Breast Reductionby Melissa Johnson MD, FACS
Breast Reduction Surgery
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. There are a variety of surgical techniques for breast reduction. The technique, along with surgical approach will depend on your preferences, your anatomy and your surgeon's recommendation. The goal is to give the you smaller, better-shaped breasts in proportion with the rest of her body.
See our breast reduction before & after photos and FAQs below.
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.
Breast Reduction FAQs
All photos are of procedures performed by Dr. Melissa Johnson
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.
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.