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Breast reduction, also known as a reduction mammoplasty, is a custom surgery designed to remove excess skin and breast tissue, creating smaller, more uplifted breasts. Many women undergo breast reduction to alleviate back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, or other symptoms, as well as for cosmetic reasons.

What is breast reduction?

Breast reduction is a surgical procedure to safely remove excess tissue and skin from your breasts to reduce size and weight and reshape the breast tissue. Unlike most cosmetic procedures, breast reduction is often covered by health insurance when excessive breast tissue leads to physical pain and discomfort.

After a breast reduction, your rejuvenated breasts will be of a pleasing shape, natural-looking, and balanced with your figure.  If you have painful symptoms due to overly large, heavy breasts, removing breast tissue can alleviate back pain and increase mobility. Dr. Khalifeh performs custom reduction surgeries to remove excess skin and tissue to produce aesthetically pleasing, balanced breasts.

Breast reduction surgery: What to expect

A breast reduction is an outpatient procedure that generally takes between three to four hours, and includes:

  • Removing the excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin
  • Altering nipple location to a youthful position, reducing nipple size 
  • Reshaping breast tissue to create a youthful, balanced breast mound

Two other surgeries may be combined with a breast reduction:

  • Liposuction may be performed during surgery to remove excess fat around the armpit or breasts.
  • A breast lift can raise the reshaped breast tissue higher on the chest wall for a more youthful look. 

While the scars from the breast reduction procedure will be visible for the first year after your breast reduction surgery, they will fade over time. Dr. Khalifeh places the incisions where they will be invisible when wearing a bra, swimsuit, or low-cut garments

Breast reduction: The procedure

A breast reduction typically requires three separate incisions:

  • A circular incision around the areola (the dark area surrounding the nipple)
  • A vertical incision from the areola to the crease beneath the breast
  • A horizontal incision at the breast crease

Advanced breast lift techniques: Dr. Khalifeh

The surgical technique employed in your custom breast reduction will reflect your current breast size, shape, and degree of skin laxity. The most commonly employed technique is an inferior pedicle technique that is time-tested and results in very pleasing breast shape. The incisions involved result in a circular scar around the nipple, a vertically oriented scar in the middle of the breast, and a horizontal scar in the breast fold.

In less extensive reductions, Dr. Khalifeh may use a vertical pattern reduction with or without a superior pedicle.  This method can limit the number of scars and produce a beautiful result.

Before & After

Breast reduction surgery: Dr. Khalifeh, leading breast surgeon

Some of the symptoms that can be resolved with breast reduction surgery include:

  • Back, neck or shoulder pain
  • Restriction of physical activity due to the size and weight of the breasts
  • Deep bra strap marks
  • Rashes in the breast fold
  • Rashes between the breasts
  • Chronic pain, such as neck pain, headaches and shoulder pain
  • Persistent nerve problems that resulted from poor posture due to the weight of your breasts
  • Difficulty finding clothes that fit properly
  • Stretch marks
  • Low self-esteem
  • Unwelcome attention

Recovery after breast reduction

The recovery after breast reduction is relatively short with most patients returning to work or other activities within a week to ten days. A drain is not usually required, but that decision is made based on the amount of resection and surrounding lymphatic tissue. The use of your arms will be limited during the healing period, and no heavy lifting is allowed. A sports bra or surgical bra must be worn for two weeks, and an antibiotic and pain medication will be prescribed.

A breast reduction is typically an outpatient surgery, performed at our accredited, private surgical facility. You will be free to return home following your procedure, under the care of another adult. You will be wearing a surgical bra or bandages (gauze dressing) around your chest and breasts. You will need to wear the surgical bra or a soft, supportive bra for several weeks. Within two weeks, much of the bruising and swelling will have dissipated.

You may temporarily experience a loss of sensation to your nipples or breasts in general. Over time, the sensation typically returns. The stitches will be removed a couple of weeks after your breast reduction procedure. Most women experience an increase in their self-esteem following breast reduction surgery. They may also be able to participate in activities that were previously uncomfortable for them.

Am I a candidate for breast reduction?

The best candidates for breast reduction are women who suffer from the pain and discomfort of excessively large breasts and are ready to make a change for the better. However, a breast reduction might not be for you if:

  • You have pre-existing health conditions that could hinder the recovery process
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding, or you think you may be pregnant
  • You are an active smoker 

When you have your consultation, Dr. Khalifeh will review your medical history, perform a breast exam, and discuss your goals to determine whether a breast reduction is right for you. Dr. Khalifeh may also request a mammogram prior to surgery to ensure your safety.

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Before your breast reduction procedure

Some vital steps to take before arriving for breast reduction surgery include:

  • Be sure you arrange for someone to drive you to and from our Washington DC facility for your breast reduction surgery
  • Ask a friend or family member to stay with you to help you for the first night after your breast reduction surgery
  • A few days before your breast reduction procedure, Dr. Khalifeh may request that you discontinue taking supplements and medications that can increase bleeding

Contact us to schedule a consultation today

The most important factor in any cosmetic surgery is the skill and experience of the surgeon. Patients routinely pick Dr. Khalifeh after interviewing surgeons for several reasons:

  • He is a double board-certified surgeon
  • His record of success and safely performed procedures inspires confidence
  • The results of his procedures look, feel, and are natural
  • He treats his patients with compassion and care, making them feel comfortable
  • He is an Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Cosmetic Surgery
  • Education Program at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Plastic Surgery

Contact us today at (301) 244-0148 to schedule a consultation.


Are there any risks associated with breast reduction?

As with any surgery, there is a slight risk of complications. Breast reduction procedures are, however, one of the safest procedures available. Dr. Khalifeh is happy to address any concerns and answer any questions you have about your breast reduction surgery at our Washington DC office. Some of the known complications include: Infection, bleeding, loss of nipple skin or sensation, scarring, negative reactions to medications, breathing problems (pneumonia), heart problems, scars that take a substantial amount of time to heal, differences in the size of the breasts, and uneven nipple position.

When will I see results?

You will see results immediately following the procedure, though your final look will require several weeks, as swelling fades. The surgical scars fade with time, and most patients report that after one to two years, the scars are barely detectable.

Is breast reduction painful?

Breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia, so you will be asleep the entire time and experience no pain during the surgery.

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