Is Breast Liposuction a Better Option for Busty Women Than Traditional Reduction?

Princess 19 on 7 Oct 2011 at 9:00am

Nearly 300,000 women enlarged their breasts in 2010*, but there are ladies out there who suffer the plight of overabundance - resulting in back pain, breast sagging, and skin irritation.  When one’s cup “runneth over,” there is a an option for reduction that won't leave the telling "lollipop scar." 

Liposuction for breast reduction is a little-discussed procedure recently covered in the UK's Daily Mail.  They say you can get similar results to traditional breast reduction without having to slice open the breast.  

"It’s similar to the technique used to remove so-called moobs [man-boobs] in men, where excess tissue means they appear to have breasts," says Dr. Puneet Gupta of London's The Private Clinic, where it is called Microlipo.

He adds that "on average, the procedure reduces the breast by three or four cup sizes."

Dr. Gupta claims that Microlipo is suitable for women with cup sizes up to F/G - but he has used it for larger sizes.

RealSelf doctors don't agree

"I feel that liposuction alone can be used only for a very small breast reduction where there is no significant sagging," says Louisville-based plastic surgeon, Dr. John Whitt.

They say that for larger-cup sized breasts, a simpler liposuction procedure would not give the same cosmetic outcome of a traditional breast reduction.  The volume would decrease, but the sagging and excess skin would still be apparent. 

To sum it up:

Breast reduction before and after

  Liposuction Reduction

Minimal incisions and scars Won't correct sagging
Less downtime Doesn't help asymmetry
Supposedly less painful Not commonly performed

Traditional Breast Reduction

Removes excess skin Larger, more visible scar
Corrects sagging Longer recovery period
Re-size stretched areola Stitches
  Possible loss of nipple sensation
  Possible loss of breast-feeding ability

The traditional method utilizes various cuts to remove breast tissue and fat – as well as (gasp) moving the actual nipple. The alternative procedure utilizes a smaller cannula, a thin metal tube normally used in liposuction.  It is inserted into the fat layer below the skin via a tiny incision near the breasts.  The surgeon literally sucks out the extra breast tissue and fat, reducing the size of the breast – just like conventional lipo.

*Based on American Society of Plastic Surgeons' 2010 statistics 
Photo credit:  Flickr By horneyslippers

Comments (24)

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I am a teenager (17 years old) and I am facing a problem with my large breast size and sagging. It is very unfcomfortable and I feel extremely uncomfortable in my body because of my breasts. Should I go for liposuction?
thanks, and good luck to you. Funny, I would have been happy being an A after all these years of big breasts. I hope your follow up give you the C you wanted, it isn't so bad.
Agreed - A cup would have been great. I think my first PS wanted to keep my figure in proportion even tho I said tons of times that I wanted to be SMALL. I think the second PS would have done a better job, but so be it. I don't know how I could have gotten thru all this w/o Real Self.
Hi Dixie chick

Glad to hear your surgery went well. I am considering this also. Which provider did you use? Did your skin shirnk back? How long does it take to return to work? Would appreciate your feedback. Thanks
I had vaser-lipo as f/u to breast reduction surgery. It worked very well and aside from the first day there is not much pain. There is discomfort for quite a while - I had him lipo flanks as well and that is what really hurt. IF you're only doing breast lipo, it is not terrible at all. No sagging from the lipo. I am a C. When I am 6 mos. post op I will see if he can lipo out a bit more under local. If not, I'm satisfied and look much better, and feel lighter. Natz: Are you considering reduction via lipo ONLY? or as an adjunct to reduction surgery?
I went to see a local PS. I know this man personally so it was a very easy choice after a very open conversation. he still would like to do a lift but I told him I am not willing to get naked for him again. this is my choice and I am happy with my natural look and No scars.

I was feeling better after a week, and returned to work then. the swelling lasted 8 weeks with the first 6 by far the most uncomfortable. the swelling took a good 6 months to go down. 8 months out now and feel like I sell before my period but daily no issues at all. I am sure I have said it before, I have fatty breast so this was a good option for me.

I do want women to know and understand this is not an instant fix, the healing is different (from what I have read) from traditional BR. the advantage (good or bad) is you can still have traditional BR after for maybe a better result than from TBR alone because you start with a smaller breast.

Anyway, i really am happy, this really was a good option for me. it is not for everyone and I will admit, not every doctor is comfortable doing this, maybe because so many of them are trying to give patients an ideal body. I really felt like my Dr understood exactly what I wanted and my expectations were nothing more than a smaller breast to be much more comfortable and proportionate to my body size.

I finally went bra shopping, I bought a bra at Gap Body (NEVER would I have been able to buy there before) I bought a 34D, my "better" chantelle bra is a 32C.

I know I I am one of the very few that have openly talked out having this, I am happy and I am also VERY realistic.

