STATE OF THE ART COSMETIC SURGERY AND ARTISTRY

THE NEW YORK CITY PLASTIC SURGEON, PC

Breast Reduction Surgery: The Ultimate Weight Loss and Lifestyle Procedure?

The first thing that I tell patients about breast reduction surgery is that is it a life changing operation. It is relatively rare that you do one thing in a few hours that impacts your world in so many ways. But while most women realize that a breast reduction can make your breasts smaller and lighter, they may not know how many other aspects of your body and world can be affected by this change. And they definitely do not realize to what degree your weight and overall health are usually impacted.

ONE- Proportions

When patients ask me what size their breasts should be, I hesitate to answer. For one, every body is different, and I am a big believer in proportions. A slim woman who is very tall and has wide shoulders may be able to carry a larger size, while a narrower woman with small hips may be better off with smaller breasts. One thing is for sure: they were not handed out evenly, and most of us are on one side or the other of the breast proportion spectrum.

One of the complaints I get from my breast reduction patients preoperatively is that they “can’t buy clothing.” They might be a size 4 in pants but an 8 in tops, so what happens when they want to buy a dress in one piece? Or, could you imagine, a bathing suit? It becomes almost impossible. What is worse is that wearing something too small on big breasts can look unprofessional or unattractive, so the default usually falls to the larger size- which can then look frumpy. When the rest of your body is small and only the breasts are large, that larger size doesn’t fit you right anywhere, and you start looking like you are wearing someone else’s clothing. Downsizing to the right one resumes that proportionality, instead of having your entire wardrobe dictated by something that only represents 10% of your entire person.

TWO- Weight

Even if you are not wearing clothing two sizes too big, very large breasts have the effect of making you look heavier than you are. Whether standing still, walking around, or sitting across a table or desk from someone, you will seem heavier than the scale suggests. Bringing that size into range of the rest of you allows the overall impression to be more accurate. In the end, most patients who get a sizeable reduction can look like they lost 20 pounds without having done anything at all. This is similar to the effect of removing a double chin through liposuction. A small patch of fat in the wrong place can suggest something very different about the rest of you, and an oversized top half can be even more extreme.

THREE- Age

Whether large or small, breasts that sag suggest older age. Gravity being what it is, the larger the breast, the more likely it is to hang low. When performing a breast reduction, the goal is to minimize size but also maximize lift, which has the side effect of rejuvenating that entire area. Once reduced, the shape of the breast must then be rearranged, and this is the perfect opportunity to create something perky and light. Nipple position is a critical component of the operation, and the nipple is almost always raised back to its ideal aesthetic location. Finally, when moving the nipple, the areolar is generally resized and also reshaped, leaving the door open for a little artistic license and customization. This is where the design aspect comes into play; and in the right hands, it completes the cosmetic renewal. Can you say “mono-kini?”

FOUR- Cleavage

One of the things that is most difficult for people who do not have large breasts to understand is that the larger the breast, the less likely it is for the breast to be in the right place. Large breasts tend to pull on the skin and the ligaments, ending up hanging rather than sitting up in place. The more breast tissue there is, and the heavier it is, the more likely it is to hang down low. As it pulls, the volume that once was in the upper part of the breast falls below the fold, and you can eventually end up with most of the breast on the belly rather than the chest.

When performing a breast reduction, it is important to recognize that the breast tissue has fallen below where it belongs. The goal is not to just remove some tissue and pull the rest up by the skin. Skin has no inherent structure, and it will just fall back down again in time. Plus, if the skin falls after the nipple has been moved, you can get a “bottoming out,” where the nipple is up and the breast is down, looking as backwards as it sounds.

For a breast reduction to be successful, the tissue that is left behind must literally be relocated to the upper portion of the trunk, and the cleavage line reclaimed. It may seem counterintuitive but the bigger the reduction, the more likely you are to grow your cleavage line by having the surgery performed. This involves a certain amount of redesigning and a clear 3D perspective on anatomy, but when properly executed, it leads to a remarkable transformation- and often a bra-optional lifestyle to boot.

FIVE- Diets Optional

Most of my breast reduction patients complain that they try everything but cannot lose weight. As you can imagine, if you had two 10 lb. weights around your neck, it would be hard for you to exercise too! For these women, simple things like going for a jog seem prohibitive. I hear stories all the time about women who wear two and three bras at a time while going for a run, because they can’t contain their chest in any meaningful way. Getting a breast reduction when you need one can change all of that.

