Is it possible to undergo breast reduction surgery without general anesthesia to cut down on costs?

Is this something safe that any plastic surgeons would consider? Are there other ways to cut down on costs of BR surgery?

Doctor Answers 3

Breast reduction without general anesthesia

Thank you for asking about your breast reduction.

  • No, you cannot have a breast reduction with local anesthesia.
  • The amount of local anesthetic needed would be toxic -
  • Having the surgery with local anesthesia with iv sedation needs to be done in an accredited OR and will not save you money - nor is it possible to do as good a job.
  • You will do best with general anesthesia.
  • The two ways to reduce cost are to have insurance that covers your surgery or -
  • If you are overweight, losing weight until your weight is normal -
  • Surgery in slim people takes less time than surgery done on heavy people so your OR time is shorter and costs less.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Is it possible to undergo breast reduction surgery without general anesthesia to cut down on costs?

Thank you for the question. Although breast reduction can (and is) performed under local anesthesia with sedation, this would not be my preference or recommendation. I find that the use of general anesthesia provided by a board-certified anesthesiologist provides for optimal patient comfort, immobility, experience, and outcomes.

When it comes to cost of surgery, there may be many “variables” involved. The specific surgeon's credentials/experience level (or lack thereof), the specific geographic area you are looking at, the different operations available, the location of the procedure ( quality of surgery facility), type/quality of anesthesia provider, type of breast implants… are some of the potential variables involved. You will find average costs of surgery listed on this website, and on individual plastic surgeon's websites as well.

In regards to outcome of the planned procedure, more important than costs of the procedures will be careful selection of your plastic surgeon. I would suggest starting with the American Society of Plastic Surgery and/or the Aesthetic Society of Plastic Surgery to obtain a list of well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons. Then, I would suggest you visit a few surgeons whose practices concentrate on aesthetic surgery. ***Ask to SEE lots of examples of their work AND preferably speak/see patients who have had similar procedures done. Be very careful with your decision-making. You will find, while doing your due diligence, that there are many different “specialties” who will offer their services to you; again, I strongly recommend you concentrate on surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  

I would also suggest that you do not base your selection of plastic surgeon primarily on costs of surgery; keep in mind that revisionary surgery may be more costly in many ways.  I hope this, and the attached link, helps. Best wishes.


Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,501 reviews

Breast reduction without general anesthesia

Performing a breast reduction with only local anesthetic would be exceedingly difficult. IV sedation with local anesthetic is likely the minimum necessary to complete the surgery in a safe and tolerable fashion. Board certified plastic surgeons are required to use an anesthesia provider for sedation when performing surgery. This provider will be paid by time, so there would be little financial benefit to undergo the surgery with less than general anesthetic.  Most plastic surgeons, myself included, would much rather perform the surgery with a general anesthetic, which would make the surgery much more pleasant for the patient.

Frederick W. Ehret, MD
Tacoma Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

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