What’s the Best Time for a Breast Reduction?
It can be difficult to know when to get a breast reduction. After all, it’s not as though the processes that cause excess tissue in the breast will ever really stop. Even after you get your breast reduction, your breast tissue will still continue to expand. It will be slow and it won’t always be as severe (especially if child-bearing had anything to do with your larger breasts in the first place).
But gravity will keep pulling your breasts down. So getting the timing right here is important: you want to make sure you have enough time to actually enjoy your results. But getting a breast reduction too soon could mean that you end up spending a few years later with breasts that are too large for your frame (again).
Much will depend on your overall motivations for getting a breast reduction. In fact, determining the perfect time to get a breast reduction will often mean articulating what you want from the procedure.
There’s No One Right Answer
Breast reduction patients pursue this procedure for a wide variety of reasons because they experience a wide variety of symptoms and issues. Some of the common reasons patients seek out a breast reduction include the following:
- Pain and discomfort caused by breasts that are too large for the frame. This can cause chronic neck and back pain due to the stress caused by the weight of the breasts.
- The breasts have become overly large due to pregnancy or nursing. This is not uncommon for women who have been through at least one pregnancy (if not many).
- The breasts have become overly large due to the combined effects of gravity and aging. In these cases, a breast reduction can help patients feel more youthful.
- Breasts that are too large for the frame make it difficult for patients to find clothing that fits.
- Breasts that are too large for the patient’s frame can also throw off one’s proportions, meaning some patients feel self-conscious about the way they look.
- Younger patients can seek out breast reduction because of either athletic aspirations or because the breasts have already become overly large (not all breasts that are too large for the frame are due to gravity and aging—sometimes it’s genetics).
Your motivations will have a significant impact on when you should get your breast reduction.
Timing Your Breast Reduction is Important
All of this would probably lead you to the conclusion that timing is pretty important when it comes to your breast reduction. Obviously, you’re going to want to wait for your main symptoms to develop. That’s going to happen at a different time for everybody.
And you don’t want to suffer needlessly. Many patients use pain and discomfort as a barometer for when to get their breast reduction performed. When the pain becomes too great—or when the patient learns that there’s a solution to this pain—the decision is made to go ahead.
How Should You Consider Timing?
Many patients simply want relief from whatever adverse effects they’re feeling. In these cases, it’s certainly not a bad idea to proceed. However, patients should be cautioned about the following:
- Most patients are asked if they are done having children before having a breast reduction procedure, as breast reductions can have an impact on the ability to express milk. Additionally, pregnancy and nursing can harm the overall results of your breast reduction. These usually aren’t deal-breakers for patients, but it is something to keep in mind.
- Breast reduction recovery is usually less intense compared to some other plastic surgery procedures (such as a tummy tuck). However, you will still need to take time off of work and place a focus on your own rest and recuperation after the procedure. This means that patients need to have that kind of disposable time in order to achieve their desired results. Waiting for this kind of window is an important consideration.
- Breast reduction results are going to be effectively permanent. Once that excess tissue is removed, it’s essentially gone forever. To be sure, the breasts will continue to change over time—both in orientation and in size. But it’s likely that overly large breasts will never again reach the same size as before (except, often, in cases of extreme weight gain or weight loss). You’ll want to make sure you’re ready for that kind of permanent change before going ahead with your breast reduction procedure.
If you’re thinking about a breast reduction procedure, there’s obviously an awful lot you’ll have to talk over with your plastic surgeon. But what you want to accomplish is always the guiding star when it comes to those conversations—it’s always the most important thing.
Finding the Best Time for Your Breast Reduction
It should be obvious, now, that when you’re figuring out the best time for your breast reduction surgery, you’ve got a lot of variables to consider. You’ll have some long-term issues to consider, such as the possibility of having (more) children in the future. You’ll have some short-term issues to consider, such as how you’ll handle the recovery process and get time off of work.
That’s why I’m not trying to be evasive when I say that there’s really not a one right time for everyone. In fact, the only “right time” to get a breast reduction procedure is when you’re ready for it. Of course, then the question becomes: when are you “ready” for a breast reduction procedure?
Different Answers for Different Patients
It’s a question I’m not trying to cop out of, but everyone’s answer is going to be different. The vast majority of breast reduction patients in the United States are in their 40s or 50s. But there are certainly a fair number of outliers. Ariel Winter, for example, is a famous case where a patient was just over 18.
Winter got her breast reduction procedure for a combination of aesthetic and comfort reasons. That’s not uncommon. So perhaps we can boil this down to a formula, or maybe an adage: the larger your breasts, the sooner you should consider a breast reduction.
Once your breasts become too large for your frame—and the pain or discomfort or self-conscious feelings all start—it’s not too early to think about getting a breast reduction procedure. As always, you should check with your plastic surgeon to ensure that your desires are realistic (maybe, for example, you also need a breast lift).
Every procedure begins as a conversation between a surgeon and a patient. The sooner you start that conversation, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy the results.