What is a Breast Reduction

A breast reduction, or 'mammoplasty', is a surgical procedure designed to reduce the volume of the breast, in order to make it smaller and – in some cases – more shapely.

Breast reduction surgery focusses on removing excess tissue in the breast, as well as fat and skin to lighten the weight and prominence of the breast. Your nipples will be reshaped or raised, along with the breast, which will create a perkier – and ultimately more aesthetic - breast shape.

Breast reduction surgery is one of the most common procedures in the UK, accounting for roughly 15% of all cosmetic surgical procedures in the UK.

The Breast Reduction procedure is ideal for patients with naturally very large breasts that cause discomfort or inconvenience, or those that have permanently increased in size following childbirth. Breast reduction is appropriate for both women and men (for male breast reduction please view our 'gynaecomastia' page) who feel that their breasts are oversized or are not in proportion with the rest of their body.

The Cadogan Clinic employ virtual imaging software to help you visualize potential outcomes in your individual case via Crisalix Imaging software, as well as carefully manage expectations and increase the chances of achieving your goals.

What does it involve?

The Breast Reduction, or mammoplasty, procedure is an invasive surgical procedure that is performed under general anaesthetic and takes between 2 -3 hours to perform.

The overall effect is to reduce the volume of the breast, and perhaps in some case, reposition the breast and nipple to generate the optimal aesthetic look. Whilst there are several techniques generally employed, each involves the reduction in the size of the breast via excision and reshaping of the breast mound and repositioning of the nipple.

The procedure is commonly combined with a breast uplift procedure to restore the optimal positioning of the breast post-surgery.

The blood supply is preserved to leave a fully functioning and proportionate breast post-surgery, hanging in the most regular position.

Recovery time tends to be between 1 – 2 weeks, during which time we recommend some time off work and reduced physical movement until the swelling has subsided. Regular physical activity and exercise can be fully resumed in roughly 6 weeks.

Why do people have it

Female breast size is determined by several factors, including genetics, body weight, and hormonal influences. Breasts can also be affected after giving birth, resulting in an undesirable change in breast shape and size.

Unfortunately, larger breasts can often be associated with a variety of problems, ranging from self-consciousness and inconvenience (especially if you are particularly sporty, or if you struggle to find flattering, well-fitting bras and clothes), through to more serious discomfort. This can include backache, neck pain and skin irritation such as rashes under the breasts. There are also issues that arise such as an inability to take part in certain sports or exercise due to overly large breast size.

Many women desire to have a breast reduction after giving birth when the breast begins to sag lower than before. However, many women have breast reductions prior to having children and are concerned about the ability to breastfeed after surgery. During the procedure, care is taken by your highly skilled surgeon to retain connections between the remaining breast tissue and the skin, in order to preserve breastfeeding capability.

Who is suitable

Cadogan Clinic considers individuals fit for the procedure if all of the following are true of them:

  • An adult with fully developed breasts
  • Physically and psychologically fit and healthy
  • Concerned by the size or shape of at least one of their breasts, either for aesthetic or comfort reasons
  • Have realistic expectations of what can be achieved by surgery

Breast Reduction for Men

We offer breast reduction for men to treat Gynaecomastia, which is a common condition that causes the male breasts to become enlarged. This can be caused by hormone imbalance, obesity, old age or puberty, or it can occur naturally without reason. Gynaecomastia can cause men to feel self-conscious, and the treatment for this is an excellent way to regain that confidence and have your desired chest.

The surgery for men is performed in a slightly different method, with the focus on avoiding visible scars, and often liposuction alone is adequate to create the desired results. We also offer Nipple Reduction for men who suffer a condition called 'Puffy Nipple'.

What to expect

CONSULTATION 

The first step for all of our patients is to meet with the surgeon we feel is most suite to you and best placed to perform your procedure for a consultation.

At the consultation you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the breast reduction procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible given your existing breast anatomy, bone structure and skin quality.

A comprehensive discussion regarding risks and complications will take place, alongside a discussion regarding the post procedure and recovery phase. Your previous medical history will also be recorded (including previous surgery, medications, allergies etc.) and an assessment of your fitness for surgery.

If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed for surgery or otherwise following a two week 'cooling off' period.

Within this period you are welcome to come in and discuss your potential surgery with your surgeon as many times as you like.

