Removal of Excess Axillary (Armpit) Fat and/or Breast Tissue


The breast naturally extends to the armpit, but it usually does so as a small thin tail of tissue. In some cases, a separate and large portion of breast can live right in the fold of the axilla, making it impossible to wear clothing or hang your arm comfortably down by your side. Much as with the rest of the breast, sometimes this tissue is mostly fat, sometimes it is mostly gland. Depending on the consistency and amount of tissue and skin, there are several treatment options available to you to remove the extra tissue in your armpit.

a woman pointing to axillary breast tissue


What is axillary breast tissue removal?

Treatment Options by Tissue Type

1. Excess Fat

If the extra tissue in your armpit is mostly fat, then it may be easily removed with liposuction alone. Small stab incisions can be made and a thin canula inserted, allowing suction of the fat cells for a minimally invasive treatment. In these cases, the skin is not cut out, and scarring is minimal. This approach does rely on the skin then retracting, or springing, back to make up for the loss of volume underneath it.

How is axillary breast tissue removal performed?

2. Excess Gland

If the extra tissue is firm gland, then it may not come out easily with liposuction alone. In these cases, a small incision may have to be made to cut the tissue out and reshape it properly. In cases where the skin is being cut out anyway, then removal of fat and gland can be performed directly.

What is the cost of axillary breast tissue removal surgery?

Cost and Coverage

Unless there is concern about whether or not the tissue in your axilla is unhealthy, this procedure is usually not covered by insurance. It is considered cosmetic in nature, and the cost for removal may vary widely depending on the technique used and the surgeon’s fees. For a simple liposuction case, the price may vary between $5,000-$6,500. For more complex cases including direct skin and gland removal and shaping, the cost may increase to over $10,000. Also consider that in some cases, only one side requires surgery, and this may also affect cost.

What is recovery like after axillary breast tissue removal?


Recovery from this procedure will also vary a lot depending on how involved the surgery was. In cases where only liposuction was performed, you may have some mild or moderate bruising and swelling, with very small incisions to heal. In cases where larger incisions are made and gland is removed, this may be more uncomfortable and require a bit more time. Restrictions in bathing and activity will vary depending on the surgeon’s general practice.

Dr. Bartsich performs all types of axillary tissue removal and reshaping, and she is a published author on the subject.

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