Breast Procedures (Cosmetic)

Breast surgeries include many types of procedures for both medical and cosmetic reasons, such as to help treat breast cancer, enlarge breasts, or reduce breast size. Below, we focus on breast procedures that are cosmetic surgery for breasts rather than ones medically necessary.

Young woman in beige compression bra bandage after breast augmentation surgery.

Breast Procedure Overview

Breast surgery is any procedure performed on a male or female’s breasts, whether for medical or cosmetic reasons. For cosmetic breast surgery, the goal is to change the size, shape, or appearance of a person’s breasts for aesthetic reasons. Some are surprised to learn that breast plastic surgery is available to males. Some men have a condition called gynecomastia, where they develop larger breasts and choose to have them reduced. Also, those assigned male-at-birth can develop breast cancer, which requires breast surgery.

General Breast Procedure Steps

Before any cosmetic breast surgery, a patient has a consultation with a plastic surgeon to discuss whether it’s safe to pursue the surgery and the preferences for size, feel, and appearance. If having breast implant surgery, the surgeon will describe the different types of implants, and if a breast reduction or lift, they’ll discuss recovery and desired appearance outcomes.

Whether numbed with local anesthesia or placed under general anesthesia depends on the type of surgery being performed and whether the surgery is performed at a surgical center or hospital outpatient facility; most patients go home the same day as their surgery.

Following breast surgery, patients will be sore and there will be swelling for a few weeks following the surgery, along with bruising. Scars from the surgery will fade, but may not disappear entirely. The plastic surgeon may advise a compression bandage or sports bra for extra support and better positioning of the breast implants, if that is the surgery performed, and pain medication will likely be prescribed as well.

It is very important to follow the surgeon’s instructions regarding when it is safe to return to normal activities or work, though activities that raise blood pressure should be avoided for at least two weeks.

Common Cosmetic Breast Surgeries

This surgery involves the use of breast implants to increase the size and fullness of the breasts.

A surgery performed to raise and reshape sagging or drooping breasts, often repositioning the nipples and areolas.

A surgery performed to reduce the size of overly large breasts and alleviate physical discomfort.

Some individuals choose to have their breast implants removed, either for health reasons or personal preferences.

This surgery is performed to address complications or changes in breast appearance that may have occurred after a previous breast augmentation or reconstruction surgery.

This surgery is commonly performed for people who have undergone a mastectomy due to breast cancer or other medical conditions. It involves recreating a breast mound and if desired or needed, nipple and areola reconstruction.

This surgery corrects differences in size, shape, or position between the breasts, making them more symmetrical.

These surgeries involve altering the size, shape, or position of the nipples or areolas.

As mentioned earlier, gynecomastia surgery is a cosmetic procedure that corrects the enlargement of male breast tissue, creating a more masculine chest contour.