PRE – PROCEDURE

If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure.

Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended / required:

  • In the 6 weeks before your procedure we recommend smoking is discontinued as patients who smoke have a higher risk of healing more slowly and with complications  
  • In the week before your procedure you must cease taking Aspirin or any medication that contains Aspirin
  • In the 6 hours prior to surgery you must not consume food or any drink, other than small sips of clear fluid (e.g. still water, black coffee, black tea) which are allowed up to 2 hours before admission 

DAY OF THE PROCEDURE

On the day of your procedure we ask that you arrive for your admission an hour before the agreed start time of surgery. At this point a nurse will come and record blood pressure and other relevant tests, you will meet with your anaesthetist and your surgeon who will make the final mark-ups.

The procedure itself is takes place under general anaesthetic over the course of between two and three hours. The surgery involves the placement of an incision underneath the breast, the excision of breast tissue and volume via this incision, and then finally the repositioning of the nipple.

Following the procedure, you will recover in our ambulatory recovery rooms for between two to three hours, dependent on the scale of the procedure. Once our specialist nursing team are happy that your initial recovery is complete and you are safe to return home, you will be allowed to leave the Clinic accompanied by a friend or member of your family.

POST PROCEDURE & RECOVERY

Once home you will have access to our dedicated oncall nursing team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This team of specialists are dedicated to your comfort and recovery, and are there to field any questions you may have in the immediate post operative phase.

Breast Reduction recovery is fairly quick and any residual discomfort should subside in a matter of days. Patients are able to return to a normal routine after a week following the procedure. The full healing process is between 2 – 3 weeks. You will have some bruising and swelling, but it will be gone after a few days and you'll be able to get back to your normal routine.

We advise patients to take a week off work whilst swelling is at its peak. We ask our patients to be sensitive to their breast area during this time, and not try to do too much too soon. We also recommend avoiding UV light for 2 -4 weeks to aid the scarring process.

We ask that you come in and see our nursing team 1 week after surgery to ensure your incision sites have been properly reviewed. At this juncture we also recommend you meet with one of our on site aestheticians to discuss ongoing treatment to support the healing process.

You should start to see your results clearly after 6 week mark. We ask that you come in to see your surgeon after 6 weeks for a post procedure for a final check up.

What can I expect from my surgery?

What are the risks

Complications are rare although, as with all surgery, possible. Your surgeon will discuss each of these risks comprehensively at your consultation. Read our FAQ section for more information.

Why come to The Cadogan Clinic for your breast reduction?

  • Cadogan Clinic is an award winning specialist cosmetic clinic, with a track record of delivering safe, high quality cosmetic surgery  
  • Cadogan Clinic specialises in breast surgery and the latest surgical breast techniques. We have a roster of top breast specialists on our team
  • Unlike many of our competitors, we use the latest anaesthetic technologies to minimise your downtime, and allow you to return home on the day of your procedure 
  • Our nursing team provide a dedicated 24/7 oncall service during recovery – whatever your question, we can provide the answer 
  • We offer a complimentary consultation and treatment with our onsite team of aestheticians to ensure you heal quickly and scar well

Before & After Gallery

Breast Reduction Results

Click here to view our gallery of Before & Afters and Breast Reduction results

Frequently Asked Questions

Breast reduction is usually performed under general anaesthetic as a day case procedure, meaning advanced sedation techniques are employed to enable you to recover more quickly after surgery and return home on the day of your procedure.

Whilst there are several breast reduction techniques, each essentially involves reducing a proportion of the breast volume via excision and reshaping the breast mound such that the nipple is lifted into a more normal position, while preserving the blood supply to the elevated nipple and areolar complex. The overall effect is a more ‘pert’ breast hanging in a more regular position.

Your surgeon will explain his or her preferred technique at your consultation and where the incision is to be placed accordingly.

Different surgeons have different protocols, but it is common for a garment to be worn in the immediate post operative phase. The wounds are generally closed with stitches under the surface, which then dissolve over a few weeks. You may have a strip dressing or reinforcement paper strips over or along the wound. There may also be gauze and stretchy Mefix paper dressing covering the wound and also supporting the breasts.

