Who Is an Ideal Candidate for Breast Reduction?

breast reduction

A breast reduction procedure, or reduction mammoplasty, is a plastic surgery procedure that removes excess breast tissue, fat, or skin from the breast area to create breasts that are smaller or more equal in size.


While many people pursue breast reduction surgery to attain their desired aesthetic, breast reduction is a necessary medical procedure for some individuals because the weight of large, heavy breasts can cause pain or limit the ability to perform everyday activities.


Individuals desiring a smaller breast size should discuss whether they are a good candidate for breast reduction surgery with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Cosmetic surgery like reduction mammoplasty should only be performed by qualified plastic surgeons to ensure all patients achieve their ideal silhouette.

Common age groups for breast reduction

While there is no perfect age at which to undergo a breast reduction procedure, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind when considering this surgical procedure.


Typically, the best candidates for breast reduction are:


  • Individuals at their ideal weight: Although breast reduction is a permanent surgery, significant weight gain or loss in the future can affect surgical results.


  • Individuals past puberty: Plastic surgeons generally recommend ensuring that breasts have not changed in size for at least six months before a reduction mammoplasty.
  • Individuals past childbearing years: While breast reduction surgery should not limit the ability to breastfeed, weight gain associated with pregnancy can affect the size of your breasts and could cause dissatisfaction with surgery results over time.
  • Men over age 50: Some men develop enlarged breasts, called gynecomastia, as hormones change during middle age.


Additionally, because large breasts can cause muscle pain in the back, shoulders, or neck over time, some individuals with heavy breasts may prefer to have a breast reduction procedure performed when they are young before chronic pain develops.

Chronic back pain or other medical conditions

For some patients, electing to have a breast reduction performed has little to do with physical appearance. Those with muscle pain or bowed posture due to breast size are good candidates for breast reduction surgery, too.


Breast reduction surgery may relieve intense upper body pain, as heavy breast tissue exerts constant pressure on the muscles in the back, shoulders, and neck. Over time, these muscles experience micro tears, which result in pain, posture limitations, and nerve tingling. Individuals who suffer from back pain due to breast size may experience immediate post-procedure pain relief.


Large breasts can negatively affect an individual’s health and well-being in other ways, too. Breasts that chafe or rub on the skin of the chest can cause rashes or promote bacterial growth, which can result in infection. Additionally, the bra straps of some individuals may leave lasting indentations or cuts on the shoulders due to the pressure put on the bra by the weight of heavy breasts. Or it may simply be difficult to find the right size bra or other apparel items in stores.

Weight and current overall health

Reduction mammoplasty is a serious medical procedure requiring anesthesia, weeks of recovery time, and post-operative support garments—and an individual’s weight and health can greatly impact their candidacy for breast reduction surgery.


People who are already in good physical health prior to surgery are the most likely to heal quickly and have positive surgical outcomes. More specifically, individuals who eat a well-balanced diet, who do not smoke, and who are physically fit are typically strong surgical candidates because their incision sites are well supplied with the blood and oxygen needed for healing.


A health-conscious person looking to increase their capacity for exercise can also be a strong candidate for breast reduction surgery.


While physically fit individuals are the best surgical candidates, some patients with extremely large breasts are limited in their ability to perform certain activities, like running or other high-intensity exercise. In some cases, the weight of the breasts on the chest can be so heavy that it can cause difficulty breathing. Exercising with heavy breasts can be uncomfortable, and finding a sports bra large and supportive enough for high-intensity activity can be challenging. In these cases, a reduction mammoplasty can increase a person’s ability to exercise and feel healthy.

Other factors to consider

While a breast reduction procedure can help you move past physical limitations and chronic pain, it can also help you achieve your desired cosmetic results. Many individuals are uncomfortable with the appearance of their breasts, and a reduction mammoplasty can help provide them with lasting confidence thanks to a new silhouette.


A breast reduction can reduce the size of breasts by up to three cup sizes. It can also even out asymmetrical breasts and reshape and shrink the areolas. Anyone unhappy with the size of their breasts or areolas should consult a qualified plastic surgeon about whether a breast reduction could improve their aesthetic.


In most cases, a breast reduction also results in a breast lift due to the technique used to reduce the size of the breast. For some individuals, though, a separate breast lift procedure may be required to reduce unnecessary discomfort in this area.

Gain confidence and comfort with a breast reduction procedure

Whether a breast reduction or breast augmentation will help you decrease pain, improve your health, or achieve your desired aesthetic, it is important to put your physical appearance in the hands of a qualified professional with a personalized, holistic approach to plastic surgery. The right plastic surgeon should meet with you before the procedure to discuss your goals for surgery and ensure that it will produce the desired results.

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