Can You Reduce Breast Size Without Surgery?
Having ample breasts isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. In fact, having large, heavy breasts can be a literal pain for many women, causing chronic back, neck and shoulder problems or unwanted stares on a day-to-day basis.
If you would like nothing more than to get smaller, lighter breasts, chances are you would love to find a way to do it without surgery. This is understandable—breast reduction surgery is a big step. However, despite cosmetic treatments making leaps and bounds in terms of non-surgical options for the face and body, we haven’t yet found a safe, effective non-surgical solution to change breast size.
Don’t bother with pills, creams, and magic potions
Unfortunately, almost every “natural breast reduction” gimmick you’ll come across is just that—a gimmick. For the sake of your health (and your pocketbook) don’t bother with the following:
- Breast reduction pills. These products, which are not regulated by the FDA for safety and efficacy, raise serious red flags. Most contain a mix of diuretics, caffeine, and other stimulants—similar to diet pills. Any effect they have on breast size is due to weight loss, but this comes at a potentially high cost: potent stimulants such as these can lead to serious heart problems.
- Slimming/firming creams. Topical creams may be a little less dangerous than pills, but no more effective for breast reduction—they scarcely do more than temporarily moisturize skin. No matter what a manufacturer claims, there is no topical product that can effectively burn fat. If there was, you can bet we would all know—it would be all over the news.
- Herbal supplements containing ginger, green tea, flaxseed, etc. These are wonderful foods to include in a healthy diet, but don’t expect them to help you get smaller breasts! There is some research suggesting that compounds found in ginger and green tea play a role in fat metabolism; however, there is no evidence that these or any other “fat-burning” foods, such as flaxseed and fish oil, can specifically reduce breast size.
What about weight loss for breast reduction?
Weight loss can result in smaller breasts if you are carrying excess weight in general and your breasts contain a lot of fatty tissue.
That said, losing weight solely in an effort to reduce breast size isn’t advisable. First, if you are already fairly lean, losing more weight could negatively impact your health. Second, the effect on your breasts is not going to be predictable: if your breasts contain a higher ratio of glandular and fibrous tissue to fat, losing weight may not help much at all. Finally, losing significant weight often leads to breast sagging, as the breasts lose volume, but excess skin remains behind (and breast lift surgery is the only way to address this).
Surgery is the one breast reduction method that does work
Breast reduction surgery is currently the only safe, effective way to get smaller, lighter breasts. While breast reduction does involve anesthesia, incisions, and downtime, most of patients agree it is well worth it. Consider the benefits:
- You can choose how much to reduce your breasts. A skilled, experienced plastic surgeon can achieve a new, smaller breast size that alleviates symptoms, looks natural to your body proportions, and meets your expectations. Plus, you’ll get a breast lift as part of the procedure.
- Surgery can immediately alleviate back, neck and shoulder pain. Patients who have spent many years and thousands of dollars on massage, chiropractic therapy, and special bras often experience immediate relief of their symptoms. Once expected post-operative swelling and soreness have resolved, they feel even better.
- You’ll get a breast lift at the same time. Breast reduction reduces size and reshapes the breast, raising the nipple and areola and addressing significant breast asymmetry to create an aesthetically pleasing breast contour all around.
- Many patients return to work as soon as 1 week after surgery. Following breast reduction, most patients are ready to return to a desk job after just a few days at home. While those with physically active jobs do need to take a longer break from work, the majority are pleasantly surprised how quickly they get back to their day-to-day routines.
- Breast reduction is usually a “one and done” procedure. Excess skin, glandular tissue and fat cells removed during surgery will not come back as long as you maintain a healthy, stable weight. Just keep in mind that remaining fat cells in the breasts can grow and shrink with weight changes, and future pregnancy will likely impact surgical results.
- Today’s techniques preserve breastfeeding ability whenever possible. Sometimes there is no way to avoid interfering with milk ducts when reducing the breasts. However, often we can keep these tissues intact when relocating the nipple/areola, and many patients go on to breastfeed successfully after breast reduction.
Get to know your options for Asheville breast reduction surgery
The best way to learn more about how to reduce breast size safely and effectively is to meet with an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon. If you are in the Asheville area, please contact us! Dr. Donald Conway has over 20 years of experience performing breast reduction for patients from many different backgrounds. Whether you want to resolve neck, back and shoulder pain once and for all, or you would simply be happier with smaller breasts, he will listen and help you find the right option to achieve your goals.