How to prepare for breast reduction surgery?

Hormonal responses may lead to large or extremely large breasts in some women. Having overly large breasts and carrying this extra weight goes hand in hand with quite a few complications in daily life, making it difficult for people to do certain activities.

In addition to the physical pain associated with larger than usual breasts (chronic back, shoulder and neck pain and in some cases even headache), women who have this problem may not be able to walk, run or exercise as normal people do and face some limitations when they want to buy clothes.woman holding two watermelons in front of her chest, signifying too large breasts

Due to these problems and complications, lots of women undergo a breast reduction surgery (also referred to as mammoplasty reduction) to get rid of their large breasts and their extra weight. Not only will a breast reduction surgery bring pain relief to big-breasted women and more freedom in daily activities, but it also brings a change in appearance that, according to many women who had undergone this surgery, improves their self-esteem.

Like any other surgical procedure, breast reduction has its own specific requirements and preconditions you need to consider before making a surgery appointment. In this blog post, we will explore some important things you need to know before getting a breast reduction procedure.

1. Good health is crucial

During a breast reduction surgery, your surgeon will remove excess fat, skin and breast tissue. In the post-operative or recovery phase, enough oxygen must reach your breast to heal properly. Smoking will prevent oxygen from reaching body organs. If you are a smoker, you’re not a good candidate for a breast reduction, unless you accept to stop smoking at least 4-6 weeks before surgery.

doctor measuring the waistline of an obese woman with large breasts

Breast reduction surgery is safe for women with morbid obesity.

Although some people believe that women with obesity aren’t as qualified for breast reduction surgery as others, the results of studies are conflicting, with some suggesting a relationship between being overweight and increased risk of complications and other finding no such evidence. However, since overall weight loss normally reduces the size of breasts as well, overweight women are recommended to consider a weight loss program in the first place before going for a breast reduction surgery.

People with certain conditions such as diabetes and heart diseases may be warned of getting a breast reduction. This, of course, depends on your surgeon’s opinion.

Removing the breast tissue, fat and skin will result in milk ducts and milk glands reduction. For this reason, lots of women will face problems regarding breastfeeding after breast reduction. It would not be a bad idea to reschedule your surgery time if you are going to give birth to a baby in the near future (however, the chance of low milk supply after breast reduction is 50/50).

2. You should avoid taking certain medications before breast reduction surgery

Some over-the-counter medications are prohibited before breast reduction surgery. Aspirin and some anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Ibuprofen and Aleve) are among them. These medications can increase bleeding. If you take prescription drugs, make sure to let your doctor know about it during the pre-op consultations.

3. Be prepared for recovery period

Breast reduction surgery is not an intimidating or time-consuming procedure. It is done on an outpatient basis: meaning the patient will not stay overnight in the hospital. The thing that is more important than the procedure itself and should be taken into consideration before surgery is recovery time.

Usually, it takes somewhere between 2-6 weeks for symptoms such as breast sensitivity, tenderness, and bruising to subside. You need to take at least a week off from work and devote yourself to complete rest. During this period, you should especially avoid demanding activities and lifting heavy objects (generally speaking, you should not lift anything heavier than 5kg during the recovery time). Get some movies, good novels, and magazines to entertain yourself when resting.

As some people put it, your breast will be somewhat like a molding clay after breast reduction surgery. In order to get the desired shape, you will be recommended to wear a surgical or post-op bra during recovery time. Your breast may change its shape up to 6 months after surgery. So the more you have a surgical bra on you, the better the final result will be.

4. Be informed about potential complications and side-effects

Be sure to do research about the risks and potential complications that might occur after a breast reduction surgery. Be sure to ask your surgeon about the risks in the consultations sessions.

As in any other surgery, scarring is a side-effect of breast reduction. As time goes by, these scars will fade away, but will never disappear completely. This will not be a serious problem though, because the scars will be covered by bra and clothes. In new methods used for breast reduction surgery, the marks left are minimized. That said, keep in mind that a permanent, more or less visible scar will be left on your breast.

Numbness is the other common side-effect of breast reduction surgery. Numbness of the nipples is due to the damage inflicted on the breast’s nerves. The degree of numbness varies in different patients. For some people, it may be permanent but in most cases, it only lasts for the first few weeks.


In spite of all the limitations and potential risks (bear in mind that every surgery has its own specific considerations and complications), breast reduction surgery has one of the highest satisfaction rates among other surgeries. This is probably due to the fact that in addition to relieving chronic pains caused by the heavyweight of the breasts and increasing individuals’ freedom to do physical activities, women will be more satisfied with their appearance, which gives them more confidence. So if you feel the need for breast reduction surgery, it may well worth your time and energy.