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Alternatives to Breast Reduction

By Michelle Powell-Smith ; Updated August 14, 2017

If you are large breasted, you may have considered breast reduction surgery. Surgical breast reduction is a significant surgery with a long and sometimes difficult recovery and may not always be covered by insurance. There are non-surgical or less invasive options that can reduce the discomfort of large breasts and may reduce your need for reduction surgery.

The Surgical Route

Breast reduction surgery or reduction mammoplasty reduces the amount of fat and glandular tissue in the breast. It can be done for cosmetic reasons or to eliminate discomfort to the back, neck or shoulders caused by large breasts. After surgery, you will need to allow for at least two weeks of limited activity, followed by another two weeks avoiding heavy lifting, according to HealthGrades.com. Alternatives to breast reduction surgery can come with a lower cost, less discomfort, and no recovery period.

Consider the Timing

Depending upon your age, breast reduction surgery may not be an appropriate choice. Women's breasts change in size and shape throughout their lives. If you are in your teens or 20s, your breasts may still grow. Also, if you plan to breast-feed, you should consider alternatives to surgery until after you have had your children, recommends HealthGrades.com. Pregnancy, weight gain, hormonal birth control and other factors can all change your breast size and composition.

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Get a Bra Fitting

Finding an acceptable alternative to reduction surgery may depend upon your breast size. The first step should be a well fitting bra. If you are large busted, avoid mainstream bra retailers and opt for a professional fitting at a lingerie specialty shop. A well fitting bra in the proper size can reduce back and neck pain, eliminate the painful shoulder ridges sometimes caused by large breasts and help you to look slimmer and better proportioned, according to the British Chiropractic Association.

Will Weight Loss Help?

Weight loss can impact your breast size. If you are overweight, consider the possible benefits of diet and exercise to avoid surgery. According to Donnica Moore, M.D. at DrDonnica.com, weight loss may result in the loss of up to one cup size. Everyone is different, and the composition of the breast may be primarily glandular tissue or contain much more fat. Strengthening the pectoral muscles beneath the breasts may change the shape and appearance of large breasts.

Less Invasive Surgery

Liposuction is a less invasive surgical choice to reduce the size of the breasts. There is limited scarring and the recovery is easy; however, liposuction may result in sagging breasts with loose skin. This makes it a less desirable alternative to reduction mammoplasty. Liposuction also removes only fat, while reduction surgery removes both fat and glandular tissue.

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