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Breast reduction surgery after care

Nov 2010

I am going to have a breast reduction surgery in a couple of months. For reasons too long to explain I need the surgery to be at the time it's been scheduled for. However, my problem is that at that time my partner will be out of town on business for about a month. I don't have family in the area so I will have to be on my own. I will get a friend to drive me to the hospital when necessary but I won't have anyone to stay at home with me (although I will have an emergency contact in case I need urgent help). So my question is: how much help will I need right after the surgery? Can I do it on my own? And, I keep on reading that you can't lift your arms above your head for a while. How do you do your hair?! I also know I can't do any heavy lifting or pushing, but will I be able to do the normal necessary things after a couple of days? The first couple of days I'm planning on having meals ready and all my laundry done and so on. But, how much of the daily things will I be able to do? Thanks, anon


You need someone for the first 72 hours around. there will be a lot you can't do for the first couple weeks. Most doctor's have nurses who moonlight( my mom did) as care providers if you slate a Friday procedure, good luck. anon wife
There is a wonderful website that covers this surgery, as well as other breast issues: breasthealthonline.org My own experience was that I did need someone to help me out, as I felt very weak for a while and had some mild complications. This was just my experience, but the website will have many more opinions for you. Good luck - you'll be very happy when it is over. Jane
I had breast reduction surgery a few years ago. For the first 3-4 days plan to be on the couch/bed not doing much. I had a friend bring me to follow up appointments, but after the fourth day I was able to drive short distances and take walks. You will have trouble lifting your arms above your head. Have someone shampoo your hair in the sink and forget showering. You will be so wrapped up in bandages and a really tight sports bra that showering won't even be a consideration. I went back to work after a week and started back to the gym with a modified routine soon after. Good luck; you are going to feel great after all that unwanted weight is removed. A.
Congrats on your pending surgery. I had a breast reduction nine years ago and my surgeon recommended that I take 2 weeks off from work so that's what I did. My husband brought me home the morning after surgery (I stayed in the hospital overnight) and was home all that day and the next. Then I had a friend with me the third day home. I really needed their help getting in / out of bed and adjusting pillows and the like. I think I became more self sufficient by day four but was really glad I took the two weeks off of work because I was sore and tired easily until about day 12. I really recommend that you ask friends for help in those first three days post surgery so you don't do two much too soon. Best of luck with you new breasts! Shauna

HMO-covered breast reduction -- suggestions?

Oct 2010

I'm looking to get a breast reduction but hoping to find a qualified and recommended doctor who is covered by my health insurance. Can anyone vouch for a doctor who is covered by hills physicians and/or health net? Has anyone had good results with Dr. Togba? Or Dr. Patton? Or Dr. Kahn?
huge and saggy


All 3 of the plastic surgeons you have listed are excellent surgeons with many years of experience. You are lucky to have such great choices. Any of them can help you get an excellent result with breast reduction surgery. EL
I have a co-worker who used Patton and she gave him an A. She was 62 at the time. I saw the before and after, in person, and it was amazing. I actually interviewed with him and feel that when I am ready for this procedure, he will be the one. Two things, one, he wanted me to lose weight, I am 5'1, 155 lbs, 38D, and secondly he recommended a 36B and I wanted smaller. My co-worker was thrilled with her results and said she wished she had not put it off. Good luck. dana

Insurance/cost/surgeon for a breast reduction/lift?

May 2009

Can any one tell me how much I should expect to pay for a breast reduction and/or lift? Are any of these procedures covered by insurance? Also, which surgeon is highly recommended? Thanks. Ready to downsize


I used Dr Michael Cedars (now in Oakland on Pill Hill) for a reduction almost 20 years ago. He was phenomenal. I actually did get it fully covered by insurance and they helped me make a case. I had additional support from my GP and my chiropractor. However, I think insurance companies have gotten significantly worse since then and it would be much harder to get them to pay nowadays. Happy to go smaller
I had a breast reduction and lift 8.5 years ago and I haven't regretted it for one minute. I will probably have a lift done after my second child finishes brestfeeding as it was such a good first experience. I was fortunate to have it paid for by my insurance, so I cannot speak to how much it will cost out of pocket. Some insurance companies require some documentation about the pain you've experience over the years, mine did not, just info from the plastic surgeon. It was rejected the first time, but with some pressure from my husband's company, they ended up approving it. I had mine reduction/life done in NYC, so I cannot recommend a local plastic surgeon, though I'm sure some else will be able to. Best of luck with your downsize, Happy with my downsize
I had breast reduction surgery in Feb of 2007. My procedure was covered by insurance - the insurance companies have specific requirements, and my doctor spent a lot of time on the phone convincing them that I met the requirements. I can highly recommend Dr. Elizabeth Lee, 510-704-2170, on Regent St in Berkeley. I had a flawless experience, starting with my consultation with her all the way to my post-op visits. I have almost no scarring, I was back to my exercise routine in 2 weeks, and I couldn't be happier. I would ask Dr. Lee about specific costs, and when you meet with her, she can gauge the likelihood of insurance coverage. smaller and happier

Health insurance and breast reduction surgery

Sept 2008

I'm looking for some advice about breast reduction surgery, specifically getting a health insurance company to cover at least part of the cost. It's open enrollment and my choices are Kaiser or Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO. Has anyone any experience with persuading either company to pay? Secondary question, I'd love to hear any recommendations about plastic surgeons who do this work. Julia


Most insurances will pay for breast reduction surgery if there is a related medical problem, such as back pain or shoulder indentations. Some companies exclude the procedure. The bottom line is they seem to pay based on the percentage of breast tissue removed and your Body Mass Index scale. Surgeons weigh and report the removed tissue. During your consultation, the surgeon will be able to give you the specifics on the possibility of insurance payment. They deal with it all the time.

