Breast Reduction

This information booklet will help you and your family to understand breast reduction surgery and what to expect before and after the surgery.

To request a printed copy of the guide, please email the Secretariat or download a PDF of the guide click here.  Please be aware we can only send out up to 50 copies at a time.

Guide updated 2017

Why consider breast reduction 

Some women have great difficulty with their large breasts, especially if they are out of
proportion to their overall figure. The symptoms and problems women may suffer from include:

‣ Pain in the back, neck, shoulder and breast
‣ Grooving of the shoulders caused by bra straps
‣ Inflamed reddened skin under the breast
‣ Difficulty finding a suitable bra that fits and supports the breast correctly
‣ Difficulty finding clothes that fit – often needing much larger size tops compared to bottoms
‣ Difficulty undertaking exercise owing to pain and discomfort caused by the movement of their heavy breasts
‣ A loss of confidence in their appearance and feeling people are staring at their bust.

Breast reduction surgery may help control these symptoms, if large breasts are the main cause. For example, back pain may be due to other causes.

Are there alternatives to surgery

All surgery involves some risk. Weight loss may reduce breast size and, having reduced weight (a guideline body mass index is 27 or less), some women may find they do not need surgery. Correctly fitting underwear and clothing can improve comfort and appearance. Cognitive behavioural therapy can be effective for body image problems.

Your consultation


Ensure your consultation is with an accredited plastic surgeon who is on the GMC specialist register for plastic surgery, or a breast surgeon who has been certified in breast reduction surgery by the Royal College of Surgeons of England in its certification scheme due to be introduced in 2017.

Expect your surgeon to ask you about your general health, what symptoms you suffer from and what concerns you have about the size and shape of your bust. The surgeon will need to examine your bust and your overall figure to assess your proportions.

If, after careful assessment, you are suitable for breast reduction surgery expect to discuss the type of surgery, principles of the operation, likely outcomes and potential risks of surgery.

You may have more than one consultation. It is very difficult to take on board all the information at just one consultation, and it is important that you have time to think about the information you have heard and a chance to ask any questions.

Key points to discuss include:

‣ Your expectations and the expected outcomes of surgery
‣ The benefits to you of the surgery
‣ Any risks, complications or limitations – please see page 9
‣ Any family history of breast cancer.

Read more 

About the operation 
The surgery and recovery 
Risks and complications
Further information 
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