Skip To Content

    Women Who Have Had A Breast Reduction Are Sharing The Surprising Pre-Op Insights They Wish They Had Known Before Lying On The Operating Table

    "Incidentally, I was later diagnosed with breast cancer, which they caught super early. I think they were able to catch it so early partly because of the reduction."

    I never imagined that the first time I did this post, sooo many women would find solace within each other, learn from each other, and genuinely feel a lot less alone as people who are trying to save their bodies and mental states from the numerous effects of having big boobs.

    A group of women sitting in a circle outdoors on a large blanket

    So, awhile back, I asked women who underwent breast reduction surgery to share their experiences and things they wish they would've known pre-surgery. The post prompted even more people to tell their stories, and here's what they had to say:

    1. "I knew that having the surgery would seriously impact my chances of breastfeeding, but at the time it didn’t seem important. Fast forward 17 years, when I became a mom, and I REALLY struggled physically and emotionally with feeding."

    Woman sitting on a hospital bed holding and looking at a newborn baby

    2. "It was the best thing I ever did (besides marrying my husband, LOL). I wish I’d known how much it would help my neck and shoulder pain, tension, posture, and ability to wear clothes (hi, button-up shirts!). I'd have done it 10 or 20 years earlier. I was a J cup at the time of surgery; I consulted with the surgeon to see if I could reduce to a C, and he said 'yes, but no smaller.'"

    "I was ecstatic. I advise listening to your surgeon's recommendations on this; get second and third opinions too. Insurance approvals can be a pain; go to a surgeon that has a good reputation for going the extra mile for patient insurance approvals (communication, back and forth, etc.). Incidentally, I was later diagnosed with breast cancer, which they caught super early. I think they were able to catch it so early partly because of the reduction (not as much tissue to go through); they had a few doctors that thought that was the case. So, another potential plus."


    3. "I was the equivalent of an I cup, and now I’ve been reduced down to a small D, and I could not be happier. The post-op portion has definitely not been easy, but I’m lucky to say I have a great support system. The hardest part is getting decent sleep and not being able to use my arms very much."

    Person resting on a chair with a blanket

    4. "I had my first of five surgeries when I was 20 years old, going from a 34G to a 34C. I met with three surgeons, two of whom told me I'd never be able to nurse and would need to go down to an A/B to get my insurance to cover it. My doctor said that they didn't know if I'd be able to nurse regardless, so I went ahead with it. My insurance covered 100% of all five procedures."

    "After my first surgery, we found out that I was allergic to the sutures, the stitches, the pain medications, and the liquid adhesive. I had a major infection because my body rejected the sutures and stitches. I had four additional surgeries to remove scar tissue and correct the way they settled as a result. 22 years later, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. My confidence grew so much, and I no longer suffer from back and neck pain."


    5. "I had a breast reduction a few weeks before COVID hit (I was so fortunate with the timing), and it was a surprisingly easy and quick process to get approved (consult in November, surgery in February), and my surgeon is known for getting it approved by insurance. Even though the surgery was technically approved, I still ended up paying about $10,000 out of pocket after it was done. I went from a 38GGG to a 38D.

    Customer being handed bras by employee to try on

    6. "My surgeon took over 12 pounds of breast tissue! If you get any type of reduction, my biggest pieces of advice are to get a kid's water bottle with a straw (they are super light usually, and you won't be able to comfortably lift a heavy water bottle for a bit) and ask your surgeon if you can ice your chest afterward. Depending on the surgery, you may or may not be able to use ice packs, but I was able to, and it helped almost more than the pain pills."


    7. "I’ve had two; the first was when I was 16. I don’t know what size I actually was, but I was squeezing into a 34D. I think I was probably more like a G or an H. The surgery itself sucked; I’d never had major surgery before, and the pain was awful. I had to have tubes to drain fluids and regular stitches that had to be ripped out about a week later. But I went down to an actual 34D, and I was so happy."

    Surgeons in scrubs perform a surgery

    8. "DO NOT allow any doctors in training to operate on you. I was 19 when I had mine, and I didn't know how things worked. The doctor asked if I would mind if one of his fellows (or trainees, I can't remember what they were called) did one of my breasts as he did the other. Terrible idea. They look very different, and you can absolutely tell which one was done by the rookie."


    9. "Plastic surgery nurse here who helps breast reduction patients OFTEN! It's such a great procedure for women whose lives are ruled by their boobs! Here in America, insurance miiight cover reduction procedures, but they put you through the ringer to make sure you 'qualify.' It’s not the doctor who determines medical necessity!"