There is a wonderful group of women doctors in San Francisco who specialize in breast surgery. Plastic Surgery Associates 415-923-3067 Near Pacific Medical Center

It is important to know that there are different procedures. If you are a candidate for the LeJour incision method, make sure the surgeon is trained to use this method. Much less scarring. Here is a very good online resource - good FAQs and doctor recommendations. Also some great advice about appealing an insurance denial if necessary. BreastHealthOnline.com Hope this is helpful, ES


I am responding to your post about breast reduction surgery and health insurance. in January 2007 I had a reduction performed by Elizabeth Lee. She is fantastic and I highly recommend her. Her office is in Berkeley, 510-704-2170.

My procedure was covered by insurance - Blue Cross PPO. Apparently it's all about charts and weight - the Dr. will write up a letter of medical necessity (I had back pain and shoulder pain). She includes an estimate of the amount of tissue she thinks she will remove. Then the insurance company checks your measurments against their standards in order to decide whether to authorize the procedure. Blue Cross rejected me at first, and Elizabeth called them and talked to them for a bit, explaining that yes, I am tall, but that didn't mean that I could lug around extra weight. Anyway, long story short is that they finally agreed to authorize the procedure and did pay out. If you are really large, and want to get significantly smaller, the likelihood is higher that insurance will pay. It's kind of a miracle that Dr. Lee convinced Blue Cross in my case, as I am 5' 10'' and was a 34FF. I am now a 34C and couldn't be happier.

I really strongly recommend Dr. Lee. You can call her for a consult - it is $150, but applied to anything you do going forward. She is a v ery skilled surgeon, and almost as important, she is really focussed on understanding what it is that you want, and giving you honest feedback about what she can do. My surgery was fantastically uncomplicated - I was back in yoga and other forms of exercise in 2 weeks, my scars are very minimal. A success story


Breast reduction surgery is a procedure that should be covered by insurance if the breasts are so large as to give symptoms of physical discomfort. These symptoms may be pain in the breast, irritation of the skin under the breasts and on the chest and abdomen where the breasts are always pressing, neck, back and shoulder pain secondary to the weight of the breasts. All the insurance companies are tightening up on their requirements. In my experience, patients lately have been really fighting to have their insurance pay for this procedure. The companies are now requesting evidence of medical treatment for this pain in the form of documented chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, etc.

That having been said, both Kaiser and Blue Cross will cover this procedure if their indications are met. Kaiser has excellent plastic surgeons and also a huge backlog of breast reduction patients. They will insist that you be at an appropriate body weight before they will put you on the waiting list. I have been told by my patients that Kaiser expects a 2 year wait to have this procedure done.

There are a very limited number of plastic surgeons in the area contracted with Blue Cross. Before signing with them, you should check out the network provider list to see what plastic surgeons are contracted. Also, call those plastic surgeons' offices and make sure they are still providers. The PPO provider lists are often not up to date.

If you are in a Blue Cross PPO, you have the advantage of going to an out of plan surgeon. Blue Cross would pay for a probably small percentage of the surgeon's fee, but your operating room costs and anesthesia costs would be in contract and covered minus your co-pay per your contract. With Kaiser, or with an HMO plan, they will cover nothing if you go out of plan.

Hope this helps. Local Plastic Surgeon


I had breast reduction surgery from Kaiser in SF w/Dr. Robert Anooshian in 2004. He was excellent! Took my 34H breasts to a 34C. I am 5'2'', 120lbs. My scars look excellent, and he was very professional and answered all of my questions. I was very nervous on surgery day, and just seeing him made me feel more at ease. I was referred to him by my NP Jenna Lewis, and I had the surgery 5 months later. I paid nothing more than my co-pay on the day of surgery. I did have to meet with Dr. Anooshian, and talk about the possibilities of not being able to breast feed, scars, loss of sensation in nipples, etc... I haven't had children yet, so I can't tell you about that, but my nipple sensation is still excellent! It actually increased! ;) They use the ''keyhole'' technique for surgery. You also cannot smoke and must be under a 27 BMI to be ''approved.'' Bottom line, just ask your women's health provider for a referral, they'll tell you whether or not you are eligible. But from what I know, no uncomfortably busty, back-pain having woman has been denied. Hope this helps!!! happy breasts

Breast reduction surgery or not?

