Breast Procedures » Breast Reduction

Breast Reduction by female Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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Breast Reduction a.k.a. Reduction Mammaplasty 

Breast reduction is one of my most frequently performed procedures and one of my favorite procedures because the patient satisfaction rate is so high.  This operation makes the patient look, feel and function better. It’s not that unusual for a post-op breast reduction patient to start doing cool things like the Seattle to Portland bike race or the Seafair Triathlon.

Breast Reduction

Quick facts:

  • Costs:  $9500 – $13,000 depending on the amount of breast tissue removed and length of surgery.
  • Post-operative pain:  moderate.
  • Time off work or school: 2 weeks.
  • Time off driving:  5 – 10 days or once you are off narcotic pain meds.
  • Time off the gym:  4 weeks.
  • Time off the slopes:  6 weeks.
  • Time off the kite board: 8 weeks.
  • How long  a breast reduction lasts: forever unless there is subsequent childbearing and/or weight gain.
  • Patient satisfaction:  very, very high.

A few before and afters are worth a thousand words.  Check out my photo gallery of breast reductions.

And here’s the fine print:

Breast reduction is performed to reduce the weight of the breasts and provide some relief from the back, neck and shoulder pain many large breasted women experience. I lift and reshape the breast at the time of reduction and the improved appearance of the breast is an added benefit. Many patients trade in their Seattle uniform of a down vest for something a little more form fitting after surgery.

I perform breast reduction in my AAAASF certified Seattle office operating room or at Seattle Surgery Center which is one block from my office building.  Patients are under a general anesthetic.  Almost all patients can go home the day of surgery. Most patients take one to two weeks off following surgery, depending on their occupation. Although most patients are up and about and doing light household tasks within a day or two of surgery, I ask that patients avoid lifting or reaching and strenuous activities for several weeks following the surgery. I have patients wear a sports bra for about three weeks and then get fitted for a new bra by an experienced fitter, usually at Nordstrom.

I almost always can use a vertical breast reduction technique that preserves nipple sensation and eliminates or minimizes the long horizontal scar under the breast. That long horizontal scar can be a real bummer on one of our rare warm and sunny Seattle days that just begs for a halter-top. Rarely, if a patient’s breasts are really huge and/or very ptotic (saggy), a “nipple graft” procedure is necessary. This results in permanently numb nipples. I do measurements at the time of the initial consultation and discuss which technique is best suited for you.

Breast reduction leaves scars on the breasts. Fortunately, these scars usually “settle down” after 9 to 12 months. The scars are located on the lower part of the breast and easily concealed by normal clothing, undergarments and swimwear. At the time of your consultation, I show examples of postoperative scars so patients will know what to expect. I have a scar reduction plan that all of my patients get started on within a few days of surgery. Most patients feel the scars are a small price to pay for the benefits they gain from breast reduction.

The benefits from breast reduction are usually long lasting. Weight gain and pregnancy can affect the size and shape of the breast. This surgery is best done in patients who are at a stable weight and are done with childbearing. There are some young women, however, who are so troubled by their large breasts, that they elect to have the surgery done with the knowledge that they will not be able to breast feed and that their breasts may change with pregnancy. These are issues I discuss with the patient to assist in their decision about surgery.

If a patient is seeking a female, woman or lady plastic surgeon in Seattle, I certainly qualify. I understand “breast issues” and know how challenging navigating the lingerie department can be! I think my part time job after retirement will be the nice older “bra lady” at Nordstrom!

Some insurance companies cover breast reduction if it is done for back, neck and shoulder pain and if a minimum amount is removed (usually about one pound from each breast).    Insurance companies will make you jump through many hoops and provide documentation of failed “conservative” treatment.   They may want “proof” that a patient has tried supportive bras, NSAIDs, physical therapy, etc. even though to my knowledge none of those things makes breasts smaller!  I do not contract with insurance companies or any third party payers which means I require payment of my surgeon’s fee prior to surgery and then the patient can go to their insurance company for reimbursement. You are on your own here.  Please do not ask me or my staff to go to bat for you.  If you want to have your procedure covered by insurance, you should call your insurance company and ask for a list of plastic surgeons who are participating providers.  There are many, many plastic surgeons who contract with insurance companies but I am not one of them!   You may ask why I do not contract with insurance companies.  The answer is the same reason I don’t bang my head against the wall any more.  It was too painful and made me crazy.

To schedule a consultation with me, please call 206 467-1101.

Interested in an out-of-town consultation?

Check out my blogs about breast reduction.

Please read: Why I don’t contract with insurance companies