On average, a breast reduction patient in my practice will lose anywhere from ten to twenty pounds in the first six months after surgery. This is because she can actually exercise now. This is also because she can see her body, and the apparent weight loss from the surgery itself gives her a first look at what could be if she keeps that train going. For women who have been struggling with their weight, this can be a first step to a lighter life; but most importantly, it is a springboard to the final benefit: a complete change in lifestyle.

SIX- A New Lifestyle

A few years ago, one of my breast reduction patients told me that when she went home after surgery, her son was shocked to see that “Mommy, you grew!” She obviously had not gotten taller, but she was standing up straight for the first time in years. She was also walking differently, because she now had breasts that were not only proportional and lighter, but more symmetrical. For decades, she had had one much larger than the other, and it pulled her not only down, but to the side. She had the deep shoulder trenches from orthopedic brassieres, dents in her chest from industrial strength underwire, too-big-tops, and a hunched neck that required daily pain medication. Not fun.

After her surgery, this lovely woman suddenly walked tall, straightened out, and started a new workout regimen. She got so much healthier that her early high blood pressure went away and she no longer needed medication. The back pain also resolved and she no longer needed pain medication either. And she was finally able to buy clothing that fit, which meant that she could shop anywhere and benefit from sales. Huge amounts of money saved. It was a total life transformation.

Other Things to Know

Breast reduction is sometimes covered by insurance, depending on your plan and whether or not you meet the criteria. It is usually an outpatient procedure, with a well tolerated recovery. Most patients who were trying to lose weight prior to their reduction will have an easier time meeting those goals after the fact.

BE FREE

While many plastic surgery patients are happy with their results and feel that it was worth the effort, women who have had breast reduction surgery are among the most satisfied. From weight loss to body rejuvenation to saving tons of money on bras and bikinis, the overall effect is generally transformative in every way. Happy is the woman who can wake up pain-free, go for a jog, and then throw on a summer dress without a bra and get on with her day. This brings new meaning to the concept of women’s liberation. Be free, ladies, and thrive.

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53 thoughts on “Breast Reduction Surgery: The Ultimate Weight Loss and Lifestyle Procedure?”

    1. How did it go? I am in the process of getting my insurance to approve the surgery and would love to hear how it went for you and how you’re feeling now

      1. I am 4 weeks post OP and I am very happy with my results so far! I’m still a little bit sore and still healing but I can definitely feel and see the difference. It feel great being able to wear tops I couldn’t before. Just wait until I don’t need compression bras anymore…I can’t wait!

  1. Thanks for writing this! This is my hope and intention for having a breast reduction. Can you speak at all to the likelihood of desmoid tumors occurring? Also, what, if any, is the impact of breast reduction on hormonal balance, estrogen reception?

  2. I am almost 6 days into after breast reduction surgery I have drain tubes in I’m tired sluggish no appetite heartburn and practically allergic to all the meds that my dr offered up I go to see the dr tomorrow hopefully I’ll get the tubes and stitches out and start feeling better

    1. Hey I am 133 kg and I cant even excercise my boobs r extremely big I cant sit coz it causes back pain and shoulder pain I wear a cross my heart bra Ff gg and a sports bra at once to hold them when I go to town. My gp referred me to a surgeon I saw him last week Thursday and he said I shud loose weight and then after 4 mnths can’t have it but what I want to know is did u see a dietitian too and what type of meal plan did he put u on as m yet to see mine

  3. I am in the process of getting my insurance to pay for mine. Just went to my consultation yesterday and I am beyond excited, nervous and all the things. Most of all I can wait for my neck and back to not hurt or be able to exercise more. I swim now and my dr was impressed with that.

  4. I love this article. Everything I go through is in here! Getting my surgery July 22nd. Can’t wait to take the plunge. I just hope that they won’t be droopy after I’ve healed and then lose weight when I’m able to exercise easier.

  5. Thanks for the article . I’m considering getting a reduction also though I only have DD . I really dislike them and have low self esteem issues cause of them . Also I run a lot and it hurts during and after which I hate . Are theses reasons enough to get a réduction ?

    1. Hi, I just read your message. I am postop by 4 weeks. I was a EE! I went to a C. I was unable to jog, was out of breath wen going up steps and had pain across my shoulder blades and headaches. Insurance paid for my surgery. I am doing great. You wont regret it

  6. I have had 5 kids and have breastfeed them as well. Im still in my 20’s and i so bad want a breast reduction as well. I was looking into getting one years ago but the surgeon said to have kids first before getting so i did and now im ready for my surgery as my breast have gotten larger wirh each pregnancy and ive put on a few pounds as well since getting pregnant too. I know a breast reduction will help with my back and neck pain and help me with my weight loss goal!