April 2008

My doctor has recently suggested I consider breast-reduction surgery because of varied health problems I am having due to my 36-I breasts on an otherwise slender frame. I hate the idea of surgery, the fear of complications, scarring, and just maiming an otherwise whole body. Then I start to cry when I think of being able to wear clothes that fit for the first time in my life and maybe even a bathing suit, and being able to exercise or ride a horse again comfortably. I've heard horror stories of the fat growing back again. I've heard of women dying after seemingly routine surgeries. I'm torn - Any suggestions to help me decide? anonymous


Go for it. I did it in 1986 and have NEVER regretted it. My doctor was excellent (retired now) and yes there is scarring but who's going to see it? YOur partner? My husband doesn't care one iota.

YOur size could change again that's true but most likely if you are under the age of 23...(your body still grows and changes up to that age) Pregnancy, childbirth, nursing will affect your size but of course that would happen even without the surgery. Recovery time is about 6 weeks but such a short time frame compared to the lifetime of comfort you will feel afterward... Did I say ''Go for it!''? Would do it again in a heartbeat


I had a breast reduction 14 years ago and I have NOT ONCE regretted it. Certainly there are many factors to consider before undergoing such a major surgery: recovery time, type of procedure, do you want to try to breastfeed in the future, scarring, etc. Talk these concerns through with your surgeon and by all means, talk to multiple surgeons to find the person you feel most comfortable with (I met with three different surgeons, 2 of whom talked only about how much breast tissue they were going to remove. Ultimately, I went with the surgeon who talked with me about how much breast tissue to keep!)

I won't sugarcoat it - the first few weeks of recovering from the surgery were difficult physically and emotionally. You are swollen, bruised, have hundreds of black stitches...it was painful and I felt like Frankenstein's bride. But everyday past that first week got better and better. The scars fade with time (and proper care) and most importantly, I was freed from the physical discomfort of such large breasts (also on a small frame). I also felt freed from the emotional discomforts of being so large-breasted. I became more active after the surgery, lost weight, became more outgoing and less self-conscious. Clothes fit better. The surgery made a world of difference in my life. AND as a huge bonus, I have been able to breastfeed both of my children!

You are welcome to contact me off-line if you have any specific questions. Best of luck in your decision! sonja


My friend was delighted with her surgery, and her insurance company paid the entire cost. All of the medical problems she had been having were cured. She used a surgeon recommended by her doctor and her surgery was done in a hospital, not in a doctor's office. You might want to take the time to interview more than one surgeon to be sure to find one you feel comfortable with. According to Wikipedia, patients who have had breast-reduction surgery are more satisfied than patients who have had any other type of plastic surgery. Here's a link with more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breast_reduction Comfortable
I had 36dd breasts and had surgery. i had bad scarring and the doctor sort of messed up on one breast-imperfect sewing. and i don't regret it AT ALLl. it is so relieving and so much more comfortable. the once bad scars have pretty much disapeared-you can see them if you look close and know what reduction scars look like--but who cares? if people were attracted to me for the size of my breasts and aren't now, i am certainly not interested in them. it has not diminished my sex life or sensitivity, at all. i think my body looks a lot better, i'm not 'top heavy' anymore, i don't have to wear an irritating bra. and you situation sounds more uncomfortable by far than mine was. feel free to email me with further questions, but i wouldn't hesistate and ask for a B cup...or less! rnw
I had a breast reduction surgery when I had greatly disproportionate breasts. The benefits were numerous- I was able to engage in more activities, my self confidence improved, clothes fit better, and not only did the breast tissue and fat not grow back but I lost a weight on my entire body and built up a lot of muscle mass due to being able to engage in vigorous exercise.

However, these benefits were, in my opinion, outweighed by two MAJOR consequences: I was one of the very small percentage of women who gets a post surgery infection which required a second surgery and the removal of the infected tissue. This was extremely painful, caused very unsightly scarring, and reduced my ultimate cup size significantly. Second, and even more upsetting, I was not able to breastfeed at all. With both my children, I never produced more than 1 or 2 ounces of milk a day even with prescriptions (domperidone), herbal supplements and using an electric breast pump every hour and a half. I felt mutilated and suffered depression, guilt, and detachment over this. If you think you might want children after the surgery I would recommend checking out www.bfar.org. Good luck whatever your choice! regretful


I also have very large breasts (34G) and haven't had the guts to ask a doctor about reduction, even though secretly I have desperately wanted it since I was 14. I feel the same as you-scared of surgery and recovery, feeling like I don't ''need'' it because my body is whole and I like myself well enough. Part of me is jealous of you that you were offered the surgery. I think in the end it will benefit you more than you risk harm. All of your fears are real and legitimate, and all of your hopes for an improved quality of life would probably come true. When you imagine yourself at 80 does your gut feeling tell you to do it or not? I'll be cheering for you from afar anon
Do it and do it without fear. I come from a long line of large breasted women, though was personally blessed with an average size. My sister had the surgery a number of years ago and could not be happier about it. It has made her quality of life much better and she has no regrets about it. her recovery was not very long, as I remember. And aside from scarring, there are no complaints. Find yourself a doctor you trust, I'm sure that some on this list have had the surgery themselves and can recommend doctors. I would focus on the multiple benefits of having the surgery, and recommend to any woman considering it to explore it further. mits
You might want to look at Diana West's web site http://bfar.org/ and book Defining your own success. She had breast reduction before her first was born. Was able to partially breastfeed him. Went on to totally breastfeed baby two and three without formula suppliments. Sylvia
I had my first (yes, first) breast reduction surgery in 1991 at 21. I had been a 36HH on a petite frame. It was nothing short of a life altering experience for me. Unfortunately, I had complications, and as a result my sutures broke open, and I developed massive scarring. In spite of this, I never regretted the surgery.

