Breast reduction

Breast reduction surgery is sought by many women to relieve physical problems including the painful strain on the neck, and shoulder and backaches, which are caused by excessively heavy breasts. Many women who have this procedure done also have trouble with physical activities, and have suffered from teasing and unwanted attention because of their large breasts.

Breast reduction surgery, which is also called mammoplasty, involves removal of excess breast tissue to reshape and lift the breasts. The result is smaller, lighter, breasts that are often more proportioned. The procedure reduces the weight of heavy breasts, making it easier to enjoy an active lifestyle, and many patients find that this procedure relieves back, neck and shoulder pain, and enhances their appearance.

The procedure

Breast reductions are performed under general anaesthetic and the operation usually takes about three hours depending on the size of the breasts. The surgeon removes the desired amount of excess breast tissue by making an incision in the breast. Once the tissue has been removed, the nipple is elevated into a higher position on the breast, and the breast itself is lifted when the incision is closed. The result is smaller, shapelier breasts that are much less saggy.

After your surgery

Patients typically stay in hospital for up to two days so that medical staff can monitor their recovery. Dressings are changed in the days following surgery, and any sutures are removed 5 to 10 days following the procedure. Complete healing takes approximately 90 days, and supportive adhesive tape should be worn over this period.

You will be able to shower two days following surgery, and a well fitted and supportive bra should be worn for 6 weeks following the operation to help shape the breasts. After this period, patients find that as their breasts are elevated and firmer, they are able to wear bras as desired, rather than having to constantly worry about support as they had previously.

Routine physical activity should be limited for two weeks, and more strenuous physical activity (especially lifting, pulling, and pushing motions) should be avoided for at least 6 weeks, as this will help the scars to heal. Your surgeon will be able to advise you as to when you can resume normal physical activities.

The long term outcome

Of all plastic surgical procedures, breast reduction surgery has some of the most dramatic, and immediate results. Patients are typically very happy that they had the procedure done, and report high levels of satisfaction following surgery. The physical discomfort that was caused by large breasts is alleviated, and the breasts are more proportioned. Clothes often fit better, and in general, the appearance of the breasts is improved considerably.

After having the procedure, the breasts continue to respond to physiological changes in the same way as they did prior to surgery (ie. they get bigger with weight gain and change size with hormonal fluctuations). The size of the breast is permanently decreased, however, the breasts will sag again with time as gravity takes effect.


All surgery carries some risks, which include the possibility of post-operative infection, bleeding, excessive scarring and reaction to the anaesthetic. There are other risks that are more specific to this procedure, and it is important that you talk to your surgeon about the possible complications prior to surgery. Pre-existing medical conditions can alter the level of risk associated with any procedure, and it is important that you notify your surgeon and anaesthetist of any medical problems prior to surgery. It is also important to follow your surgeon's instructions both before, and after, surgery to ensure that these risks are minimised


The components that determine the cost of the procedure are the surgical theatre costs, hospital costs, anaesthetic fee and the surgeon's fee. Prices vary widely and depend on; the extent/complexity of the procedure, the physical attributes of individual patients, and the surgeon performing the operation. Breast reduction surgery typically costs around $16-20k.