  7. I am five days post op and am delighted by the results. Went from 36DD to 36B/C. The best part is the breast lift…I look like a teenager at 64 years old.
    My back pain was gone almost immediately.
    Insurance initially declined to pay as I was not out of proportion at 5’7” and 163 lbs. But as I have a history of a major spinal fusion due to scoliosis, my surgeon got insurance company to reconsider.
    My pain level is manageable with Vicodin and never has gone above a 5/10.
    It’s just great! Truly life changing both physically and mentally. I look forward to a better quality of life for years to come!

  8. Nancy Shevitz

    I am day five post surgery and my boobs are adorable. Got some aching and shooting pains, but Tylenol does the trick. Tried on some tops today and omg, i look terrific! I have a torso! There is air i can feel underneath my bosoms! I am beyond happy. So, i am 73 now…when i croak, I will have the youngest looking bosoms! Goal achieved! Lol.

    1. Congratulations. I am 70 and thought I was too old. I am having a consultation in September. Did you get insurance to pay for it and if yes, was the process lengthy and what was required? Thanks

      1. Hi Linda,
        I’m finally getting a reduction in 3 weeks. I’m 40, 5’0” and 124. I’m petite and boobs are size 30L! It’s always been painful and a nightmare. I did have my insurance approve it and the process for me was easy and no brainer. Insurance companies use a mathematical equation when deciding upon whether or not they will pay. In my case, I am so petite everywhere except my boobs. They didn’t even bat an eye. I was also approved 2 previous times once at 30 and again at 38, but waited until I was DONE having kids. Wish you the best of luck!

    2. Well done Nancy. I am 66 and 7 days post breast reduction. I love my new girls, when I look in the mirror I can’t believe it’s me. I’ll follow you out with the second youngest looking bosoms 😂

  9. I had my surgery yesterday and the first thing I noticed was how a heavy weight had been lifted from my chest. I felt lighter on my feet. Also, it was easier to breathe- which was unexpected. It is not as painful as expected and the pain is only at the bra line underneath the chest. I haven’t looked at them yet, but I already feel so much better and it hasn’t even been 24 hours!!!

  10. I’m only 18 but I’ve been dealing with my 36I sized peeps for years now & am finally getting my reduction in 3 days (been looking forward to this surgery since I found out I was a DD at 13). I am honestly so nervous for the recovery and about the fact that I’ll probably have to wear a post-op bra for my senior prom pics, but I’m still looking so forward to how my life is about to change

  11. I considered breast reduction for over 10 years. I finally got the guts to do it and I am 24 hours post op. I went from size I to D. I feel amazing already!! Pain is very minimal. Maybe 4/10 when I feel worst. I definitely think it’s one of the best decisions I ever made.

  12. I had my breast reduction done 5 days ago. I’m so happy with the results. It’s not nearly as painful as I was expecting. I still have the drainage tubes and taking it easy to allow healing. I was a size GG and now about a full B or C. Totally worth it. Insurance paid for it too. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Can’t wait to begin walking at the City Park again but without back pain from carrying those big heavy jugs around any longer. This article was helpful. Thank you

    1. I’m finally considering getting a breast reduction, looking for consultation in September probably. I’ve been wanting one for about 18 years. My husband finally said I just need to do it. I’m think of going from an F to a C. At first I put it off for breastfeeding children but my first didn’t and if I have another I’m just going straight to formula, and mine didn’t really swell up with milk either so there was no change to mine from pregnancy. I also thought I should lose weight first, but it looks like it’s normal to get surgery first. I believe insurance should pay for mine, I meet a lot of criteria listed, especially getting rashes. Did you get your areolas worked on? Mine are way to big and would like smaller ones to be able to wear more bikinis. May I ask how much it was with insurance?

      1. Insurance coverage varies by provider. My surgery is Aug 18 and my copay was $300. You’ll want to ask your primary doctor for details. It is considered an “outpatient procedure” if you’re able to access your coverage and responsibility information. Hope that helps, best wishes 🙂

      2. Areolas are completely reshaped. Afterward, they will be smaller (Don’t know about yours, but mine were less defined than a lot of ladies’ that I’ve seen.) and they will be made to not only be aesthetically pleasing, but proportional to your new overall breast size as well.
        My insurance covered 80% of the procedure and then with the “pay total up front” option a lot of hospitals offer, my payment came out to about $1,900 (that’s doctor consultation, hospital billing fees, and post-op visits). My covid-stimulus money paid for most of my part. I know a friend who paid around $800 for hers. Either way, don’t do like I did and let money hold you back for years. If you can’t afford it all at once, just agree to make payments on it after you’ve had the surgery. Get what you need first and take care of yourself.