In 1998 the scars began to thicken and hurt a bit, so I had my second reduction and scar tissue removal surgery done. It was performed at UCSF and was beautifully done. The surgeon left hardly a line.

In 2005 I had my son, and this, if anything, was the only thing that made me waiver a bit in my decision. We did breast feed for about a year, but always with supplementation. I am saddened that I couldn't offer him breast milk exclusively, but I have to remind myself that over the years he will get more from his mom's happiness and general confidence than he will from her breast milk.

You must do what is right for you, certainly. For me, it was essential. I have no regrets and only recommendations. R


I had breast reduction 7 years ago and am extremely happy. I did a lot of research on the topic prior to the surgery, including asking friends/relatives, etc. What I found out was that the people who told me ''don't do it'' were the ones who had never done any type of plastic surgery or didn't know anyone who had. Some people, I know, had the procedure and are very happy. You must feel comfortable about it before making any decision. My suggestion is talk to people who have had the surgery, then look for a doctor who does the surgery in a hospital setting instead of a clinic, in case there is any type of medical emergency. Your doctor must ask for few lab tests and EKG to ensure you are going to handle the surgery well. This should be simple and straight forward procedure if you have the right doctor. Good luck! MJA
I had a breast reduction when I was 23 - I am 45 now. It was covered by my parents' health insurance as long as I was a student and under 24. I had about 2 lbs. taken out of each breast, and went down to a 34B. It was very exciting - I could wear regular clothes, didn't have to worry about guys checking out my boobs first, etc., etc. But the hormones from my periods caused 80% of my breasts to come back (over the next 15 years). It was still worth it. I was told I could not breastfeed, and that turned out to be correct (sadly). Now the procedure is different and women can breastfeed after a breast reduction (I have a friend who did just that). The procedure I had is different than the one done today, so it's difficult to say what your outcome would be. Feel free to send me an email if you would like to chat. L
I had breast reduction surgery about three years ago and I'm very satisfied with the results. I can wear clothes now that I could not before and my shoulders don't ache anymore. You have to weigh the odds of complications from the surgery against your desire for a more reasonable body shape for your frame. I think however that thousands of surgeries take place without complications and that the benefits are worth the risk. I say go for it. anon
March 2009

Last year, I posted to ask about people's experience with breast reduction operations. Everyone who responded was supportive and encouraging and positive. You gave me the courage to go ahead with it and I am now a much smaller, more comfortable and happier woman. I am so looking forward to being able to button a blouse or buy a bathing suit that fits for the first time in my life. A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of you who encouraged me. This is a great and powerful network. Booblets in Berkeley


Finally thinking seriously about breast reduction

March 2008

i am finally thinking seriously about breast reduction. i checked the recommendations and found them a bit out of date. does anyone have someone that they have used in the past couple of years? tired of big boobs


I had a breast reduction in February 2007 (34FF to 34C). My surgeon was Dr. Elizabeth Lee. I had the surgery on a Friday, and was ready to go back to work the following Monday (Dr. Lee said no!). I begged her to let me return on Weds (she said ok, 1/2 day). I took no narcotics, and I was back in yoga after 2 weeks. Of course there was some discomfort (the first 2-3 nights I slept on my back), but the worst of it was over by about the 4th day. I had minimal swelling, and many of my scars, after one year, are almost invisible. The only thing I was really limited in was driving for the first week or so, due to the seat belt crossing over my chest. Dr. Lee was incredible, her office runs like clockwork. She is highly professional and at the same time comforting and reassuring. She spends a lot of time talking to you about what you think you want, and can tell you accurately what she thinks she can do. I had no surprises. You can reach her at 510-704-2170 - she is located on Regent Street in Berkeley. anonymous (and very happy)
Hi I went to Dr. Michael Cedars for plastic surgery almost three years ago. I thought he was so great I decided to work for him almost a year ago. Dr. Cedars has a great ''bedside manner'' and is an excellent surgeon. He does alot of breast reduction surgeries and really works hard to make you happy. He is head of Plastic Surgery at Alta Bates Hospital and was head of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Children's Hospital Oakland for eight years. He's a wonderful doctor. P
I had breast reduction surgery before my wedding. I had a reduction and lift taking me from a 36DD to a 36C. Not only were they reduced and lifted, they were also reshaped and the nipples were made a bit smaller and better shaped. The final results were lifted, rounder, smaller breasts to the point where I could wear a shirt with a built in bra and go braless. Clothing also fit much better after the surgery, and I felt much lighter, with much less back pain and better posture.

I went to a doctor based in Los Angeles who is known for breast reductions named dr. david stoker. http://www.drstoker.com/I highly recommend to go down there to get this procedure. Los Angeles has some of the the best cosmetic surgeons in the world. He uses a laser bra technique which uses a lollipop incision around the nipple and down the front vs. an anchor which goes down the front and under the breast. He has a book with tons of before and afters so you can literally pick out the ones you want, and he will be very honest with you about what will work with your body type.

