Breast Reduction Surgery

Call for an Appointment 855-855-6484

Breast reduction surgery can help alleviate some conditions associated with large breasts such as back and neck pain, skin irritation, and shoulder strap grooving. Breast reduction surgery is also an option for women who don’t have these issues but are displeased with the size of their breasts. 

Following the procedure, you may experience a new sense of freedom in your exercise and physical activities without the limitations associated with disproportionately large breasts. It can also improve your self-esteem, self-image, and overall well-being.

Find a Breast Reduction Surgery Doctor
Matching Results
Filter Results
Filter by:
Use My Current Location
Located Near You
Loading Results
Showing of Doctors
Load More View All

Before the Surgery

You may be a candidate for breast reduction surgery if you:

  • Are physically healthy
  • Have realistic expectations
  • Don't smoke
  • Are bothered by feeling that your breasts are too large
  • Have breasts that limit your physical activity
  • Experience back, neck, and shoulder pain caused by the weight of your breasts
  • Have shoulder indentations from bra straps
  • Have skin irritation beneath the breast crease
Call for an Appointment

Breast Reduction Consultation

We will discuss your reasons for pursuing breast reduction surgery and your desired breast size. We’ll perform a thorough medical history, including your family history, general health status, lifestyle habits such as smoking, previous operations, and any medications you may be taking. Your breasts will be measured and assessed, and photographs may be taken for your medical record. Based on your individual assessment, we will recommend the type of breast reduction surgery that best meets your goals We will discuss expected outcomes, scarring, potential risks and complications, and your post-operation recovery.

Pre-surgical Testing

You will be assessed by the anesthesia team prior to surgery. This may be done as a phone call or an in-person visit. Based on your medical history, you may be required to have blood tests or other preoperative tests to make sure you are healthy enough to have surgery.


High-quality, digital X-ray images may be recommended to detect any underlying breast abnormalities that cannot be felt or seen. This is typically recommended for women age 40 and older who have no signs or symptoms of disease; however, it may be requested earlier by your surgeon based on your medical and family history.

Health Insurance Coverage for Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast reduction surgery is covered by many health plans. Prior to surgery, your plastic surgeon and his or her office will need to obtain authorization from your health insurer. This may require the submission of clinical notes and photographs. If your insurance does not authorize the surgery, you can still have the procedure for a fee. One of our financial counselors will discuss that option with you.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Types of Breast Reduction Surgery

There are three ways to perform breast reduction surgery.  The most common technique is the “anchor” method.  Breast reduction is also performed with the “vertical” or “short-scar” technique.  Liposuction can be performed in a small segment of patients. The ideal method for your breast reduction will be determined by your anatomy, your surgeon’s preferences, and your desired results.

Anchor Reduction Technique

The most common method of breast reduction involves an anchor-shaped skin incision (inverted T incision) that goes around the areola (the darker skin that surrounds your nipple), extends downward to the fold under the breasts, and then follows the natural curve beneath the breasts. Excess fat and breast tissue are removed through these skin incisions. Depending on your specific anatomy, your nipples may require repositioning and are often made smaller. The procedure typically takes three hours and is performed under general anesthesia. It may be performed in an outpatient facility or may require an overnight stay.

Vertical Reduction Technique

The vertical breast reduction creates a shorter scar than the traditional anchor technique and eliminates the scar along the crease under the breasts. This technique maintains a good breast shape and is best suited for small to moderate-size breast reductions.


In some cases, excess fat may be removed through liposuction in conjunction with the excision techniques for improved breast contour, particularly on the sides of the breast and torso. If the excess volume of the breast is mostly due to fatty tissue and excess skin is not a problem, liposuction alone may be used in the procedure for breast reduction. This is more typically better for older patients whose breasts are fattier and less glandular.


Your breasts may be wrapped in bandages following the procedure and you may need to wear a surgical bra depending on your surgeon's recommendations. Recovery takes at least 1 to 2 weeks and up to 4 to 6 weeks. It may take several months for all swelling to subside and up to a year or longer for scars to fade. Although scars can lighten, they do not disappear. If this concerns you, discuss it with your surgeon prior to surgery.

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals

Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 10 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2024–2025.

Why Choose Duke

The Comforts of a Private Practice
Our surgeons combine the comforts you expect from a private practice with the advantages you gain from seeking experts at a large medical institution. Our clinics are conveniently located and offer free parking.

Size and Shape Matters
We work closely with you to understand your breast anatomy, skin elasticity, and body type before recommending breast reduction to give you the results you seek.

Personalized Treatment Recommendation
Our plastic surgeons help you understand what is involved and help you make a decision that is right for you. Many factors, including medical concerns, and whether you plan to have children, are important considerations. We help you understand your options and ensure the timing of your surgery is appropriate.

Breast Reduction for Men
Enlarged breasts in men is referred to as gynecomastia. It may be corrected with breast reduction surgery. 

Respected Surgeons
Our plastic surgeons share their experience by teaching advanced breast surgical techniques to doctors across the country and around the world.

This page was medically reviewed on 05/04/2020