Breast Reduction by Melissa Johnson MD, FACS
Breast reduction conveniently located near Springfield, MA
Dr. Melissa Johnson, a triple board certified plastic surgeon offers breast reduction surgery as part of a full suite of cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery procedures. Breast Reduction or reduction mammaplasty is a surgical procedure that removes fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts, making them smaller, lighter, and firmer. It can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple. Dr. Johnson uses a variety of advanced surgical techniques for breast reduction. The technique, along with surgical approach will depend on your preferences, your anatomy and Dr. Johnson's recommendations. The goal is to give you smaller, better-shaped breasts in proportion with the rest of your body. Dr. Johnson provides outpatient clinic services at her offices in Longmeadow, MA. She also provides inpatient and outpatient surgical services at three locations in Massachusetts including Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA, Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, MA, and Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer, MA. For directions and maps, please see our surgical affiliations.
Is breast reduction right for you?
There are many reasons why my patients seek breast reduction surgery and your reasons may differ. I consult with many women who feel their large breasts are unattractive and when breasts are large, women can experience pain, especially in the back and neck. Here are some symptoms caused by large breasts that may be addressed through breast reduction:
- Frequent or chronic rashes or skin irritation under the breasts
- Back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, breast pain, or headaches
- Restricted activity
- Breast asymmetry
- Loss of sensation in the breasts, arms, or fingers
- Problems sleeping
- Poor posture
- Pigmented bra-strap groove
You can see before & after photos of breast reductions performed by Doctor Johnson in the breast reduction photo gallery.
Watch an informative video: "Breast Reduction" by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
What do I need to schedule a breast reduction consultation?
If you are interested in a Breast Reduction consultation, you MUST obtain a letter of medical necessity from your referring provider (Primary Care Doctor, OB/GYN Doctor or Chiropractor) before we can schedule a consultation. The letter must include the following information to support your decision to have surgery:
- Patient must be at least 18 years old (Exception: only a select few insurances allow age 16 and over
- Persistent symptoms, such as headaches, upper back, neck or shoulder pain, bra strap grooving and indentations and rashes
- Documentation that conservative treatment has been tried, such as NSAIDs (Motrin, Ibuprofen, Aspirin) for pain, ointments or powders for the rashes, bras with wide straps, physical therapy, etc.
- Note: your doctor MUST document how long you have tried the conservative treatment as some insurances require at least 3 months
Your referring provider can fax the letter to Pioneer Valley Plastic Surgery at (413) 731-7870. Once we receive the letter, we can schedule a consultation for you.
If you have any further questions or would like to schedule a consultation as Self-Pay, you can call our office at (413) 731-7877. You will need to pay the $100 consultation fee over the phone when you schedule the appointment.
Note: This is just a sample of the criteria from most insurance companies. Some insurances have different requirements. To find out more about your own insurance, please contact them and ask for a copy of the medical policy.
See more FAQs below.
We Love Questions!
Breast Reduction FAQs
Am I a good candidate for breast reduction?
During your consultation, Dr. Johnson will provide you with her expert opinion as to whether a breast reduction is a good option for you. A breast reduction is done to relieve the symptoms you are having secondary to your large breasts, such as back, neck, and shoulder pain. Large breast can also cause you to develop rashes at the breast fold and bra strap creases at your shoulders. Women who have large breasts are less physically active due to the discomfort caused by their large breasts. The risks and benefits and possible complications of surgery will all be discussed. Once you are fully informed, you will be able to determine whether having a breast reduction is for you.
Will I be seen by the surgeon?
Yes. Dr. Johnson will meet with you and she will discuss all your surgical options. Dr. Johnson will provide you with the necessary information so that you feel confident and comfortable with your surgical decision.
Will I be charged for an initial consultation?
No. Your initial consultation will be billed through your insurance carrier. After your consultation, if all criteria is met, we will attempt to obtain authorization through your insurance carrier to cover the surgery. If the procedure is not covered by your insurance carrier, you will be responsible for the surgery costs.
Is the plastic surgeon board certified?
Yes. Dr. Johnson is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and is a proud member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Additionally, she is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, which recognizes surgeons who specialize in cosmetic plastic surgery.
Are there different types of breast reduction procedures?
Yes. There are a number of different techniques that can be performed to reduce the size of the breast. The technique chosen is dependent upon the size of the breast, the amount of saggy skin to the breast, the composition of the breast tissue.
Where will my breast reduction incision be?
A common incision pattern for a breast reduction consists of an incision around the nipple/areola complex, a vertical incision and an inframammary incision. This is called an inverted T-incision or anchor shaped pattern. Another incision pattern is one without the inframammary incision. It consists of an incision around the nipple/areola complex and the vertical incision only. The incision pattern chosen is dependent on the amount of breast tissue and skin needed to be removed. The incision will be closed with dissolvable sutures.
What is the surgical process for breast reduction?
The surgery is performed at a hospital. During surgery you will receive general anesthesia. The surgery will take between 1-2 hours. Once you are awake you are taken to the recovery room for another 1-2 hours and then discharged home.