I have also seen his photos of repairing botched boob jobs from other incompetent doctors. I wouldnt trust a doctor up here for that type of procedure if you want both smaller boobs and pretty ones.

Now...for the downside of the surgery: It is extremely PAINFUL. I mean...UGH! Mine hurt for months. They will also grow back if you gain weight or get pregnant, but will still hold their shape. the doctor will tell you this before he does the surgery also.

I am about to give birth and my boobs have unfortunately grown to a 38DD, and I am hoping after I lose weight they will go back to the post surgery size. Otherwise, I may go back and have them done again when I am done having kids. SC


What was your recovery like after breast reduction surgery?

July 2007

I have researched this throughly and had a surgical consultation. I have read numerous articals that state the recovery for this procedure can be brutal. I take no surgeries lightly. That being said, can anyone, and the more the better, speak to what their recovery was like? I have an extremely low pain tolerance and this is causing me great anxiety. I want to know what the pain was, high, low, in-between, and how long before you could do regular things, like drive. Thank you. need to know


I had breast reduction surgery and am so glad I did. The recovery was pretty easy for me - in fact I only took one pain pill. Of course it's achy and uncomfortable, but I wouldn't say I had serious pain. One thing to be aware of though is that there is some continued achiness for quite awhile (2 months?) and my nipples would get painfully sore when it was very cold out for at least one year. anonymous
The recovery time was about 2 weeks total but the pain was just moderate (pain is so subjective!) - I did not feel like I had to even take the vicodin they gave me. I did really need a lot of help the first week. Either my mother or husband were with me the entire first week and probably half of the second week. They helped me bathe, empty the drains and record how much fluid was in each, fed me and just plain took care of me. I felt sort of like a T-REX for those first few weeks as my chest was tightly bandaged and I did not feel comfortable extending my arms in any direction. I just walked around very gingerly almost in a guarding kind of way. BUT even if it were worse, i still would have done it. Two weeks of hell is worth a lifetime of freedom from a burdensome body - I went from a DD to a full C. I hear Plastic surgeons LOVE these surgeries because the patients are ALWAYS happy with the results - the reduction surgery yeilds very high patient satisfaction. Good luck! go for it!
Dear reader considering a breast reduction, Breast reduction surgery is a major surgical procedure and, therefore, comes with several risks. It can also come with great benefits if you have lived a lifetime of pain, discomfort and shame due to your breast size. The healing pain following the procedure is fairly minimal. However, the surgery significantly limits or completely eliminates one's ability to breastfeed. I am very glad I had the procedure but I wish I had waited until after having children. I am very glad I sought out an excellent surgeon (who is now retired). anonymous
I had huge breasts (36DD) and had surgery about 10 years ago, at 34 or so years old. I had bad scarring/ slow healing, which was probably just my way of healing as opposed to any poor care. That said, the scars are pretty much gone now (have been for years) and I have zero regrets, despite the imperfect result...the surgeon even made a slight mistake in sewing so that there is some imperfection in one breast...and I still don't care-it's great. I was back at work after a week off-the first couple of days were pretty icky, but the recovery rate was fast, for strength/etc. I don't remember about driving, but it was probably also a week or so.

Now I don't wear a bra unless I'm horseback riding or something very bouncy....like the gym or biking a firm tank top is enough and I love it. No sensation loss. It's a little scary, and can heal slowly (I think it took 2 years for the scars to go down...not common, not unheard of), but it is WELL worth it... anon


I had a breast reduction some years ago during one summer when I was in college. I spent a week in bed, on pain medications, not doing much. After that I was able to get up and do things on a limited basis, and was almost fully recovered at the one-month checkup. I understand the procedure has changed since I underwent my surgery -- I was told I would not be able to breast- feed, and that turned out to be the case, but a friend who had it done about four years ago had no problems breast feeding. Compared to child birth, the pain is much less - if I rate giving birth (emergency c-section after 27 hours of labor) as a 10, then the pain after surgery would rate about a 5-6. Feel free to email me with any questions. Lori

Looking for advice about breast reduction

June 2007

Am looking for your advice and information about breast reduction/reconstruction, specifically: 1) what doc did you use, 2)is the surgery painful, 3) did the surgeon use your belly fat/tummy tuck to reconstruct the breasts, and if so did that work well, 4) how long to recouperate, how long off of work, 5) did you like the results, and 6) do the scars bother you? Am needing surgery to excise precancerous tissue with the reduction/reconstruction part of the package. Thanks in advance for your help! Nervous Nelly


