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Breast Reduction - Bellevue Medical Center

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Posted 10/13/2014

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A woman's breast is primarily composed of fatty tissue and mammary glands. Mammary glands drain into the lactiferous sinus, which connects them to the nipple. The nipple is encircled by a pigmented ring called the aureola. A woman may choose to have breast reduction surgery if she has heavy, sagging breasts with low nipples; breasts that are too large in proportion to her body; back, neck, or shoulder pain due to the weight of her breasts; chronic skin irritation beneath her breasts; indentations in the shoulders due to her bra straps; or one breast that is noticeably larger than the other. The most common method of breast reduction involves making several incisions. First an incision is made above and around the aureola. Then, incisions below and to the sides of the aureola and along the crease line beneath the breast allow excess skin and fatty tissue to be removed. Then, the aureola is reduced in size and is shifted with the nipple to a higher position, usually without affecting attachment of the functional tissues below. Finally, the skin of the lower breast is closed and sutured below the aureola to give the breast its new contour. After a period of bruising and swelling, the incision lines begin to fade and the breasts take on a more natural shape. Following breast reduction, many women experience significant relief of discomfort, and are able to wear a greater variety of clothing styles and can participate in more physical activities. There are several potential complications associated with this procedure that should be discussed with a doctor prior to surgery. For more information, visit or call 1-800-922-0000.