Can Breast Tissue Grow Back After Breast Reduction?

Is it possible for breast tissue to grow back after a breast reduction? I had it done a couple of years ago and now my breasts look like they're the same size they were before the surgery. I haven't gained any weight or anything either. Is this common? Do I need a revision?

Doctor Answers 24

Increase in Breast Size Following Breast Reduction

Unfortunately on occasion, breasts will increase in size following a breast reduction.   Breasts are a biological entity and therefore do continue to change over time.   They will be affected by weight loss/gain, pregnancy, and menopause.  

In addition, there is a small subset of patients who continue to increase the remaining breast tissue following the initial reduction.   Although rare, in this instance, a second surgery may be required.


New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Breast tissue can grow back

Yes, breast tissue can grow back following breast reduction.  This happens more frequently when breast reductions are done on young ladies or teenagers with massive amounts of glandular tissue.  Although a large amount of glandular tissue may be removed with the initial breast reduction, there is typically still a sizable amount of glandular tissue left behind.  This tissue can still hypertrophy, or grow very large, just like it always could before the surgery.  And if you add things like pregnancy or hormones like certain birth control pills, then the effects can be stimulated even more.  I have done many a secondary breast reduction on young ladies who had a prior breast reduction, were happy with their size, and then grew large again.  The fact that your breasts grew without weight gain is very suggestive of large glandular growth with very little fat component to the breasts.

Breast Tissue Growth After Breast Reduction Surgery

It is possible that breast tissue can grow back after a breast reduction. This is more common in younger women. Pregnancy, hormones, and weight fluctuations can all cause breast tissue to grow.

Can Breast Tissue Grow Back After Breast Reduction?

Unfortunately, yes it can.  Sometimes when younger females have a reduction they will get an increased growth later in life.  Sometimes pregnancy or weight gain will cause an increase in size of the breasts even after reduction surgery.

Thomas Guillot, MD
Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Future Breast Sagging Following a Reduction

Gravity continues to have its effect, and there is a tendency for the skin of the breasts to stretch over a long period of time. This can be slowed by regular bra use when upright although 24 hour support is suggested. Although, women vary a great deal in this respect, in general, the smaller the #breasts the less the tendency for #sagging to recur.

If the breasts do sag, further excision of the skin on an outpatient basis can be used to correct the problem. If we try to #lift heavy breasts without making them smaller at the same time, sagging will return soon. One key to a satisfying result is realistic expectations.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Can your breasts grow after a breast reduction?

Thank you for your question.  In short, yes.  Breast tissue can grow back after a breast reduction because the glandular tissue that still remains after your initial breast reduction still has the ability to hypertrophy as it had done so before.  While it is fairly uncommon, this experience is most frequently noted when a breast reduction is performed on a patient who: (1) has very large amount of glandular breast issue; or (2) who had their breast reduction performed before their breasts were fully developed and had stopped growing.  Other factors such as pregnancy, hormones or birth control pills, and weight fluctuations, can also contribute to these breast changes and continued growth.

I would recommend following up with your board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your concerns and the potential need for a secondary breast reduction.  Good luck!  

Breast Tissue Can Grow Back, Usually There's an Explanation.

Most women have a permanent reduction of breast size.  

The few that do grow back very often have some associated factor which helps explain. 

The most common would be young teenage women who have a breast reduction before their breasts have stop growing.  

Also common, weight loss and hormonal change (birth control pills, pregnancy, hormone replacement).  

Rarely, there is no obvious explanation. 

BR

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. Once the breast fat is taken out, it won't  grow back.
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
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Breasts growing again

It is possible for the breasts to regrow after a breast reduction, since your breasts continue to change throughout your life. You may need to have another surgery performed to reduce your size again.

Breast Growth

In general, breasts will stop 'growing' when all other hormone related phenomenon from puberty stop changing. Some women have early puberty and early finishing of these changes, and some women have later and a more prolonged course. However, any changes to hormone levels, such as in pregnancy, nursing, etc. can change breasts, OCP may change growth, certain tumors may affect growth, weight gain will affect size, etc. The breast is composed of the breast gland that grows related to hormone levels of estrogen and prolactin as well as other hormones, but some women's breast tissue have more 'hormone receptors' than other women's and thus are more sensitive to hormone levels. That is why the hormone creams etc do not work on someone who naturally have smaller breasts because they are less sensative to hormones. In addition, the breast is also composed of fat tissue which grows and shrinks with weight gain and loss. Not only that, but having a higher bodyfat % actually increases your estrogen production. There is an enzyme in fat called aromatase that converts pre-cursors into estrogen. So having more of this enzyme can cause your breasts to continue to grow even if your weight is stable. So there is no simple answer here. It sounds like you have had a longer course and are continuing to grow. Only time will tell. The breasts do not know that you had a reduction and will continue to grow if that is what they were going to do before the breast reduction based on the above variables.  If you are uncomfortable with your size or are having back pain, neck pain, rashes under breasts etc. then you may consider breast reduction. If you continue to grow, this can be repeated down the road.
Best Wishes!
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 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.