I had a breast reduction about 20 years ago and I cannot recall a single moment that I ever regretted having it done. My doc was James Yahr out of Alta Bates, but I heard he has since moved out to the Danville area (and he may be retired now)?? Anyway, he did a great job, and at the risk of grossing any one out that's reading this... he cut around the areola, leaving the ducts and nerves in tact (so I was able to breast feed successfully). I had an allergic reaction to some of the stitches that were inside (they dissolve) and had some scarring from that, but otherwise, the scars tho visable, have never bothered me or any partner (particularly my husband) at all. The recovery was a little difficult. I couldn't lift anything for about six weeks, and just riding in the car over a bumpy road would cause me pain. I was a student at the time so I can't answer how it would affect your work schedule. I've never heard of using fat tissue from another area to reconstruct - since it's a reduction your getting rid of fat not adding to it. I would question that if someone told you you needed to do that. 20 years later, I can say that I have some weird sensations sometimes and sometimes don't feel anything in certain areas of my breasts...but I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. Good luck. It was worth it.
I got breast implants when I was very young (22) and for the wrong reasons. I had been wanting to remove them but I was worried about being left deformed. I went to Dr. Joseph Togba in Oakland who pretty much restored my faith in western medicine. He removed my implants and did such a great job that you can't tell I've had 2 breast surgeries. He's not only an amazing surgeon but a fantastic human being. I highly recommend him. Lil chichis
I had a breast reduction/lift and an abdominoplasty done at the same time 2 1/2 years after birth of my child. I had been 105 pounds before pregnancy and had gained 55 lbs during pregnancy, all in the front area. My abdominal muscles separated and I went from 34B to 38DDD in bra size. I lost 45 lbs, was fine with my weight, was physically active (aerobics, cardio and weights) but my breast and stomach were not able to recover. I would get ''charley horse'' under my rib cage when I did abdominal exercises. I consulted with about half dozen plastic surgeons on the procedures and decided to go with Dr. Eric Bachelor in Pleasanton for the procedure. It was most affordable to do both procedures at the same time (about $12K including anesthesia and hospital stay). The breast reduction/lift was an easy procedure. There was really no pain or discomfort, but one has to be patient and deal with the compression garments for a short period of time. I am extremely happy with the results, I have a nice 34C size with a very natural look. The abdominalplasy was a hard procedure to recover from. I was cut from hip to hip and a drain tube was placed in my pubic area. I have a very high pain tolerance but pain pills were needed for a couple of weeks. I had a hard cast on the abdominal area for a few weeks. I could not go from laying to sitting position without help for about 2 weeks. I needed help to walk even short distances. I could not stand up straight for several months. Sneezing or coughing resulted in excruciating pain. I still suffer from deep itch and diminished nerve sensation 4 years after. With young children and a husband who couldn't handle being my temporary replacement, it was a very hard time period for me and I wondered ''What have I done to myself?'' I don't recommend the abdominalplasty unless it is the only alternative. I was not informed of these complications or the discomfort level by any of the plastic surgeons. Anon

What's it like to get breast reduction surgery?

Oct 2006

Has anyone out there had this surgery? Is there a doctor you would recommend (particularly east bay)? What was your recovery time like? I've read that this can be a painful recovery, were meds able to combat this? Thanx in advance Tired of back & neck pain


I'd highly recommend Dr. Karen Horton at the Women's Plastic Surgery center at CPMC in San Francisco. She is extremely skilled, knowledgeable and one of the few plastic surgeons I've encountered with a warm and friendly bedside manner. She is excellent at explaining everything to you, and could answer a lot of your questions realistically. She was one of two surgeons who performed major breast reconstruction surgery on me, and I know she routinely does breast reduction surgery (as I've recommended her to my best friend who is looking into this). You can learn more about her at: http://www.womensplasticsurgery.com/
I had breast reduction surgery in June 2006 with Dr. Elizabeth Lee in Berkeley (http://www.artfulsurgery.com). It's something I had been contemplating for a long time and I made several consultation appointments. However, Dr. Lee was the first I went to -- and I liked her so much, that I cancelled all my other consulations. She is absolutely fabulous, attentive, and easy to talk to. She listens to exactly what you want and gives you objective advice without any pressure. I had my breast reduction surgery, along with a tummy tuck, so my recovery was a little big more intensive than just a breast reduction would be. However, one thing I can tell you -- is that in comparison to my tummy, my breast recovery was easy. The first three or four days are the worst, but I started feeling like myself again after two and a half weeks. I was prescribed a narcotic (vicodin) for the pain -- but really only used it for that first three or four days. Otherwise, bed rest, NSAIDs, and close follow-up allowed me to heal. I'm now four months post-op and couldn't be happier with the results. I'd be happy to discuss any other details with you. If you're interested...email me! Totally happy with my smaller girls!
I had breast reduction surgery done 14 years ago at age 19, ten years before my first child was born. I didn't see the original post, so I don't know your specific situation, but I have some words of caution from experience.

One, pretty obvious, is, no matter how eager you are to get up and move around after sitting still so long, even if you feel great, move slowly & smoothly, or the scarring will be worse. Once you're healed, expect sharp twinges of pain (not severe, but sharp & startling) in or on your breasts for a few months or years afterwards. The scars aren't terrible ( I wish they weren't there), but I'm thankful for less unwanted attention and more ability to bend & move about than beforehand.

More important than any of that, be as certain as possible that either you're done having children, or your symptoms from large breasts are severe enough to warrant surgery that may leave you unable to breastfeed. I was able to, but mine was best case scenario. From what I understand, most women after surgery either can't, or can with the help of a supplemental nursing system. It's a wonderful invention, as breastmilk is best for baby, but it adds more work and sometimes stress to a tired, healing (new?) mom than might otherwise be necessary. If possible, if this is relevant to your situation, wait til you're done having children to have breast reduction surgery. thankful & smaller now


Recent breast reduction?