I hope this helps, looking back on my previous posts, it looks like 2 months for most of the discomfort to go away, 4-6 months for the better part of the swelling 6-8 months only swelling prior to my period.
Happy for you g.f who was your physician?
I am 5 months out from surgery and I can't tell you how happy I am. I did have a lot removed and the first 2 months were not comfortable. I would liken it to being a nursing mom with mastitis. that aside, knowing exactly what was going on, i dealt with it.
So 5 months out I am someplace between a c and a D, the cheaper the bra the bigger i have to go and I am not thinking if I had worn cheap bras before I may have easily been a DDD.
YES, my breast are not "perky" they do sit where they should as a lot of the weight is gone from them and they look like a natural breast with no scars.
Like I said, I could,t be happier, this was the right choice for me, I feel like my breasts fit my frame better and cloths fit better too.
I hope you ladies are doing well, and have found the answers and doctors you were looking for. IF you have done this surgery I would love to hear how you are doing.
That is wonderful news Dixie. It's good to have reasonable expectations. I was really a DD pre-op but poured myself into a D. I did just have vaser lipo as a f/u as first ps did not take enough. I will be a C. Wanted to be a B, but there is only so much lipo can do post op. Good luck, Dixie!!
So, girls - here's the news from today's new ps. He said he can do vaser lipo to remove about 100 cc's from ea breast or take me down about a half a cup size. That would probably put me into a C,which would be fine. He said I'm not a candidate for regular lipo, which I knew. I still have some questions that I'll call them about, and will research it before committing. He also said while my ps did a nice job, he wants to rehape the breasts to get rid of the side-boob effect, which I also really dislike. He was very nice and took his time so I feel confident going w/him should I decide to do it. I dread going thru the process again, but there are far less restrictions w/lipo even tho there is swelling/some pain. My gf said she will stay overnite w/me, which is great. That's all for now = I'll keep on posting w/any new info.

Hey, Fan.  So happy for you that your appointment went well for you today.  I have read the term vaser lipo before, but not sure what that is.  How does it differ from regular liposuction?
I have to reread the brochure, but I think it liquifies the fat BEFORE it's suctioned out. Before, they just suctioned. Less swelling, easier recovery. He did explain everything,but, of course, it's hard to retain it all. I'll be checking w/my regular doctor also to see what he says, but I'm 99% sure I'll go ahead w/it. My schedule is tight now so probably can't do it til April/May. So, for sure not buying any bras yet. He did confirm 100cc from EACH that'd be great. Vaser also is meant for scar tissue surgery, which I'm sure to have. Just on my way out - dinner w/the girls!!
To go from an H to a DD is a big improvement, but I know you'd be happier to be a D or a C. Usually younger women have denser breasts. I'm 55+ with very dense breasts which is not usual. The main thing for me was comfort; then style. I was hoping for the B/C and not the small D. Yes, it was very disappointing, but actually this site has helped me so much because everyone is so friendly and caring. I only bought a couple of bras, but at this point will wait to see what the new PS says. I wanted to get away from underwire, but those w/o it just don't give enough support and they end up being uncomfortable due to the heavy breast situation. I just wish the original PS had taken out more when in there - I don't want to go thru the surgery again either...I hope lipo will be the answer. I think it will be for you if they scheduled it. All the best!
Oh really?? It is so disappointing after you wait so long for something. Did they say you had enough fatty tissue? My problem is the density. My appointment is this Wednesday at 5:45pm so I will post after that. I will see what he says...then probably go to one more PS that my regular doctor said is well-known, etc. I need 2 out of 3 to say that lipo would be ok for me. I really am so happy for you that you're going for lipo. Carol

I have to admit that I am concerned about the fatty tissue.  My breasts are really dense and heavy, so I worry that there won't be enough to really make a difference, but we will see what happens.  I'm also trying to lose some weight.  I've yet to admit this, but since surgery I've gained about 6 pounds (crazy when everyone else is losing weight after surgery!) I don't know how I've done it.  I've never really had a problem with weight gain before, so I'm going to try to get this off and who knows maybe I will shrink a bit on my own!
If the PS has consented to do the lipo he must think there is enuf fatty tissue to take out. I didn't lose an ounce after surgery. Your PS should be able to tell about how much he can take out. If you went from a DD to a D, would that be enough for you?

I know I don't want to go through sugery again so I would be happy with any further reduction I could get without going to that extreme.  I did start out as an H cup, and while I was hoping for a C, I feel a D would be enough of an improvement.  I have had relief from much of my back and shoulder pain, and have started doing some jogging on the treadmill, which I've never done before, so I am happy with that.  At this point I would just like to be able to walk in to a regular store and buy a bra that fits.  I have bought so many bras in the 6 months since surgery and have tried on hundreds and still seem to be spilling out of most of them.  I have ordered several, since I have more size options online than I can find in the stores, and have finally found one that is a 34DD that fits relatively well.  It will be the one I wear almost continually until I have the lipo.  

