What is the least invasive, yet most effective method to reduce my breast size?

I am a healthy, active 56-year-old woman with an average weight and athletic build. Post-menopause, my breasts are larger than I would like. I'm looking for the least invasive but most effective method to reduce my breast size. Please advise.

Answers from doctors (1)


Breast reduction is a surgical procedure designed to reduce the amount of breast tissue. Reduction is recommended for women that experience a significant amount of discomfort due to the weight and size of their breasts (shoulder, back, neck pain). They may have difficulty exercising or wearing certain types of clothing.

During surgery, excess skin, fat and breast tissue may be removed as well to improve sagging. The sagging nipple position is corrected and the breast is reshaped. The incision is typically made around the nipple, extending vertically down to the crease, and then ending in a horizontal line within the breast crease (similar to the aforementioned mastopexy). While this operation is technically similar to a mastopexy, it is performed for a very different reason.

Prior to considering surgery, you should consider alternatives that can help with the symptomatology associated with excess breast tissue. This can include weight loss, physical therapy, and medical therapy (for pain). This should be documented by your primary care physician as this will be important from an insurance perspective in creating a case for medical necessity.

Generally speaking, all breast reductions are excisional to some extent. There are variations in scar pattern (lollipop vs. anchor). However, they all involve some degree of invasiveness. Liposuction may be useful as an adjunct, however, it will only address excess fat. The breast, however, is composed of both fat and glandular tissue. Thus liposuction alone is a less than adequate way to treat the breast as a whole.

As always, seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon (ABPS) to discuss your options.

Answered by The Institute of Aesthetic Surgery (View Profile)

Breast reduction is a surgical procedure designed to reduce the amount of breast tissue. Reduction is recommended for women that experience a significant amount of discomfort due to the weight and size of their breasts (shoulder, back, neck pain). They may have difficulty exercising or wearing certain types of clothing.

During surgery, excess skin, fat and breast tissue may be removed as well to improve sagging. The sagging nipple position is corrected and the breast is reshaped. The incision is typically made around the nipple, extending vertically down to the crease, and then ending in a horizontal line within the breast crease (similar to the aforementioned mastopexy). While this operation is technically similar to a mastopexy, it is performed for a very different reason.

Prior to considering surgery, you should consider alternatives that can help with the symptomatology associated with excess breast tissue. This can include weight loss, physical therapy, and medical therapy (for pain). This should be documented by your primary care physician as this will be important from an insurance perspective in creating a case for medical necessity.

Generally speaking, all breast reductions are excisional to some extent. There are variations in scar pattern (lollipop vs. anchor). However, they all involve some degree of invasiveness. Liposuction may be useful as an adjunct, however, it will only address excess fat. The breast, however, is composed of both fat and glandular tissue. Thus liposuction alone is a less than adequate way to treat the breast as a whole.

As always, seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon (ABPS) to discuss your options.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


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