Breast Reduction FAQs

Breast Reduction Questions & Answers

Also known as breast mammaplasty, breast reduction surgery is performed on women with large breasts in order to alleviate pain symptoms in the body, usually in the back, neck or shoulder areas. Learn the answers to frequently asked questions about breast reduction surgery. 

Following breast reduction surgery, tubes may be placed under each arm to drain any excess fluid. To decrease your risk of infection, your Mercy doctor may also prescribe pain medication and antibiotics. You may also need to wear a compression bra to help protect your breasts. 

Breastfeeding after a breast reduction surgery can be more difficult for some patients. This is because your Mercy surgeon may remove the glandular tissue and ducts responsible for transporting milk to the nipple for feeding. 

Breast reduction surgery does carry some risks. The most common include infection, bleeding and adverse reaction to anesthesia. Other risks can include loss of sensation around the nipples, scarring and difficulty breastfeeding. 

Generally speaking, breast reduction surgery is covered by insurance if there is documentation of the existence of pain caused by large breasts. If you’ve sought out physical therapy or orthopedic consultation in the past, insurance may cover your procedure. 

Recovery times for breast reduction surgery differ based on each individual but expect to avoid regular activities for at least several weeks. You may also need to avoid vigorous activity and exercise for longer. Talk to your Mercy doctor before your surgery so you know what to expect. 

Your breast reduction surgery usually takes anywhere from 3 to 5 hours. Depending on your specific surgery, you may be asked to stay in the hospital overnight for observation or you may be discharged immediately following your procedure. 

During breast reduction surgery, your Mercy surgeon will usually make a small incision near the areola on each breast and work to remove excess tissue, fat and skin to reduce the size of each breast. Drains may be placed at the point of incision to help clear bodily fluids.