    A man takes notes on a clipboard while listening to a distressed woman with her hand on her forehead

    10. "At 21, I was a DDD cup, and my shoulders had divots from my bra straps. I lost as much weight as I could before the surgery and got reduced to a D cup. It was amazing! The recovery wasn’t terrible, and the results of a new lift were great. I could wear cuter, smaller bras and tops without bras because of the lift."

    "At the time, I didn’t care if it would affect my ability to breastfeed (one of the risks that were addressed with me beforehand) because I didn’t even know if I wanted to have children. I wish I would have weighed those options better because I recently had my first son and breastfeeding was near impossible. My nipples were reconstructed, and while I do make milk, my son couldn’t latch. I was able to breast pump, but I’m convinced that my slow milk production was due to the reconstructive surgery. I probably still would have had the surgery, but I just wish I had weighed those options better. At 21, I didn’t know how I would feel as a mother later in life. But you better believe I’m getting another lift after I’m done having kids!"


    11. "I had my reduction in 1975, and they removed seven pounds of breast tissue. I have not worn a bra since then, and my life really opened up when I could bicycle, run, and dance. At the time, shopping for anything larger than a D cup got you sneers and raised eyebrows as if you were disgusting."

    Three runners participating in a race smiling and waving at the camera

    12. "I had my surgery at 20, nearly 15 years ago now, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I suffered for years being identified solely as the girl with gigantic boobs, and it really messed with my self-worth, and I deeply loathed my body for my entire adolescence. It doesn’t cure body dysphoria, but it helped me begin my process of reclaiming my body."

    "I had completely dissociated from my body, and truthfully, I still resent having to have a body at all, but removing the main obstacle to me being seen as a person really helped me mentally and physically. My muscles in my shoulders and back are still warped because they never grew correctly thanks to my enormous chest coming in so early, but the healing is happening."


    13. "I had a breast reduction when I was 19, and while it was an overall good experience, there are things I wish I had known. You may not be able to breastfeed later in life. I wasn’t told this, but at 19, I’m not sure it would have changed my decision. Fast forward to having kids, and I dealt with a lot of guilt about not being able to breastfeed. Also, just because you have them reduced, doesn't mean they'll be cute and perky forever."

    woman with in blue underwear on pink background,

    14. "I had enormous, 40GG boobs on a size six frame. Back problems plagued me from puberty. After my wonderful doctor listened to my complaints, she quietly suggested a breast reduction. I met with one of the best men in the country to do the procedure; he was located just across the street from my PC doctor."

    "He explained the procedure and what to expect, and he also showed pictures of his work. I thought about it, had it done, and it changed my life for the best. No more back problems! But my boyfriend dumped me because he loved my huge breasts. I went from a 40GG to a 36C. Suddenly, I could buy dresses and complete suits, not separates. My doctor did a fantastic job; I bet my headless torso is in his photo collection. It’s been over 12 years, and my 44-year-old boobs are still perky and youthful. There is almost no scarring. Screw my now-ex-boyfriend — too bad he doesn’t know what he is missing. My body is now perfectly proportional."


    15. "I wish I'd known that sometimes the incisions under your breasts don't want to heal, and you get to deal with gnarly half-open wounds and silver nitrate for however long it takes them to heal. I hope you're not squeamish, because when you first take off the dressings, things are UGLY. But most of all, I wish I'd known earlier that the surgery would be the best thing I might ever do for myself."

    16. "I had a reduction in 2007 before turning 21. I wish I had had better care during my overnight hospital stay. My morphine tap made me sick, and they weren't coupling it with anti-nausea medications. So I'd be in pain, hit the tap, then immediately throw up. So yeah, imagine spasming from vomiting while you have drains sewn in the side of your breasts for a whole day. Horrible."

    "My only other complaint is nerve damage. Unlike others, my nipples and everything were fine, but healing wounds itch. I itched at my incisions but couldn't feel my scratching, and that was a complete mind fuck. I had to lightly pinch for my body to recognize I was trying to scratch it. Nerves are fine now. I would still do it again if I had to."


    And finally, here's someone who rightfully thinks one of the greatest things you can do for yourself in this situation is to never stop advocating for yourself:

    17. "I had mine done at age 22 and had to pay out of pocket. My insurance told me that it wasn’t covered because the problem could be solved by losing weight. For reference, I’m 5’10”, weighed 127 pounds, and wore a size four. I wish that I’d advocated more for myself, both with insurance and with the surgeon who refused to make me smaller than a D (from a FF; he said I would regret it if I went 'too small').

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Have you undergone breast reduction surgery and want to share your own advice and insights? Let me know in the comments!