Women with very large, pendulous breasts may experience a variety of medical problems caused by the excessive weight - from neck and back pain and skin irritation to skeletal deformities and breathing problems. Bra straps may leave indentations in their shoulders. Unusually large breasts can make a woman - or a teenage girl - feel extremely self-conscious. Breast reduction is designed for such women.
The procedure removes fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts, making them smaller, lighter, and firmer. It can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple. The goal is to give the woman smaller, better-shaped breasts in proportion to the rest of her body.
Breast reduction is usually performed for physical relief rather than simply for cosmetic improvement. Most women who have the surgery are troubled by very large, sagging breasts that restrict their activities and cause them physical discomfort.
In most cases, breast reduction is not performed until a woman's breasts are fully developed. However, it can be done earlier if large breasts are causing serious physical discomfort.
The best candidates are those who are mature enough to fully understand the procedure and have realistic expectations about the results. Breast reduction is not recommended for women who intend to breastfeed.