How should I prepare for my breast reduction consultation?
Research on reputable internet sites such as the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons can be very informative to help provide basics about the procedure and your recovery. However, the best information will be obtained by making an appointment and speaking with Dr. Johnson. At the time of your consultation, it may also be helpful to review before and after photos of patients who have had the procedure. Viewing photos of women with a similar body type as yours is helpful. At the time of your consultation we will provide you with all the needed information for you to be able to make a comfortable, confident decision about having surgery. It's a good idea to write down any questions or concerns you have so they can be fully addressed at your consultation. Know what your surgical expectations are so Dr. Johnson can discuss them with you. If you are a smoker we recommend you quit to help reduce the risk of wound healing. We also recommend a healthy lifestyle to help your recovery process.
Where will my breast reduction surgery be performed?
Dr. Johnson has privileges at Baystate Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center. Both are accredited by the Joint Commission and have been awarded the Gold Seal of Approval, and both are conveniently located in Springfield, MA.
Are there risks involved with breast reduction?
Yes, there are risks with any surgical procedure. The most common risks with a breast reduction are pain, infection, hematoma/seroma, nipple sensation changes, the need for another operation due to asymmetry, unsatisfactory scarring or results, breastfeeding difficulties, fat necrosis, skin numbness.
What is the recovery process after breast reduction surgery?
The first couple of days you may feel achiness and pain in the breasts. You will notice that the discomfort decreases with each passing day. You are sent home on pain medications which will decrease your discomfort. We will recommend that you wear the breast binder or sports bra after surgery to provide support. We request that you do no heavy lifting for at least one month following surgery.
What are Post-Operative Instructions for Breast Reduction Patients? (Download printable PDF)
There may be information here that contradicts information on the general Post-Operative Instructions sheet. Any time this occurs, follow these procedure specific instructions. If you have any questions, please call the office at (413) 731-7877.
- Minimal activities for the first 4 days after surgery.
- Sleep on back for first 2 weeks.
- You may ice your chest for the first week to decrease swelling and pain. Avoid heat to prevent a burn to the skin.
- You may change the gauze dressings as needed. You can use ABD pads, maxi pads, or nursing pads.
- While drains are in you may sponge bath only. Do not get breast wet.
- When drains are removed, you may shower. You will remove binder and dressings. Allow water to run down chest, no vigorous scrubbing. Avoid soap to breasts for 1 week. Leave incision tapes or glue in place, do not remove. Pat dry breast and place a gauze dressing over each nipple and put binder back on.
- You should wear the binder or sports bra at all times for 1 month, then you can stop wearing a bra while sleeping. No underwire bras for minimum of 8 weeks and possibly longer if area under fold is tender.
- Do not raise arms above shoulders for first 4 days after surgery. Then, gradually increase arm activity.
- NO heavy lifting (greater than 15 pounds), pushing or pulling for 4 weeks after surgery.
- NO driving or working while on pain medications.
- You may take Tylenol for pain or Benadryl for itching if needed.
- Avoid Advil, Motrin, or Ibuprofen for the first week after surgery but you may take them any time after the 1st week.
You can expect:
- All sutures to be dissolvable, none need to be removed.
- To return to non-strenuous work within 3-7 days.
- Moderate discomfort which should be relieved with pain medications.
- Moderate swelling of breasts.
- Bruising around breast.
- Some bloody or clear drainage on dressings for the first week after surgery. Wear pad to keep clothes clean.
- Changes in nipple sensation. This should resolve
- Intermittent sharp stabbing pain to the breasts as the skin nerves are repairing. This is temporary but may last for 3-6 months.
Call the office if you experience:
- Severe pain not relieved by pain medications.
- Increased swelling or firmness greater on one side than the other.
- Excessive drainage on dressings that is increasing.
- Incisions that appear to be opening.
- Any red, hot, or pus containing areas.
- A fever greater than 101.5
- Call the office at any time with questions.
As time goes by and you are healing, the following apply:
- Most swelling, bruising and soreness resolves within 6-8 weeks
- Return to strenuous activities in 4-6 weeks.
- Final bra size can be determined within 10-12 weeks.
- The scar will continue to fade for up to 2 years.
Some supplies that may be helpful to purchase prior to surgery:
- 1 box of gauze pads, maxi pads, or nursing pads for dressing changes.
- 1 bottle of antibacterial soap.
- 1 roll of paper tape.
- 1 tube of bacitracin ointment.
We require 48 hours for prescription refills. Please call in advance.
Will my insurance cover cover breast reduction surgery?
If you meet all the criteria of your insurance carrier we will attempt to get authorization from them to cover the procedure. Each insurance carrier has a set of criteria that they require for a breast reduction to be considered a medically necessary procedure. If you do not meet the criteria it will be considered a cosmetic procedure and will not be covered.
Can I finance my breast reduction surgery?
What forms of payment are accepted?
We accept all major credit cards, debit cards, cash, money orders, and certified bank checks, or you can finance through CareCredit.
Can I make payments online?
Yes. You can make credit card payments securely online.