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General Information on Breast Reduction

Normal growth of a woman’s breasts begins within the uterus and goes on throughout puberty, adolescence, and into early adulthood.  The breast size is determined by several factors that include genetic makeup, gender, age, environmental influences, hormones and medications, as well as a person’s weight.  Many women suffer from having breasts that are larger than what is proportional to their body frame.  However, development of abnormally large breasts is known as macromastia.  Although, the cause of this anomaly has not been determined, it is believed that one reason for growth of large breasts is from increased sensitivity to the circulating hormone, estrogen.

Some of the health risks that are experienced by women with large breasts include:

  • Musculoskeletal problems involving the back, shoulder, and neck
  • Chronic inflammation and rash under the skin of enlarged breasts
  • Symptoms of nerve compression of the arms
  • Indentations in the skin of the shoulder from strain of bra straps
  • Tiredness and lethargy from carrying weight of large breasts
  • Depression and feelings of low self-esteem and self-consciousness
  • Difficulties in exercising or enjoying physical activities or sports due to macromastia
  • Limitations in finding clothing that comfortably and esthetically accommodate size of breasts
  • Mammograms that are painful and require increased measures to ensure accuracy


Breast reduction, which is medically referred to as “reduction mammaplasty,” is the removal of breast fat, glandular tissue, and skin from women with oversized breasts. Women who have lived with macromastia find that after having reduction surgery, they are able to enjoy simple pleasures that were not available to them before, such as participating in sports or easily finding clothing off the rack that fits properly. Also, breast reduction surgery can help enhance emotional well being and improve self-image.