Do I Need to Have Lipo Done (Near Undarms) with the Breast Reduction?

I will be undergoing breast reduction in July. My MD recommends to have lipo done near the armpits. This entails a greater cost (my reduction is covered by medicare) I would like to know if it is really necessary, how bad will the breasts look without the lipo?

Doctor Answers 13

Breast Reduction and Upper Chest Tissue

Thank you for the question.

Many patients undergoing breast reduction surgery are also concerned about “excess” skin and/or adipose tissue of the upper chest (infraaxillary) area  as well. To treat this area liposuction and/or skin excision (lipectomy)  may be necessary. If the area is not treated, it may become even more obvious as an area of “fullness” after the breast reduction procedure is performed.

If a patient elects to have the excess skin in this area removed she should be aware that the scarring of the breast reduction procedure may expand to the side (laterally). Many patients would prefer to have the scar (and an improved contour)  rather than the extra “fold” of tissue.

Every patient's situation should be individualized;  discussion with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon will be helpful.

I hope this helps.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Lipo Done (Near Undarms) with the Breast Reduction

Without photos or evaluation, we can not properly guide you. If you are uncomfortable with your surgeon's recommendation, consult with 2 other board certified plastic surgeons in your area.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Liposuction with breast reduction

I am always concerned that liposuction will compromise the healing. Safety is foremost. If a patient wants her bra rolls or axillary folds suctioned, thus can be performed at a later date. Many complaints about the axillary folds come from poorly fitting bras as opposed to an anatomical irregularity. If your surgeon is accepting insurance proceeds, this is a way to make a more reasonable compensation for his hours of work but that should not be a motivation for surgery.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Breast Reduction - Do I Need Axillary Lipo At The Same Time as the Reduction?

Hi lauramor65,

It's obviously an aesthetic decision so the first question is how much does that area bother you now?  It's often "more complete" to do a little liposuction at the same time as a breast reduction and it may help provide better balance if you're already doing the surgery.  It is, of course, difficult to assess your potential benefit from this without seeing a photo or, even better, seeing you in person.

I suspect that you would have no problem going ahead with it if there were no extra charge, so the question is how unhappy you might be if you don't have it.  You could always do it another time, and it's certainly not always necessary, so a lot will come down to how self-conscious you are about that area, both now and afterwards.  And that's a discussion you'll need to have with your plastic surgeon.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

Alan M. Engler, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Additional contouring with breast reduction

In my experience, it is not necessary to add liposuction to the breast reduction procedure.  For many of my patients, this is not an issue; however if this excess tissue really bothers you, then I would consider adding this to the reduction, it does not add a lot of additional time to the procedure, or much in terms of recovery, although there is some additional expense.  You can always have the breast reduction surgery, then see how the area looks after 6 months to a year; and if it is still an issue; then proceed with the liposuction.  I have also added an excision of this tissue when the problem not only is the excess fat but also the redundant skin; in this case the "trade-off" is a rather long scar; but some people are willing to accept this for the improved contour.

Jerry Lugger, MD
Southlake Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Liposuction During Breast Reduction

I typically will perform liposuction of the lateral extension of breast tissue and/or fat into the axilla.  I do not charge additionally for this as I feel it is part of the breast reduction procedure.  If you are concerned about the necessity of this or the extra cost involved, you can always obtain a second opinion.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Breast reduction, liposuctio

Liposuction can be part of a breast reduction. This depends on the particular aspects of your breasts and body. Many people do not need this. You will need to find out what you will can for the increasedndiscomfort..

David L. Abramson, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Liposuction with Breast Reduction

Liposuction of the chest lateral to the breast is often desirable to improve the overall aesthetics of your chest. However, it is not mandatory, and you might experiment by drawing your breast together to mimic a breast reduction and seeing whether you are willing to put up with the fullness lateral to the breast. If it is significant, you will want the liposuction. The other benefit of liposuction in this area is to decrease your bra size..

Hugh McLean, MD
Mississauga Plastic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Lipsuction and Breast Reduction

Liposuction at the sides or under the arms in a breast reduction is frequently done to improve the contour of this area.  I regard as just part of the surgery and rarely even talk about with my patients. It is just something we do and I do not charge extra for. 

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Lipo will enhance the result

The use of Liposuction can reduce the length of the incision and give your better result. It is hard to give you better answer without pictures.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 122 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.