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Can liposuction be performed for a breast reduction?

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
Liposuction may be performed concurrently with a breast reduction. The outer breast often referred to as the "tail of spence" can be safely liposculpted at the same time as the reduction mammoplasty surgery. Liposuction of remote areas such as the abdomen, hips, flanks, and thighs can also be performed under the same general anesthetic as long as the patient is healthy. We try to contain operating room times to no more than 5 hours under general anesthesia.
Shirley M. Madhere, MD
Plastic Surgery
If you are an appropriate candidate for liposuction of the breast (minimal size reduction, good elasticity of the skin, no medical problems, etc.), then this procedure may be a reasonable option for you. It will also be important to be cognizant of your general breast health (i.e., be vigilant with self-breast exams and current with mammograms or breast imaging).

There are some concerns about liposuction of breast tissue. Is the suctioned breast tissue able to be sufficiently examined for abnormalities? How much tissue is able to be reduced? Does some lifting of the breast tissue also occur with liposuction of the breast?

These and other questions will be best answered in consultation with your plastic surgeon.
Erik A. Hoy, MD
Plastic Surgery
Many surgeons include some element of liposuction with conventional breast reduction procedures. Most commonly, this portion of the procedure is used to address the lateral breast, or the tissue under the arm. In most cases, a smaller, more aesthetically positioned, lifted breast is also narrower. Therefore liposuction can be used to remove this fat under the arm and to narrow the breast. This fat removal doesn't tend to affect a patient's bra cup size, but can reduce the chest circumference (the bra's "number"). Most importantly, it provides a smoother transition between the lateral chest wall and the breast. Liposuction can reduce the appearance of the so-called "lateral breast roll."

A breast reduction performed solely through liposuction is less common. This procedure is typically reserved for a small reduction (a cup size or less) in the patient without a significant glandular component to their breast. Young patients' glandular breast tissue can be difficult to liposuction. Where I find liposuction to be particularly helpful are for small reductions or adjustments to one breast to better match the opposite side. This can be helpful fine-tuning procedure to obtain symmetry. However liposuction of the breast should be used with caution, since the removed breast tissue is difficult to examine for the presence of breast cancer. Also, as with the other areas of the body, excessive fat removal can lead to excess baggy skin and drooping.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.