A compression garment is then generally worn to support the breasts and protect the wounds. Although some surgeons do not use them at all and recommend a sports bra instead, it is most common to wear a lycra compression bra made specifically for breast surgery of which there are many types. The team will fit the one most suitable for you and your surgery. There is one other lycra dressing, occasionally required, and that is a stretchy strap worn across the upper breast to hold the implant low.

The sports bras or lycra garments will be worn day and night for 3 weeks or more and then during the day for a longer time, particularly during exercise or sporting activity.

Sensation loss is rarely an issue after breast reduction, but on occasion can occur.

Women with very large breasts often never have significant feeling in the nipples and in the event that sensation is reduced after reduction surgery, it is unlikely to be missed.

General advice is to take two weeks off work following breast reduction surgery, since swelling is greatest during this time and it is advisable to give wounds time to heal.  During this period it is advisable to keep physical activity to a minimum or drive. It is, however, advisable to mobilise as soon as possible after breast reduction surgery.

If stitches need to be removed, this is generally carried out at about two weeks after the operation.  At this stage dressings are removed and women are encouraged to wear comfortable crop tops or sports bras for support until any swelling and discomfort has resolved, after which they can start wearing normal bras in their new size – this may take a few weeks longer.

Massage and moisturizing are a vital process of breast reduction aftercare and expert advice will be given on the best techniques from our dedicated team.

Following traditional breast reduction techniques, you should expect a small degree of scarring.

There are different techniques for breast reduction and the scars created will depend on the technique employed, as well as the patient in question and the size of the breasts being reduced. Most commonly you should expect some scarring around the nipple, across the bottom of the breast fold, and a vertical scar linking the nipple scar to the breast fold scar giving rise to the so-called ‘inverted T’ or anchor pattern. Some surgeons prefer to perform the operation omitting the breast fold scar giving rise to the ‘vertical scar’ reduction. Not everybody is necessarily eligible for this and it tends to be used for not such large breasts.

Due to our specialism in liposuction, it is possible in some cases to perform breast reduction using liposuction techniques only. This technique is often known as ‘scarless breast reduction’ since the incisions required can be made in less prominent positions, such as under the arms, where they cannot be seen.

Regardless of which technique you undergo, Cadogan Clinic is able to provide each and every one of its patients with access to one of London’s most advanced scar minimization programmes, led by our scar prevention team here at the Clinic. Our nurses have decades of experience and will provide you with the tools and techniques to support your healing process as effectively as possible.

All breast reduction techniques require an incision that will result in a scar that will likely be red and slightly raised in the weeks and months after your procedure, before fading completely.

Scar visibility can, however, be greatly impacted by the quality of the surgeon you choose, as well as the level of aftercare you receive. In the hands of a skilled surgeon the scar can be positioned very discreetly, whilst an expert scar minimization team can provide you with the tools and techniques to enhance the healing process. For example, scar the appearance can be reduced by regular moisturisation and massage techniques, all of which our dedicated team will advise our patients in the days following your procedure.

Due to our specialism in liposuction, it is possible in some cases to perform breast reduction using liposuction techniques only. This technique is often known as ‘scarless breast reduction’ since the incisions required can be made in less prominent positions, such as under the arms, where they can not been seen.

Breast reduction recovery time varies from case to case but you should be able to return to your normal day-to-day activities after about two weeks. However, we recommend our patients be sensitive to their body and try not to do too much too soon, ceasing activities after or during which any pain is experienced.

We recommend temporary suspension of activities such as going to the gym, and practicing aerobics and sports that involve using your arms. Any activity that requires lifting your elbows above your shoulders should also be carefully monitored.

All breast reduction techniques require an incision that will result in a scar that will likely be red and slightly raised in the weeks and months after your procedure, before fading completely.

Scar visibility can, however, be greatly impacted by the quality of the surgeon you choose, as well as the level of aftercare you receive. In the hands of a skilled surgeon the scar can be positioned very discreetly, whilst an expert scar minimization team can provide you with the tools and techniques to enhance the healing process. For example, scar the appearance can be reduced by regular moisturisation and massage techniques, all of which our dedicated team will advise our patients in the days following your procedure.

Due to our specialism in liposuction, it is possible in some cases to perform breast reduction using liposuction techniques only. This technique is often known as ‘scarless breast reduction’ since the incisions required can be made in less prominent positions, such as under the arms, where they can not been seen.

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