Breast Reduction Surgery for Men and Women

Bigger isn’t always better, as many women with 34DD breasts, or larger, can tell you.

Women who have very large breasts can feel just as self-conscious as those who are flat-chested. It may be hard to find clothes that fit or to take part in sports. Large breasts can cause poor posture, rash, and chronic neck, back and shoulder pain.

Some men also are embarrassed by the size of their breasts. In men, having extra breast tissue is called gynecomastia. It’s usually caused by abnormal hormone levels. Gynecomastia is most common during the teen years and often goes away on its own. If it doesn’t, a man may consider breast reduction.

Breast reduction surgery (called reduction mammoplasty) can reduce and reshape the breasts. This can relieve many of the problems caused by having large breasts. If it is done for health reasons, breast reduction may be covered by insurance.

Am I a good candidate for breast reduction?

You may be a candidate for this surgery if you’re in good health and you’re:

A woman whose breasts are D cup size or larger and your breasts cause upper back, neck, shoulder or arm pain, or rashes

A man who’s bothered by the size of his breasts

Breast reduction surgery usually is not recommended for:

People who smoke. Smoking increases the risk for complications.

People who are losing or gaining weight.

Teenage boys who have not yet finished growing.

Men whose large breasts are due to obesity, taking certain medications, drinking alcohol, using marijuana or taking steroids.

A woman who hopes to breast-feed may be advised to wait to have the surgery. Breast reduction may end the ability to breast-feed, and pregnancy could change the shape and size of the breasts.

How is the surgery done?

There are different ways to do breast reduction surgery. Usually the surgeon cuts around the areola (the darker skin around the nipple) and on the underside of the breast to limit the number of scars. The surgeon removes skin, fat and breast tissue. This makes the breasts smaller, lighter and firmer.

The surgeon may also reduce the size of the areola and move it higher on the breast. In most cases, the nipples remain attached to their blood vessels and nerves. But if the breasts are very large or droopy, the blood vessels and nerves may have to be cut. This will result in a loss of feeling in the nipple and areola.

Liposuction may be done along with surgery to remove excess fat. For many men, liposuction alone will give the desired results with little or no scarring. Medical treatment is often effective for men depending on the cause of the gynecomastia.

Breast reduction is usually done by a plastic surgeon or breast surgeon, but other types of surgeons may also do it. Look for a doctor who is board certified by the American Board of Medical Specialists.

What are therisks of breast reduction?

Any surgery has risks. Some of the risks of breast reduction include:

Infection

Breast pain

Bleeding

Reaction to anesthesia

Excessive scarring

Loss of feeling in the nipples or breasts

Mismatched breasts or uneven nipples

Discuss the risks with your surgeon and weigh them carefully as you make your decision.

Ask to see pictures of people who have had this surgery so you will have an idea of what to expect. You can also ask to talk to others who’ve had breast reduction. Many people with very large breasts decide that the benefits outweigh the risks.