola is minimized and repositioned.

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How is the nipple/areola affected during breast reduction surgery?

The nipple and areola are generally not affected. In most cases, the nipple-areola is left attached and moved by relocating the entire gland. There are rare exceptions, such as with patients who have extremely large breasts.

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Where are the incisions made during a breast reduction?

Traditionally, closed breast reduction incisions circle the areola and extend beneath the breast into an upside-down T. This is called an anchor-shaped or inverted-T incision.

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What is the Inverted-T incision and are there any alternatives?

Yes, there are alternatives to the Inverted-T incision. A newer technique called vertical reduction reduces the seam significantly by minimizing or even eliminating the bar of the Inverted-T, so there is only an incision circling the areola and a vertical line.

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Will I have scars after my breast reduction?

For several months following surgery, incisions can be quite red and sometimes raised. However, they generally fade with time. Final results depend largely on your individual healing capacity.

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How painful is breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction is performed on patients under general anesthesia. Post-surgical discomfort is generally minimal. You will be offered pain medication after the procedure, of which most patients require very little.

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How much time will I need to take off work after a breast reduction?

I recommend taking a minimum of one week off from work to recover. After one week, you may resume non-strenuous activities, limiting lifting and stretching for an additional week. Our San Francisco cosmetic surgery practice uses the most advanced healing techniques to get you back on your feet quickly.

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Do breast reductions require blood transfusions?

It is extremely rare to need a blood transfusion for a breast reduction.

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Does the breast reduction procedure require any medical tests prior to surgery?

If you are due for a mammogram, then this should be done prior to surgery. As with all surgeries, routine lab work is done as well.

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To what extent can my breast size be reduced?

That depends on your case and functional esthetics. Our primary goals are to relieve any discomfort you are experiencing and create a better balance between your breast and body size. This will be discussed in detail at your consultation.

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What are the possible risks and complications of breast reduction surgery?

As with all surgical procedures, bleeding, scarring or infection may occur. Occasionally, small differences in the size and shape of the breasts may appear. Rarely, loss of nipple areola or sensation in this region may occur. Unfavorable reactions to medications and anesthetics can develop. Finally, future breastfeeding could be impaired. Knowing these risks enables you to make an informed choice to proceed.

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Can breast reduction surgery be covered by my insurance?

Although insurance companies used to provide generous coverage for medically-necessary breast reductions, recent changes in managed care have resulted in greater restrictions. In extreme cases, coverage may still be available and my office will help submit the necessary insurance forms, pre-authorization documents and supporting materials, including photographs and physical examination data. As a leading San Francisco plastic surgeon, I am familiar with the latest health insurance documentation. Regardless of coverage, however, the patient is ultimately responsible for the procedure fees.


Dr. Mosser is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon specializing in breast reduction surgery in San Francisco. If you have any further questions about breast enhancement or wish to schedule a consultation, please contact us.