May 2006

Hello my friend and I are looking for a plastic surgeon -- same region (breasts), different operation (reduction and implants). We've checked the archives, but the reviews aren't that recent and there are only a handful of surgeons listed. Can anyone recommend a surgeon for either operation -- and tell us about your experience? Thanks very much!


In the last year I recently had a breast reduction with Dr. Elizabeth Lee in Berkeley. She is great! Perhaps you couldn't find more recommendations on other doctors is because she is so very good and many people go to her. I know she does both surgeries. She has a wonderful, generous heart and very well trained. Go see her. Her web site is www.artfulsurgery.com happy with smaller and perkier girls
I did not see the orignal posting but I want to recommend Dr. Joseph Togba in Oakland - here is the link to his website: http://www.josephtogbamd.com/t-togba.html

I had a breast reduction in October and he did an absolutely beatiful job. I was very nervous at first but Dr. Togba was able to put all my fears at ease. The procedure itself was without any complications and I was able to resume most of my daily activities after 1 week and fully back to work at 2 weeks. I have had little pain and the scars are minimum. A friend of mine had the same procedure and we compared the outcome, and I am happy to say that the incisions and scars looked far better. His office staff is also very friendly and helpful, so the overall experience was great. Dr. Togba has good relationships with the various insurance companies and mine ended up being paid for, even though I did not expected it because my breasts were not huge to begin with. happy with my new breasts


Breast Reduction & Price of Surgery

Dec 2005

Does anyone have an idea for what going rate is for cosmetic procedures (specifically breast reduction). I went on a consult with a highly recommended surgeon recently and was surprised at how high her fee was ($11,600, includes dr. fee and surgery center fee). Please know that I'm not looking for the cheapest, but I'd like to know if this is a ridiculous amount. I'd like to go on at least 2 other consults, but before I do, I want to know what the general experience has been in this area. Is there a place on-line where I can find financial info? Any guidance is appreciated. ''Weighed'' Down


I went to Dr. Elizabeth Lee in Berkeley to have a breast reduction and lift. The price you quoted in your post is about right. I could have had my surgery covered 100% if I went with a doctor from my medical group. But after meeting two of them and seeing their work, I decided that if I was going to do it I needed to feel confident in my surgeon. I am so happy with the results. Go see her. She's great, caring, fun and has a great staff. www.artfulsurgery.com 510.704.2170 light and sassy
My surgery was 5 1/2 years ago, but I think I remember that the costs at that time were somewhere around $7000. I would like to recommend to you that you get a consultation with a plastic surgeon who is able/willing to request for your health insurance to pay for the surgery. This is especially important if you have a history of back or neck problems. I had an HMO at the time (Western Health Advantage), so I had to jump through all of the hoops just to get the Plastic Surgery consult. But, when I finally did see him, he received the okay from the insurance company on the first try. I paid nothing for the surgery that changed my life!! Your insurance company may not pay at the first request, but it's worth a try. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the surgery, etc. d.
I saw Dr. Katherine Young in SF for mine in 2003. I think her prices were comparable to several others. My insurance covered my procedure since I was having back problems. Have you talked to your ins co.? anon
Hi I had a breast reduction a couple of months ago performed by Dr. Joseph Togba in Oakland. You don't mention if you have insurance. I was prepared to pay for the surgery because I did not think I would qualify for a reduction (I went from a size D to a size C) but the insurance paid it in full. You might want to schedule an appointment with him. He is a highly qualified board certified plastic surgeon and he has done an amazing job, I could not have been more happy. You can check out his website at www.josephtogbamd.com anon.
''Weighed'' Down, If you have health insurance I highly recommend you talk to your PCP or OBGYN. Some health insurances cover breast reduction if they are determined to ''medically necessary'' (its more common than you would think). If you feel uncomfortable asking your Drs., call your health insurance company directly (their 800# should be on the back of your card) and ask them what resources are available to you.

If you do not have health insurance and/or are will to come ''out of pocket'', ask the Drs. during your consult visits if they offer payment plans. Most plastic surgeons are very understanding and have some sort of options available. Or if you like, ask the office staff when you call to book the initial appointment. If you don't ask, you'll never know. Jen


Exploring costs and benefits of breast reduction

May 2004

I'd like to explore the costs and benefits of breast reduction surgery. Has anyone on this list undergone this elective surgery, and are you willing to share your experience? My questions range from how expensive was it, how long did it take to recover, how painful was it, and most of all, was it worth it? Thanks! Tired of DD


I had this surgery almost 10 years ago when I was 29. I wish I'd had it 10 years before that! I went from a DDD to a beautiful, perfect C, and could, for the first time, go without a bra at all. Best of all, the ache from my shoulders and back was gone. I didn't know that other people simply didn't have those aches.

