Medical Definition of Breast reduction
Breast reduction: Surgical reduction of breast size in order to reduce the weight of the breasts and relieve symptoms from unusually large, pendulous breasts. The surgical procedure is also known as reduction mammoplasty.
The weight of very large breasts can cause back strain and discomfort. The bra straps can indent the skin and fat of the shoulders, producing permanent grooves and even scaring. The contact of the breasts and the lower chest wall can create a chronic skin irritation called intertriginous dermatitis. Very large breasts may interfere with the ability to exercise. They also can make a woman feel "extremely self-conscious."
In breast reduction, excess fat and skin are removed from the breasts. The breasts are reshaped to form smaller breasts and the nipple and areola are repositioned. Breast reduction can also be used to even up the size of the breasts where one is much larger than the other, a condition known as unilateral macromastia (mammary hyperplasia).
Breast reduction is not recommended for young women whose breasts are not yet fully developed or for women who plan to breast feed since the surgery may impair the ability to breastfeed. The surgery may also result in decreased sensation in the breasts or nipples.
The operation of reduction mammoplasty should not be confused with the so called "breast lift" or mastopexy procedure which is done for cosmetic purposes.
Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016
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