Mon - Thu: 8:30am - 7pm
Fri: 8:30am - 6pm
Sat: 9am - 3pm

0115 962 4535

Nottingham, NG3 5BW

What can you expect during breast reduction surgery?

What can you expect during breast reduction surgery?


Although breast enlargement is still the most common surgery amongst women in the UK, breast reduction surgery is on the rise, with 5,270 surgeries taking place in 2022. For both women and men (gynaecomastia) who are considering undergoing a breast reduction, it is important to understand what will happen on the day of the surgery, and what to expect during this period.

This guide will explore what happens during breast reduction surgery, including what patients can expect from the consultation, and how to choose the right plastic surgeon.

Click on one of the links below to jump to that section:

What can you expect during the breast reduction consultation?

Before your surgery, you will have a consultation with the plastic surgeon and the team involved. This meeting gives you ample opportunity to ask any questions you may have, and what you can expect on the day of your breast reduction. Your cosmetic plastic surgeon will guide you through the ins and outs of the surgery, and the techniques that will be used, which will leave scarring.

The consultation will also inform you on what is expected in preparing for the surgery, including the clothes you should wear and bring, if you should take any pain medication, and what to do during your recovery. For your breast reduction consultation, you should expect to supply a complete history of your medical history, as this may affect your suitability and alter the plastic surgery techniques used. You should also expect:

  • Discussing your desired breast size

  • Talking about any risks and side effects of the surgery

  • X-rays or mammograms may need to be taken

Find out more about what to expect during a breast surgery consultation here.

What can you expect on the day of your breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction operations will be performed under general anaesthesia by a qualified and registered anaesthetist. During the operation, fat, tissue, and skin are removed from the breasts to reduce their size and weight. This desired size should be discussed in the consultation—different types of breast reduction result in varying scarring.

scar position diagram

The operation typically takes between one and a half hours to three, depending on the type of plastic surgery technique utilised and the size of the initial breasts. For this, patients can expect to stay in the hospital for one to two nights.

When you wake up from breast reduction surgery, you will have surgical dressings or skin glue on the wounds, with Electoplast support tape on your breasts. Dressings should be replaced on discharge or after two to three days. You may need to return to your cosmetic plastic surgeon a week later to check your wounds and answer any further questions during the recovery period.

Find out more about breast reduction surgery and what happens on the day of the procedure here.

What are the different surgical techniques for breast reduction?

Typically, there are two different types of reduction reconstructive surgery, which results in varying breast reduction scars.

Short scar

Also known as a lollipop breast reduction, this plastic surgery technique involves two incisions. One incision will circle the nipple and areola area, while the other extends vertically, creating a lollipop-shaped scarring. This procedure is often preferred for large breasts.

Inverted T

Also known as an anchor breast reduction, the inverted T procedure involves three incisions. Similarly, an incision will be made around the areola area, and another incision will be made vertically down. In this surgical technique, there will be an additional incision along the breast crease. A plastic surgeon may prefer the method if a large amount of breast tissue needs to be removed.

Your surgeon will decide the cosmetic technique chosen before the procedure. They will use their expertise in cosmetic and plastic surgery to assess your suitability, and which technique will produce the best aesthetic outcome. Your plastic surgeon will take into account your body shape, breast size, and how much breast tissue you want removed.

During male breast reduction (Gynaecomastia), this often involves removing a small lump of breast tissue via a small incision through the nipple.

How do you choose a plastic surgeon for breast reduction?

Although breast reduction may be available on the NHS, this may involve long wait times due to high demand. Patients looking for a breast reduction may want to consider looking privately, as this may affect a quicker process and the ability to choose who performs the surgery.

Choosing the plastic surgery allows you to compare different clinics, their prices, and services which are included within the procedure. To ensure the safest and most aesthetic outcome for your breast reduction, ensure you consider certain features when looking for a plastic surgeon. This includes:

  • Looking at their credentials

  • If they have any testimonials or positive patient feedback

  • If they have completed the necessary training

  • If their anaesthetist is fully trained.

For breast reduction surgeries, the clinic and practising staff should be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) and other respectable industry bodies; for example, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). The plastic surgeon should have a minimum of thirteen years of training, which should be featured on their website. Patients can check the GMC register to ensure the surgeon and anaesthetist are completely qualified and licensed in the UK.

Stephen McCulley works extensively as a plastic and reconstructive aesthtic surgeon, offering private patients the latest techniques in cosmetic surgery.

“This is just the most amazing outcome. Stephen was recommended to me. My breasts look amazing, clothes fit me, neck better. Cannot say thank you enough.”

– AD from Nottingham

If you are interested in undergoing a breast reduction, contact Stephen McCulley today to book your initial consultation.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to recover from breast reduction surgery?

After your breast reduction, you should expect some bruising and swelling around the treatment area. This will last between two and four weeks. Between four and six weeks, your breasts will be much softer and in good shape, improving from six to twelve months after the surgical procedure.

Make sure to consult with your plastic surgeon on your breast reduction recovery during the consultation.

What side effects or risks are common after breast reduction?

Although this is a routine operation, side effects may occur. This includes loss of altered nipple sensation, bleeding after the surgery, and losing the ability to breastfeed.

Any potential complications will be discussed during the consultation and explained further by your cosmetic surgeon.

Related content

What do you need to do before breast reduction surgery?