  13. I’ve been dealing with my huge breast for years I’m only 20 and I’m finally getting a reduction in a week from now I can’t wait to have these tons lifted off my chest , I pray we all make a speedy recovery!

  14. Am 59 k am 5’5 wight 256 my wight. Go up and down like 265 and i will go back to 256 i approve to get the breast reduction surgery but they i have to lose some wight be4 that it so hard to lose it one i get crazy back pain and two its infected now my whole breast have theses lil bumps underme please can some one help me dobu really have to lose wight for the sugery

  15. I have a consultation next week. I am 5’9", 190lb and 36 years old. My bra size is a 36I. How long did it take from your consultation to get insurance approval and schedule your surgery? I am not too worried about getting approved, but I am worried about getting surgery scheduled this year with our out of pocket met!

    1. The insurance co got back to the doctor with approval within a week of my consult. I have my surgery now scheduled in October. I, too, wanted to take advantage of having my out of pocket met. As long as your surgeon can accommodate the time frame the insurance company should not be longer than a week

  16. I’m having mine done in November. I’m 5 foot 3 135 lbs and a size 34ddd on one side and a 34c on the other. We are hoping to lift and have a small c on both. Breast feeding and hormonal medications messed me up over the years. I’m so scared but so excited.

  17. I’m a 46 i last time I checked I’m 19 and 266 pounds I really wanna go down do to a DD but I’m not sure that’s possible and I dont know which insurance will pay for my surgery I’ve had shoulder problems chest tightness and my bra straps caved into my shoulders ughh I’m so ready for this disaster to be over

    1. Do it! Do it! Do it!
      I’m 31 and was a size F, just under 160lbs. My first insurance wouldn’t cover it and denied my appeal every time. So I switched insurances (I don’t know where you live, but Aetna was amazing for me.) My new insurance covered it almost completely. My surgery was three days ago so I’m still very bruised and swollen, but within a single day, I could already tell the incredible difference the reduction had made in my back/neck/shoulder/head/etc pain. I had no idea my constant migraines were being caused by my chest, but all signs point to them being gone because I used to have them almost every single day and now I don’t. My posture is getting better because it doesn’t hurt to straighten out. And I actually look in the mirror and see how much better I look and I get really, really happy. I definitely recommend if. I wanna shout it from the rooftops. They are not kidding when they say it will change your life.

      Do it! Do it! Do it!

  18. I’m 45, 5’7 179lbs. and currently a 38 H/I. I think I tolerated the neck and back pain for so long, I started to feel numbing tingling feelings in my back and shoulder. Well, I’m glad to say, my procedure is scheduled for November. I’m nervous and excited. While I’ve always been too heavy, when the girls expanded from the D cups it became a problem. I hope to go back to the Ds. Thanks for all the great info the post.

  19. I’m 23, weigh 240lbs, have only ever known 42DDD since I was about 13/14.. I’ve been looking into getting reduction a lot this last week and am so anxious because I have no idea where to start! Finding motivation to workout is hard because I get so uncomfortable, and now with the holidays coming up.. hopefully by next year, I can have them reduced!

    1. Hi Jae, my name is Jamie. I am the Practice Coordinator for Dr. Sophie Bartsich. I would love the opportunity to easy your anxiety. Please call the office and I would be more than happy to assist you. 646-599-2969

  20. Hi all. 36, 6ft, no idea of actual breast size but they’re huge. Always the 1st thing ppl see. Hard as hell to workout, rashes 24/7, eczema is especially bad there. Even had non-lactational mastitis last year. (As if I needed any other reason to hate them). How small will they let me go??? Say, if I’m a DD, will they let me go to an A?? I’ve put if off for years due to the cost. I left my job (w/amazing insurance) a few months ago due to both of my parents getting sick. Now I have no insurance. Is it even still possible or should I just forget it…?

    1. Hi Courtney, my name is Jamie. I am the Practice Coordinator for Dr. Sophie Bartsich. I would love the opportunity to speak with you and answer all of your questions. Please call me at the office 646-599-2969. I am looking forward to speaking with you.

  21. This sounds like my everyday life. I stuggle with the idea to get surgery. I am nervous to go under the nife and I always think I should just deal with it. I deal with depression and I think it is mostly from the everyday pain I feel from my breasts. I was on the track team u til middle school and coyld never exercise the same after I developed. I wear 2-3 bras when working put and it causes neck and back pain. 1 bra causes headaches abd neck pain daily. I am so happy I read this. It has validated how I felt I was just not sucking it up. Thank you!

