After Breast Reduction Will my Breasts Remain Full?

I am due to get a breast reduction in a short while, I am just waiting for my insurance company's approval, which my doctor said will not be a problem due to the size of my breasts.

My concern is that right now my breasts are very full and I love that part about them... Is there a way that they can be reduced to a smaller size and remain full?

Doctor Answers 58

Your breasts will still have fullness.

Don't worry, by the look of your picture, you breasts will still have fullness after your surgery. However, my suggestion is that you ask your surgeon to show you some before and after pictures of breast reductions that he or she has performed. This way, you will get a better idea of what to expect after surgery. By definition, a breast reduction reduces the volume of the breast. However, the goal of surgery is to leave you with a natural appearing breast that fits the size of your body. Good luck.

David Shafer, MD
Shafer Plastic Surgery

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Fullness after breast reduction guaranteed

Given the appearance of your breasts pre-operatively, you are almost certain to maintain fullness after your reduction. However, the amount of fullness will depend on the technique used to reduce the breasts. I find that use of a superior or supero-medial pedicle technique (where the blood supply to the nipple is maintained on a superior or supero-medially based portion of the breast) tends to maintain more fullness in the upper portion of the breasts.

Kevin Brenner, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Breast fullness depends on the surgical technique.

Some of the most common ways to do a breast reduction rely on tightening the skin to create the new breast shape. The trouble with this approach is that skin stretches over time and so you don't get great shape long term. You get what is called "bottoming out"; there is too much fullness UNDER the nipple and the upper part of the breasts look empty.

So I think the best way to treat someone like you is to shape the remaining breast tissue INTERNALLY (after the excess has been removed). The breast tissue and the nipple are moved up and sutured together internally . With this approach, you don't rely on the skin at all to get shape. The benefits are good LONG TERM fullness and thinner scars because there is no pulling on the skin repair.

This preferred technique was described by Dr. Hall Findlay.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

After Breast Reduction Will my Breasts Remain Full?

How full the breasts remain after breast reduction depends on the quality and firmness of the breasts before surgery and the technique that is used.  The traditional Wise pattern inferior pedicle technique results in less fullness than the more recent vertical technique.  The problem with the vertical technique is that in close to 50% of cases it results in residual excessive length of the inferior segment which has to be dealt with at a later date.  Many individuals elect to have a reduction along with placement of implants for fullness.  I personally do not condone this procedure fully because it defeats the purpose of a breast reduction if the reduction is being carried out for the purposes it was designed for.  However, in occasional situations where such a procedure is carried out in our practice I would prefer to do it in two stages.

Ruben B. Abrams, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Maintaining Fullness after Breast Reduction

Congratulations on your decision to undergo Breast Reduction surgery.  The goal of breast reduction surgery is to reduce the volume of the breasts, while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing shape and contour.  Some techniques for reducing the breasts result in a boxy flat appearance. While others rely on internal shaping to increase the projection of the breasts which results in very natural, full and beautiful looking breasts. Consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss what technique they may use. 

Scott Farber, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

You can have it all

There are ways to do a breast redcuction and maintain the fulness.   Dont let your insurance company dictate your breast size...........  it is a personal matter not an economic one.  Sincerely,  Dr Grant Stevens, Marina del Rey, California

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

You Can Retain Breast Fullness.

Express your concerns to your plastic surgeon. 
Certain reduction techniques yield more fullness than others. 
Fullness can be preserved with proper planning. 


Breast reduction, or reduction mammaplasty patients are among the most satisfied of all plastic surgery patients. Large breasts (macromastia) can often decrease quality of life for a woman. With breast reduction, you can have smaller breasts that sit higher on your chest wall. You will also find relief in your neck and back with the decrease in weight and more ergonomic position of your breasts.
There are several different variations of breast reduction, differing by size, and amount of incisions; procedure; and the results. The different types of reduction techniques include: The wise pattern breast lift, the anchor shaped incision, and the donut mastopexy.
1. The wise pattern breast lift involves an anchor-shaped incision around the natural contour of the breast. To most patients surprise, this scar is mostly hidden under the inferior aspect of the breast. However, the scar around the nipple/areola is visible. Most patients heal this anchor type scar very well and are satisfied with smaller areola in exchange for the scars. This surgery is used when there is a lot of excess skin that needs to be removed in order to lift the breast and give it a more aesthetic shape.
2. Often times, the anchor shaped incision can me diminished to create a lollipop or J shaped incision. This results in some excess skin at the inferior aspect of the breast near the breast crease that will flatten out over a 6 month period. Some patients are willing to tolerate this excess skin for 6 months in exchange for a smaller scar. This is a personal decision that each patient can make.
3. The donut mastopexy involves creating an incision around the areola and removing a doughnut-shaped area of skin. This surgery can be used for patients that need a smaller amount of lifting. This surgery results in a scrunched-up look to the breast skin surrounding the areola for about 6 months before it flattens out. Patients need to be understanding and tolerant of this in exchange for an areola-only scar. These patients do run the risk of areola widening as well.
Insurance may cover some of these cases when back pain, shoulder bra-notching, and rashes under the breast are present. Insurances vary though and your doctor can submit a report and photos to see if your insurance approves your procedure.
The risks of the procedure include bleeding, infection, bruising, poor scarring, pain, swelling, and changes to nipple and areola sensation, and rarely, partial or total nipple loss. The recovery time is usually a couple weeks if all goes well. In general, however, breast reduction patients are some of the most satisfied and grateful plastic surgery patients. This is truly a life-changing procedure. In my area, the cost ranges from 6700-8500. Best of luck!

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Maintaining fullness

Yes, your surgeon can help you retain the fullness of your breasts, however it depends on how much tissue is removed. You can also consider a lift performed at the same time.

Make sure all your questions are answered

Your expectations of the result of your breast reduction is extremely important for you to discuss with your plastic surgeon as he has examined you and knows the technique he will use.

Fred Suess, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.