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Washington, D.C. Plastic Surgeon

Maryland & DC

(888) 413-3923

Northern Virginia

(888) 413-3920
Christopher Chang MD

Women with overly large, heavy breasts can experience a range of symptoms, including back pain, neck pain, headaches, or rashes. When the breast tissue is too large for the woman’s frame and figure, it can lead to more personal issues, including embarrassment, trouble finding clothing that fits, and worries about drawing unwanted attention. Breast reduction surgery reshapes the breasts, so they are in proportion to the figure.


What is breast reduction surgery?

Our Washington DC breast reduction surgery is a custom procedure that involves removing excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin, reshaping the breast mound, relocating the nipples, and creating a pleasing physical balance.

Am I a candidate for breast reduction?

If you are living with any of the following symptoms, you may be a candidate for breast reduction surgery:

  • Chronic pain: The weight of heavy breasts can cause a strain on the neck, back, and shoulders, resulting in chronic pain.
  • Poor posture: Heavy breasts can cause poor posture, including rolling the shoulders forward, which can put pressure on the thoracic outlet (blood vessels and nerves between the collarbone and the first rib), compress nerves and blood vessels, and cause pain and tingling in the upper extremities.
  • Shoulder grooves: The weight of heavy breasts pulling on the bra straps, day after day, can cut deep, painful, grooves in the shoulders.
  • Skin irritation: Rashes and skin irritation underneath the breasts, including heat rash, are common in very large-breasted women. It is difficult to keep the area under the breasts cool and dry when sweat cannot evaporate. Spillage out of a bra cup can also cause chafing on the sides of the breasts.

Breast reduction costs in Northern Virginia

Your Northern Virginia breast reduction surgery can vary in cost, based on the extent of the procedure, the procedure typically costs in the range of $7,500 to $15,000.

Breast reduction incisions

A breast reduction can be performed with several types of incisions.

  • Lollipop: The incisions are placed around the areola, and vertically downward from the center of the breast mound to the crease.
  • Anchor: The incisions are around the areola, vertically down the lower portion of the breast mound, and in the natural breast crease.

Breast reduction scars

As the surgery involves incisions, you will have scars. They are carefully placed so they are hidden from view, even in low-cut tops, bras, or bikinis.


Recovery timeline for breast reduction surgery

If you are going to undergo breast reduction in Northern VA, understanding what to expect in your recovery is an important issue.

Breast reduction surgery timeline

Day of surgery

You will be prepped for surgery and put under anesthesia.

Immediately after surgery

After surgery, you will be monitored by medical personnel until given the okay to return home under the care of another adult. You will be wearing a surgical bra over your bandages.

Week after surgery

The week after your surgery, swelling, bruising, and shape issues are starting to resolve. You must still avoid lifting, stretching, bending, or any vigorous motions. Your activities are limited during the first week. No smoking or alcoholic beverages to be consumed.

Two weeks after surgery

The swelling has significantly reduced at the two-week mark. Stitches are typically removed at ten days to two weeks. You will still need to wear the compression bra, but are starting to feel like yourself, and able to return to work or other activities. No exercise other than walking.

One month after surgery

Your breasts have taken on their new shape and are starting to look as they will when finally healed. You should feel well enough to return to your usual social activities, but not vigorous exercise.

Three months after surgery

At three months, your breasts look natural and beautiful, but your scars have not fully faded, appearing as a red line on your skin. They are invisible when wearing bras, swimsuits, or revealing clothing.

Six months after surgery

Your breasts look beautiful, round, and balanced, and you are far more comfortable with your figure and sensitivity and numbness has faded away.

One year after surgery

At one year after your surgery you are enjoying your new figure, your scars are fading to match your skin, and you are able to engage in all activities you missed due to overly-large breasts, including vigorous exercise, jogging, or others. Life is good.

