Dr. De Fazio Plastic Surgeon :: Procedures :: Breast :: Breast Reduction in Italy

Breast Reduction

riduzione_seno.jpgBreast Reduction is a procedure aiming to improve the appearance of large breasts by reducing their volume and reshaping them. The procedure also alleviates the discomfort associated with overly large breasts, such as to the breast itself, the shoulders, the neck and the upper part of the spine. Even though not as well known as Breast Augmentation, Breast Reduction is quite common and it can provide significant benefits for many patients.


3 hours
1 to 2 days
3 weeks

The procedure

The surgeon might require a mammography test before the surgery is performed. The reason for this is that the surgeon has to make sure that there are no diseases in the breast. Benign breast lesions can actually be removed during the procedure.

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia in a clinic.

Measurements and drawings are part of the pre-operative preparation. These drawings will be a guideline for the incisions during surgery when the patient will be lying down with the face up (supine position).
The procedure consists of removing both some of the breast skin and the underlying tissue, moving the areola to a higher position and tightening the surrounding tissue to reshape and support the new breast contour, smaller and in a higher position. Drains are normally applied during surgery to avoid serous fluid and blood collections inside the breast.
The scars left by this procedure will become less and less visible with time, but they are permanent. Normally there is a scar around the areola, one in the inframammary fold, and finally a vertical one putting the first to together. There will be no scars above the areola, in the upper quadrant of the breast. Occasionally, a scar revision surgery might become necessary in order to get the best aesthetical result. The scar revision surgery is a minor outpatient surgery performed under local anesthesia.
Breast reduction is on the contrary an inpatient surgery, implying normally staying in hospital for 1 day. The procedure takes about 3 hours.

Preoperative Preparation

The patient will be asked to stop taking aspirin or other drugs containing it 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery.
It is recommended to female patients taking oral contraceptives to stop taking them one month before surgery.

Post-operative care

At the first check-up the drains will be removed. The patient cannot remove or soak the dressing during the first week after surgery. 7 days after surgery the stitches will be removed.

It is recommended to rest as much as possible during the first week and then increase the physical activity gradually during the second and third week after surgery.
It is recommended not to lift the arms over the head for one week and to avoid any strains for 3 weeks.
The patient can have a bath or a shower after that the dressing has been removed, thus normally about one week after surgery. It is anyhow not recommended to stay too long in the bath tab.
A support bra should be worn, to support the breasts as they heal, for about 3 months.

After the procedure

Pain. Rarely strong pain occurs; it is more common to feel just discomfort. Anyhow, analgesics are prescribed and taken if necessary.

Edema (swelling). It might occur, but in modest degree. It starts decreasing already from the 3rd-4ht days after surgery, but it might stay for a few weeks or even months.
The patient will be asked to wear a confortable sport bra immediately after surgery and this must then be used night and day for 3 months. A suitable bra can also be supplied by the surgeon.

Possible complications

Complications are normally rare and, anyhow, responding promptly to proper treatment and without affecting the final result.
Bleeding. If bleeding occurs after surgery, the blood can accumulate inside the breast and, as a consequence, it can be necessary to re-open one of the wounds in order to remove it and prevent any further bleeding.
Infections. They are very rare and, when occurring, they respond to antibiotic therapy very quickly.
Loss of sensitivity in the nipple. This is a rare complication and anyhow temporary, and, therefore, sensitivity will be completely resumed with time. Only in rare cases it can be permanent.
Nipple loss. The partial or total loss of one nipple is extremely rare, but some cases have been reported in the medical literature. In the unlikely event that it occurs, a further reconstructive surgery can be performed to get the best result.
Asymmetry. It might occur in the shape, size or position of the areola. When it occurs, it is limited and, anyhow, it can be corrected with a minor outpatient surgery, which can be performed under local anesthesia at least six months after the breast reduction procedure.

Recovery time (back to social life)

Work and social life should be reduced for at least 1 week after surgery. When the working activity implies lifting heavy objects or, anyhow, heavy work, the recovery time must be longer. Normally, it is not recommended to breastfeed after a breast reduction surgery. Breastfeeding itself, however, makes the breast bigger, neutralizing the result of the procedure. In some cases, breastfeeding becomes impossible due to the removal of part of the mammary gland.
Sports can be resumed 3 to 6 weeks after surgery, depending on how intense the effort required is.
Driving, routine activities at home and sexual activity can be resumed one week after surgery.