  22. Hi all I am having surgery a week from tomorrow and I am getting a little nervous but I know I am going to feel much much better. I am a 44DDD and I would love to go down to a C cup.

  23. I am 18 at 180 pounds, height of 5’6. I believe my Severe back pin is caused from my 40 DDD breast size. I can barley sit up straight because the hang over. I would like to know if my size is recommend as too large.

  24. I just had my second reduction, "revision" and I am so happy. I am looking forward to exercising, other than walking soon and am close to the 6 week post surgery. I feel smaller all over and so much more motivated to lose the extra weight I know I need to. people have commented on my weight loss so I think the illusion of being smaller all over, is correct. My breasts actually sit up instead of droop and I am excited to exercise in a different way than I have been able to before. I love tap dancing and various cardio but it was uncomfortable before. I was a 36/38 DD and reduced to a C and very happy indeed, also had a terrific surgeon

  25. I’m 57 5’4 & 170lbs. I gained over 50lbs when I became very ill 12 yrs ago. I’ve list 35lbs. I’ve always been too heavy. 14 days post op I’m steal amazed. 38 DDD to 36 C that’s about 2.5 lbs removed. No more neck pain!! First couple of days I when walking I felt I was leaning back, that’s when I realized my body had compensated to carry my breast. I my self esteem is greatly improved and I shirts, let’s say I get to go shopping!! 100% worth it.

  26. I’m 2 weeks post op and had four and a half pounds of breast removed. Today, for the first time in my adult life, I was able to buy a sports bra with cups and a zipper at the department store. I broke down crying because you don’t realize how limited you are with a large chest until something as simple as buying a bra becomes a major fiasco. Best decision I’ve made!!!

    1. Omg I totally get it, I just had 6lbs removed and I’m 4’11…I still can’t explain the feeling I have inside. I feel like I’m getting to know myself again.

  27. I will have my surgery in 2 weeks. I’m 54 years old, 5’5” tall and weight 155 pounds. I’m currently a 32H. I just don’t know how much I want to have removed. I don’t want to remove so much that I will be bottom heavy. People tell me that they can’t believe I’m a H cup now.

    I have terrible back and neck pain and headaches. I’m getting the surgery mostly because of the pain and headaches. Is there anyone out there that also has a small rib cage and what has been your experience?

    1. I’m 5’8, and also have a small rib cage. Had surgery a week ago. No one believed me when I would say I had a small chest because the boobs were so huge (I cup). I look flat now I’m comparison to before, but it looks so much neater because you can now see my small waist, but they are still approx a D cup. Haven’t been sized accurately yet. You will be happy with your results, don’t fret about that. I only wish my doctor placed my nipples about an inch higher to accommodate for the sag in the years to come, but I’m happy for now. Al my clothes fit so much nicer and I’ve already lost 10lbs.

      When the clinic fit me with a compression bra, they tried to size me as 38inches around although I made it clear I’m usually a 34, it’s just hard for people to believe your chest is that small. You will really notice it, and love your smaller frame. They can grow bigger, so consider this when deciding how small to go.

      All the best and enjoy your new figure!

  28. I’m 43 5’3” and 250. I have ALWAYS had extremely large breasts since 6th grade. Even when I was 125 lbs, I was A DDD. Going through navy boot camp I struggled. Once in the navy, my breasts held me back from doing a lot of my job. Asked for a reduction and the navy refused because I was 145 lbs. Told me too lose weight and my breasts will get smaller.
    Years later, 2 kids and a lot of weight, and a back injury in 2006, I have Degenerative Disc Disease. I’ve been told that if I could get a reduction and apron removed, I would have greater success with my back. But now I’m so overweight, insurance probably won’t cover it. So here I am stuck with huge breasts, major back problems and too much weight, hurts to get active cause my back hurts and boobs are too big! Feeling hopeless and just gotta deal with this vicious cycle! Any advice?!!?!

  29. Thank you for all the responses in this thread. From the looks of it, breast reduction has changed many women’s lives…for the better! I have my surgery in 4 weeks. I’ve talked with my doctor and I will go from a 42/44F to a 38D and just the thought of no back and shoulder pain brings tears to my eyes. I’ve taken care of everyone over the years and now it’s time to take care of myself. I’m super excited and hope my results are amazing just like the other women who have posted their success! Good luck to all of the women…and their new ‘girls’.

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