What is Mammoplasty?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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Mammoplasty is a surgical procedure which is used to change the size or shape of the breasts. This procedure is performed by a plastic surgeon, and it is done under full anesthesia in an operating room with a support staff which includes an anesthesiologist and a nursing team. Recovery times from a mammoplasty vary, depending on the extent of the procedure, and it can take several weeks for the swelling from the procedure to subside and the tissue to settle down so that the surgeon can see if the procedure was successful or not.

The thought of mammoplasty usually evokes breast augmentation, in which the size of the breasts is increased with the assistance of inserts implanted inside the breast. However, augmentation is not the only reason for a mammoplasty. Some people have breast reduction surgery, in which the breasts are made smaller to address cosmetic or health issues associated with large breasts. Mammoplasty can also include mastectomy, in which the breasts are removed entirely, with mastectomy commonly being performed in association with breast cancer.


Size is not the only issue with mammoplasty. This procedure may also be designed to address shape. Breast lifts are a form of mammoplasty in which the goal is to address the inevitable effects of gravity by lifting the breasts to make them perkier. Likewise, women may have a mammoplasty procedure after a lumpectomy, infection, or accident in which the shape of the breast becomes distorted. Mammoplasties are also used to address breasts of different sizes, either by reduction or augmentation, and to address nipples of unusual size or position.

While people often associate plastic surgery with cosmetic surgeries which are performed to enhance physical appearance, mammoplasty may be performed for health reasons as well. As discussed above, for example, large breasts can cause back pain and other issues, especially for highly active people, and the procedure may be medically necessary. Likewise, procedures to address aesthetic issues such as lumpy or differently sized breasts can boost self confidence.

Patients who need a mammoplasty for health reasons or who are interested in discussing cosmetic surgery should plan to meet with several surgeons to talk about the procedure. They should seek out surgeons who are members of professional organizations of plastic surgeons, and who also come highly recommended. The surgeon should be asked about the goals of the procedure, his or her success rate with mammoplasties, and the risks, so that the patient can make an informed choice before going under the knife.


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Post 6

@runner101 - I have a friend who cannot wait to have a reduction to have smaller breasts so she can run easier without having to wear two sports bras and so that she can stop buying clothes that are a size too big just to fit her boobs.

As far as cost goes, she has been socking away cash to pay for it because it can cost anywhere from $5000 to $10000 dollars!

Post 5

@speechie - I agree with you about the fact you should be talking with your friend about any concern that you might have about her having mammoplasty surgery for any reasons that may cause concern.

But I don't think @Janeair was implying that it is better to have such surgery for medical versus cosmetic reasons, rather I think she was saying that her friend was able to get the surgery paid for because it was medical.

Which begs the question how much does a mammoplasty cost?

Post 4

@strawcake - I agree with you, getting an augmentation mammoplasty for cosmetic reasons or getting a reduction mammoplasty for medical reasons are both valid reasons for having a mammoplasty.

I have a friend, who has large boobs and loves them, but gravity took hold and she had a breast reconstruction to lift them. I could not believe how many people were quite judgy about it. Who cares if she wants her breast to be at the same height as they were? Who even cares if she did it because she needed a superficial confidence lift?

My answer is very simple: if you were truly concerned about your friend’s self confidence you would be talking to her about your concern for her self-confidence not me. Otherwise - stop judging!

Post 3

@JaneAir - I'm glad the article gave a well rounded look at the different type of mammoplasty procedures. However, I take issue with the fact that you seem to be implying it's better to have a mammoplasty for medical reasons than cosmetic reasons.

I personally feel like if someone wants a breast augmentation or a reduction for any reason we shouldn't judge them! People have a right to control what happens to their own bodies and I don't think there is anything wrong with getting surgery for cosmetic reasons. Most surgeries are pretty safe these days, so I say go for it!

Post 2

@starrynight - I'm glad your friends surgery was a success. I'm also glad the article pointed out that a mammoplasty isn't always for cosmetic reasons. I know people don't think that having breasts that are "too large" should be a problem, but it really can be.

I have a good friend that had F cup breasts that weren't the result of implants. She suffered from horrible back problems starting in high school. Not to mention people constantly staring at her "abnormally" large chest.

Finally after college she had a breast reduction, and her back problems went away. Also, her surgery was covered by her insurance because it was a reduction for medical reasons!

Post 1

A good friend of mine had a mammoplasty awhile back, and she was very pleased with the results. You see, her breasts were two different sizes! I know it's pretty common for one breast to be slightly larger than the other, but with my friend it was a very pronounced difference. In fact, the difference was a whole cup size!

Needless to say, this created some annoying problems for my friend. She had to buy bras and bathing suits that had removable pads in them so she could remove them on one side and leave the padding on the other. Also, I know she felt really insecure about the size difference.

Finally she just decided to get the bigger one reduced. I know she doesn't regret getting the surgery one bit!

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