How are you feeling at this point?  I know you really had a lot of disappointment because of the small amount that was taken out of your breasts for the surgery.  It had to be so frustrating to go through the surgery and only be reduced one cup size.  I have been completely impressed with how supportive and encouraging you have been to so many women even through your own discouragement!  You truly are inspiring!    
I'm glad I found this forum. As Kimmers knows I had a BR in June and was not satisfied w/results. Went froom 36DD to D...hardly worth it, but I did get a decent lift. I am seeing a new PS next week to discuss lipo to reduce volume. Altho my original PS didn't recommend Lipo now due to dense breasts, she said it would not affect the lift. She does not want to do it which is why I'm seeing someone else for a second opinion. I know there is a lot of swelling w/lipo, but I'd much rather have my end result as a B/C and willing to put up with recovery. Dixie: How are you doing now?
I am doing well thanks for asking. I would guess a mamagram would tell you if you have enough fat in the breast to make it worth the effort. I had 600 CC of fat removed from each breast. If you don't have enough fat to remove don't put yourself though this. I had a lot of fat which made me a good candidate.

I am 4 months out, the swelling the first 2 months was tough, painful some days and uncomfortable on on others. This is typical for lipo anyway. I would liken it to stopping breast feeding. It was a similar feeling for me. at my 6 week appointment I almost no change and the swelling would increase as the day went on.

I right now own 2 bras, a c cup and a D cup. the swelling still increases around my period so some days I am a c and others a D. My hope is to end up the c cup at the end of this, but no joke on the 6 months+ for recovery. I don't want to turn anyone off or talk them into this, it is not an instant, but it certainly is an option and at the end of all of this if I still want a lift/BR i am good to go.
I hope this answers some of your questions. I don't regret this for one second. It was worth every out of pocket penny.
Thanksk so much for that info. I am way older than you - 55+, but still have dense breasts, which is why my current PS doesn't recommend it. I will have to see what the new PS says next week. I know it's a long recuperation w/swelling. I heal quickly and have a high threshold of pain. - Never had any pain with the lift & reduction. They can tell via clinical exam if you are dense or fatty...I'll keep you posted. Thank you so much again. I am sure you'll get to your C size! If they took that much from you, you wouldn't need the BR - maybe just the lift in the future, but you have time to decide.

Hi Fan,

I too remain much larger after my breast reduction than what I had hoped to be...still a DD.  I'm scheduled for lipo on March 23 to hopefully reduce me down another cup size or two.  Good luck with your consult this week!

I am going to politely disagree.
I have had lipo reduction only, granted I am 3 weeks out and still swollen so I have in no way seen anthing close to final results.

I think there are women this is a good sugrery alternative to a traditional BR. I think many Dr's don't want to do it because the result is NOT the "breast of a teenager". maybe they would recomend it more as a choice, but perfection is so sought after it may feel like a dr is not delivering perfection. that said not all of us want breast of a teen, in my 40;s I am ok with it. I think that that for some doctors if it is not perfect it is not a sucess, Dr's also know that this is NOT traditional BR, they can't sell it as traditional BR and the back lash of womem wanting perfection is not going to be ther with liop.

you do get some lift but ultimatley you are the same as before but smaller.

BR lipo is not for everyone, the more fat you have the better this will work.but all the stars and moon need to allinged.

This was the right surgery for me, I would not tell anyone that they have chosen wrong. I also still leave the option open for a lift anytime in the future if I still want one.

for me this process has been difficult. there is not a lot of information "out there" like an surgery you have to know what you are choosing and what the outcome is going to be along with the recovery.there is so little support on Lipo breast reduction, I can't find any help anywhere. I love my Dr and he has been very helpful in my recover BUT he is a man.

Kim, I am so glad you are happy with your choice, I would hope you could be happy with me for mine and for other women looking for support in choosing or reovering from Lipo breast reduction.

recovery has been harder than I thought, the swelling has been bad and uncomfortable, nothing tylonol can't take the edge off of, but still, I am well aware all day my breast are on my chest.
I am down about a 1 cup size and I fully anticipate another full cup size by the time the swelling goes down. I started a 34DD with upper ab lipo, back/bra/side breast area and touch up for flanks done 2 years ago. I had 3000cc all together 600cc from each breast, I am going to guess I will be a 32C when I am done. I also don't anticipate too much sagging with c breast, I can't say if it is better or worse right now because of the swelling. time will certainly tell, but the good news is that as c cups they will sag a lot less than a DD's and they no longer will take up my entire chest.
@kimmers25: Its good to hear from someone with experience. thank you I agree with you. procedures may take sometime to heal but you would certainly get better results. Sagging, unproportional breasts would just be a bigger problem.

I totally agree with the RealSelf doctors.  

Being a woman who had a breast reduction I speak from experience.  There is no way that my pre surgery "DDD's" who look the way they do now if I had only had the liposuction reduction.   They would still be sitting in my lap!  Just a lighter version.  Mine needed both the reduction and lift for the best results.  And yes, the nipples needed a new placement.

The scars are not so bad.  They are hidden nicely  under the breasts and are totally flat and faded.   The scars from moving the nipples are also fine.