Aftercare instructions

Breast Reduction Northern Virginia

You will be provided extensive post-op instructions that must be carefully followed. The basics of your instructions include:

  • Take all prescribed medications as directed, and ensure you complete the full course of antibiotics.
  • Do not remove the bra or bandages until instructed by our surgeon.
  • No smoking or drinking alcohol during recovery.
  • Rest as much as possible so your body can use its energy to heal.
  • Plan on ten days off work.
  • Watch for signs of infection, including swelling, redness, or pain more significant in one breast, bleeding, or foul-smelling discharge from incisions, or fever over 101 degrees.
  • Sleep on your back.
  • Take frequent short walks to increase circulation.
  • Use ice packs to control swelling.
  • Bathe only as directed.

Risks and complications

All surgeries carry some risk. In breast reduction, the risks can include reactions to anesthesia, infection, excessive bleeding, uneven results, blood clots, poor wound healing, changes in sensation, excessive scarring, among others.

Why choose Dr. Chang for breast reduction in Northern Virginia?

Not all plastic surgeons can claim the outstanding education and level of professional experience that Dr. Change brings to breast reduction surgery. A graduate of Harvard, New York University, Yale, and Johns Hopkins, Dr. Chang received many awards and honors, and gained experience at leading institutions including Bethesda National Naval Medical Center, National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Yale University School of Medicine.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Does insurance cover a breast reduction?

A: Breast reduction surgery is often covered by insurance due to the pain and discomfort that the condition brings.

Q: What kind of anesthesia is used?

A: This procedure is most often performed under general anesthesia but may be performed with local anesthesia and intravenous sedation.

Q: Are results permanent?

A: The surgery does not halt the aging process, but if you maintain a healthy weight, your breast should look plump and natural for many, many years.

Q: What should I eat after?

A: The effects of anesthesia can impact your digestion, so stay hydrated and eat easy to digest, soft foods in the early stages.

Q: When can I smoke after?

A: It is best to end the smoking habit, but if you plan to smoke following surgery, you must wait at least two months.

Q: When can I return to work?

A: Most patients can return to work within ten days to two weeks after their Washington DC breast reduction, while some feel well enough to return in one work.

Q: When can I do intense exercise again?

A: You can return to intense exercise in about six weeks.

Q: How long does the surgery take?

A: The surgery varies but takes between two to five hours to complete.

Q: Can I drive home after surgery?

A: You cannot drive after surgery, and cannot until your incisions have healed, and you are off any pain medication.

Q: When can I wear a bathing suit in public after?

A: You should feel comfortable wearing a bathing suit in about six weeks, or earlier.

Q: When are my final results?

A: Full results in shape is achieved at about three months, with full scar fading taking up to a year.

Q: When can I wear a real bra?

A: You should be able to wear a regular bra at about six weeks.

Q: Can I breastfeed after a breast reduction?

A: If you plan to breastfeed in the future, the surgery will be planned to protect that ability.

Q: When can I have sex after a breast reduction?

A: It is advised that you wait at least two weeks to have sex or engage in any vigorous physical activities.

Q: Does breast reduction surgery affect breast sensitivity?

A: You may experience changes in sensitivity, which typically resolves over time.

Q: Will I lose nipple sensitivity?

A: Your nipples may feel less sensitive for a time, but in most cases, sensation returns over time.

Q: Will breast reduction surgery cause me to lose cleavage?

A: You will still have cleavage, but much less. If your breasts are more widely spaced naturally, you may have almost no cleavage.

Q: When can I have alcohol after?

A: It is best to avoid alcohol for at least one month, or loner.

Q: Will my tattoo get damaged?

A: If your tattoo is on the breast skin, it could be affected by breast reduction.

Q: How long should I wait to fly on an airplane?

A: For a short trip, you must wait at least two weeks. For a longer flight, wait six weeks.

Q: When can I submerge in water?

A: You will need okay from our surgeon, but generally you can submerge your breasts in two to four weeks after surgery.

Q: Am I too old for breast reduction? Is there a cut-off age?

A: There is no cut-off age for breast reduction, as such. The decision about surgery will be based on your general health and safety to undergo surgery.

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