Breast Reduction Procedure

How Is the Breast Reduction Procedure Performed?

Every patient has unique needs and aesthetic goals, which is why our breast reduction surgeon, Dr. Neil Zemmel, customizes the specifics of each procedure according to the patient. Although the overall goal of different breast reductions may be the same – to create a smaller breast that is higher and “perkier” on the chest – the surgical technique to achieve this outcome will differ from patient to patient. Each technique has the potential to provide beautiful results for the right candidates, and the best one for you will be determined at your consultation.

Every breast reduction is tailored to accommodate the needs and desires of the patient. The most suitable technique will depend upon a number of factors, which your surgeon will discuss in detail with you.

To begin your breast reduction, your surgeon will make either a vertical or wise pattern incision. The appropriate amount of breast tissue is then removed, often with the help of liposuction, and excess skin is excised. This not only reduces the size, but also reshapes the breast. To conclude your procedure, the nipple and areola are lifted, and the incisions are closed. Read more about Dr. Zemmel’s breast reduction techniques below.

I thought Dr. Zemmel did a great job. He and Emily did a great job of informing me of the surgery and recovery process. I liked that Dr. Zemmel’s practice requires you to stay in the hospital overnight (for a breast reduction) and can’t imagine having gone through that as out-patient surgery! Not once did he make me feel pushed to do more/different surgeries, and was very honest about what he would be able to accomplish. Overall, Dr. Zemmel exceeded my expectations for the surgery results. I would definitely recommend his practice for any breast reduction surgery.


May 10, 2012


What Are the Different Breast Reduction Techniques?

Vertical Breast Reduction

breast-red2-300x165A vertical breast reduction is ideal for those who need a moderate amount of breast tissue removed and have little excess skin and nipple sagging (ptosis). This techniques involves an incision made around the areola and vertically down the center of the breast, which creates a scar pattern that resembles a lollipop. Recovery tends to be easier for patients undergoing the vertical breast reduction, as an incision is not made beneath the breast in the natural fold.

For women with more significant breast sagging and an especially low nipple/areola, the vertical incision may not provide enough lift. These patients often benefit more from a wise pattern technique for optimal results.

Wise Pattern Breast Reduction

breast-reduction-300x156A wise pattern breast reduction – also known as a full reduction pattern – is typically the best option for those who need a large amount of excess breast tissue and skin removed. For this technique, an incision is made around the areola, extending upwards as well as horizontally under the breast. This provides a more powerful lift by maximizing the amount of tissue to be removed while achieving the most aesthetic outcome. The wise pattern reduction is also called an “upside down T” or anchor pattern due to the shape of the incision.

Breast Reduction with Liposuction

Liposuction is often used for both women and men wishing to reduce the size of their breasts. This is because the technique can effectively remove fatty tissue between the skin and muscle layers through small incisions. The purpose of using liposuction as part of a breast reduction is to remove excess fatty and breast tissue, which leads to the skin redraping over the remaining tissue. This can improve the shape of the breasts as it reduces their size. Liposuction is the most common method for treating male breast enlargement (gynecomastia).

How Long Does Breast Reduction Surgery Take?

The breast reduction procedure takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to complete. The total time you are in surgery will ultimately depend upon the details of your surgical plan. Once your procedure has been planned, Dr. Zemmel can give you an estimate for how long you can expect to be in surgery.

How Painful Is a Breast Reduction?

It is normal to experience some pain and discomfort after breast reduction, due to the incisions healing and breast tissue recovering from trauma during surgery. Any pain you have during your recovery should be able to be well-managed with pain medication prescribed to you prior to surgery.

Is Breast Reduction Surgery Safe?

When performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon, breast reduction is considered a safe procedure. Keep in mind, however, there are risks to breast reduction, as with any surgery. Our team will explain these to you in detail to ensure you understand the potential complications that can arise. It is important that you follow your surgeon’s pre- and post-operative instructions to minimize the risks associated with you reduction.

Is It Possible to Get a Breast Reduction Without Surgery?

Breast size can increase or decrease over time as the amount of glandular tissue and fatty tissue can change. With this in mind, patients may find that the natural aging process or certain lifestyle changes can have an effect on their enlarged breasts. Although a significant breast reduction is not typically possible without surgery, losing weight can help some patients. Breastfeeding is another situation where women may notice some loss in breast volume, though this may also lead to sagging. In the end, any major changes to your health habits should be supervised by a physician. To determine the best method of breast reduction for your needs, you should discuss your options with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Can I Get a Breast Reduction and Lift at the Same Time?

Having excess breast tissue tends to stretch the skin and ligaments, which is why many patients require a breast lift in addition to their reduction surgery to achieve their desired outcome. When evaluating a patient and their candidacy for a reduction, Dr. Zemmel considers the amount of ptosis they have, which helps him determine the best surgical technique to employ. For those with very little sagging, a vertical breast reduction is typically recommended. For patients with more significant sagging, a wise pattern reduction is more appropriate.

What Complications Are Associated with Breast Reduction?

Although rare, complications can occur during and after breast reduction surgery, which is why it is essential that you seek the expertise of a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. These professionals uphold the highest safety and care standards. Dr. Zemmel will go over the possible complications that can occur with your breast reduction surgery, allowing you to make an informed decision about your care. These may include:

Our team makes every effort to reduce your risk of developing complications. Should one develop, they will do everything possible to help correct the issue.

Schedule Your Consultation

To learn which technique(s) can help you achieve your goal outcome, please contact us to schedule your consultation.