American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

When is the right time to consider a breast reduction?

right time to consider breast reduction

Studies suggest that the majority of women are dissatisfied with the natural size of their breasts. While some women seek to have breast augmentation procedures to achieve rounder, fuller breasts, other women opt for breast reduction surgeries. Breast reduction is a common goal for patients who feel that their large breasts are affecting their personal or professional life in a negative way. It is also a good option for patients whose breast size is causing them physical discomfort, like back pain or neck strain.

Breast reduction is the ideal surgery for women in this situation because it removes some of the excess tissue and fat that's weighing down the chest. A breast reduction can significantly improve your quality of life no matter when you choose to have it.

Reduction vs lift

Some people may think that they need a reduction surgery when, in reality, a breast lift – to reposition the breasts to a higher part of the chest and create a more youthful, perkier shape – is the more appropriate choice. In other cases, a breast reduction combined with a breast lift may be the ideal approach. The fact that there are multiple options is why it's so important to discuss your goals with a plastic surgeon who can help you decide which procedure is right for you.

Breast reduction surgery has a very high satisfaction rate, as patients are typically quite happy with the relief it provides them once the extra weight is removed. Generally, if you're in physical pain, the sooner you get breast reduction surgery the better, so that you can enjoy a better quality of life.

Continue reading for some signs that you might be the perfect candidate for a breast reduction:

  • You're unhappy about having breasts that are larger or heavier than you desire
  • You're over the age of 18 and your breast development has stopped or you're a teenager who is experiencing back pain due to large breasts
  • The weight of your breasts is causing pain in your neck, shoulders, and back
  • Your large breasts make it difficult to find bras or shirts that fit comfortably
  • You're experiencing chronic rashes below the breasts and shoulder indentations from your bra straps
  • You are physically healthy
  • You're a nonsmoker
  • You maintain realistic expectations about what you can accomplish with the surgery
  • Your breasts prevent you from engaging in physical activity
  • You're experiencing emotional problems such as embarrassment, social anxiety, self-consciousness, low self-esteem or other negative emotions because of having large breasts

Timing breast reduction surgery

Additionally, you need to consider when the best time will be to get the reduction surgery done, so it won't be overly stressful or disruptive to your daily life. Since breast reduction is a surgical procedure, you'll need to take a couple of weeks off from work to recover at home afterward. If you have a flexible work schedule or can take time off during a holiday break, it will usually be better to do it then.

Patients often decide to have this surgery during the colder months because people spend more time indoors and wear bulkier clothing, meaning there's less sun exposure and it's easier to conceal swelling and other temporary side effects. It's also better to plan to have this surgery after you've got close to your goal weight because losing a substantial amount of weight in the future could alter the results. If you plan to have children in the future, know that childbirth and pregnancy can also affect the shape of your breasts.

Is breast reduction right for you?

To find out more about who would be a good candidate for breast reduction, seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area by using the ASPS Find a Surgeon referral service.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


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