It took me a good 3 weeks to recover enough to really get dressed and go out to work, although I think that I had a very strong response to the anesthesia, so it may not take you that long. Mine was covered by insurance. I think they said they'd pay if the doctor removed 100 grams from each breast. It was totally worth it (although subsequent pregnancy has undone the ''lift''). Anon


I had breast reduction surgery 15 years ago and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I can tell you that insurance paid for most of it because it was not considered cosmetic, though it was elective. At that time I believe it cost $6000. I had a lot of pain at first and tingling and numbing for at least six months and the scars didn't fade for at least a year. But the weight off my shoulders and back was worth it. Good luck with your decision. anon
I had the procedure done a LONG time ago! I was 20 at the time, in college, and very uncomfortable... My insurance covered the operation due to potential back problems that could occur down the line. I recovered very quickly (was out at the movies two days later). The most difficult thing for me was sleeping on my back for a couple of weeks, but the pain medication helped with that. I am now 33 and just had my first child. I was unable to solely breastfeed, but did pump and provide my son with some breastmilk for the first two months. I am extremely happy that I went through with the operation, as it changed my self-image and raised my self-esteem immensely... Good luck making your decision. Jen
Dr. Elizabeh Lee performed my breast reduction surgery exactly a year ago, and I can't recommend her enough. She's a gifted surgeon and doctor, and I'm extermely happy not only with the results - but also with the process. Dr. Lee does magic with her hands, and has that rare gift to *really* listen to what the patient has to say. She has been tremendously supportive and accessible. For me that meant that she listened to what I had to say about my desired breast size (I wanted to be as small as possible - went from DD to a small C); a common complaint among breast reduction patients is that their breasts are too large post-op. Not in my case! In addition, since this was a repeat surgery for me (I had one pre-kids 17 years ago), I was at a higher risk to lose my nipples as a result of the surgery; Dr. Lee frankly explained the risks, and took extra care while operating. I emerged intact.

As for recovery: the first week is the toughest, and you should expect to be in pain for the first several days, and uncomfortable for another couple of weeks. If you have kids, I recommend to have full time help for the first week; after a few days you'll be able to do stuff around the house, but will be tired. Also, you won't be able to drive for the first week, or as long as you're on prescription pain killers. I didn't regain my stamina fully until about 4 weeks after my operation, and just took it a little bit easier. However, at 6 weeks I stepped on a plane alone with my two young kids for a trans- atlantic flight. I don't heal well, so a year into this, my scars are still visible; but so are the scars from the surgery I had 17 years ago.

My surgery wasn't covered by my insurance; it was a terrible stretch for us to cover the $11,000 the surgery cost (including doctor's fee, operation fee, and various incidentals). But the weight off my shoulders is totally worth it. I'm a much happier person.

Dr. Lee is on Regent's St. in Berkeley across from Alta Bates. Phone # 704-2170. Or check her website at http://www.esleemd.medem.com/ If you'd like to get in touch with me you can do so through her office. anon


I first went to consult with a plastic surgeon at 17 to have a reduction. The doctor was unsympathetic, stating why would I want to get rid of my beatiful breasts! (My beautiful painful breasts)

Later, 12 years ago at 30, I had breast reduction surgery . I would do it again, and may have to. (Yes they do grow back). I went from a HH to a C cup, I am back to a DD.

Kaiser SF, outsourced to St. Francis Hospital MD's, did mine. The whole procedure cost me $40, including having post operative liposuction under my arms to remove excess tissue packs (called dog ears). My MD said he does about 4 per week and it is one of the most outcome satisfactory procedures that he performs. Immediatly after surgery, I felt relief in my neck and shoulders. My circulation was very strained due to bra staps. It has been wonderful. The worst thing was removing the drainage tubes about 3 days after surgery. That was painful and gross! The actual procedure and post-op pain was very manageable with ice packs and a Tylenol/Motrin mix. I was back to work in 7 days.

A Warning: DO NOT LIFT YOUR ARMS ABOVE YOUR SHOULDERS FOR WEEKS! The Dr's tell you not to, but I did because I could lift them with no pain. BUT, I ended up with huge scars under my arms from stretching.

I was able to breastfeed, which Dr's said dont expect in 90% of the cases. I had zero loss of sensation in my nipples, in fact they are more sensitive now than ever before. Best of luck in your decision. a breast reduction fan


Considering breast reduction - any recommendations?

July 2003

I am considering breast reduction surgery and have read posts about Dr. Christine Lee and Dr. Michael Cedars from previous posts. I was wondering if anyone had a recommendation for other doctors as well? Also I would like to hear how long the recovery process took place for breast reduction. Thanks! Anon

Recommendations received:

  • Michael Cedars
  • Alexander Ellenberg
  • Elizabeth Lee
  • Harold McDonald
  • James Yahr

    Finished having kids, seriously considering breast reduction

    March 2003

    Now that I'm done having kids, I'm seriously considering having a breast reduction surgery. I've looked at the website, but couldn't find any recommendations for a surgeon. Also, I'd appreciate input on how much the operation cost, and if you're satisfied with the results. Thank you

    Recommendations received:

  • Richard Kahn
  • Elizabeth Lee (2)

    Considering a breast lift

    March 2002

    I am considering a breast lift. Does anyone know of a good surgeon, or have other advice, and know how much it will cost? Thank you


    Dr. Michael Cedars did my breast reduction back in 1994. He is affiliated with Alta Bates and has offices in Berkeley and Orinda (I think -- somewhere out there). At the time he was ''the'' plastic surgeon around -- the one all the doctors' wives went to. He was absolutely great. The results of the surgery are fantastic, and he was very sensitive to my modesty issues. He even badgered the insurance company until they paid for it. Good luck!
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