Breast Reduction

Central Coast Institute for Plastic Surgery

Plastic Surgeons located in San Luis Obispo, CA

Heavy, pendulous breasts and the associated back and shoulder pain are disabling to many women. Gary Donath, MD and Danielle E. Giacona, DO, at Central Coast Institute for Plastic Surgery in San Luis Obispo, California, are experienced plastic surgeons that perform many of the breast reductions for women living in San Luis Obispo and North Santa Barbara counties. Health plans cover many of these operations if they are shown to be medically necessary. You should ask your primary care physician for a referral to see us and determine if you are a good candidate for breast reduction surgery. Contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Donath to discuss breast reduction surgery, or book an appointment online.

Breast Reduction Q & A

What is breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction surgery, or reduction mammoplasty, is a very rewarding procedure for women with heavy, pendulous breasts that have mid-thoracic back pain and shoulder discomfort. This is known as “symptomatic mammary hypertrophy”.

In addition to decreasing the size of your breasts, breast reduction surgery can:

  • Improve your breast shape.
  • Optimize your nipple-areolar position.
  • Reduce symptoms of back pain and shoulder discomfort
  • Correct asymmetry (one breast is smaller than the other)
  • Allow you to return to a more active lifestyle
  • Give you proportionate breast size
  • Improve your self-confidence

If you’re interested in any of these benefits, get in touch to learn more. 

Are there different techniques for breast reduction?

There are two predominant technical approaches to breast reduction:

Pedicled operations

Pedicled operations are the most likely to help you retain nipple sensation and the ability to breast-feed. These approaches maintain a connection of blood vessels, nerves, and ducts to the nipple as the tissue is removed.  

Free-nipple grafting

Free-nipple grafting is reserved for high-risk individuals and requires the temporary removal of each nipple-areolar complex at the beginning of surgery, after which the provider removes the skin and breast tissue. 

At the end of the surgery, the nipple-areolar complexes are sutured in the correct location as grafts and protected for seven days while they heal. There is no retention of erogenous sensation and no continuity of the ducts, so breastfeeding is impossible. This approach is typically reserved for patients of advanced age, smoking history, long pedicle length, and other high-risk factors.  

How long is the recovery from breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction surgery is typically a 4-hour operation under anesthesia. Roughly half of the patients can be discharged home the same day, while others may benefit from an overnight stay in a hospital. The surgeon is best equipped to educate you regarding the surgical approach and outpatient versus inpatient options.  

Patients typically return to work about one month later and must avoid exertional activity during the first 3-4 weeks while healing.  

Delayed healing is common in smokers and patients with obesity or advanced age. Complications must be recognized and treated by a knowledgeable and experienced surgeon.  

Ultimately, after your procedure, you'll start to feel improvement in your back and shoulder comfort, in the way your breasts look, you'll be able to return to an active lifestyle. 

Breast reduction is one of the most rewarding surgical procedures that plastic surgeons perform since many patients enjoy the combination of improved symptoms and enhanced aesthetic appearance.  

To learn more about the benefits and applications of this procedure, get in touch today by phone or through the online booking tool.