Is Breast Reduction Right for You?

Breast reduction (also known as “reduction mammaplasty”) is a popular procedure with a very high satisfaction rate. Many of our patients choose breast reduction to feel more proportionate, to look better and to dress more comfortably. At Banff Plastic Surgery, we’ve had the pleasure of caring for breast reduction patients for over thirty years, and we still enjoy the ability to personalise every case in order to get the best results for our patients.

Dr Hall-Findlay is known around the world for her modifications of the vertical breast reduction procedure – and the method is often called the “Hall-Findlay” technique. She gives teaching courses on all aspects of aesthetic breast surgery numerous times throughout the year, has performed surgery for demonstration purposes on every continent except Antarctica and has quite literally “written the textbook” on breast surgery (Aesthetic Breast Surgery – Principles and Techniques).

Her method not only uses shorter scars (lollipop rather than anchor scars), but it also gives a better shape (with more projection) and it has a more long-lasting shape (avoids bottoming-out with time).

Dr Hall-Findlay gets so many requests from plastic surgeons to visit that she has started a twice-yearly workshop in Banff. She appreciates all the international requests, but she would rather stay home and take care of her patients!

Breasts which are too large for a woman’s frame can cause physical and emotional discomfort and distress while limiting clothing choices, making it challenging to perform certain activities and taking a toll on your self-esteem. If you are struggling with painful physical symptoms, poor posture, difficulty sleeping or self-consciousness or wish to reverse the effects of pregnancy, weight loss or aging, breast reduction may be right for you.

The Right Procedure

Breast reduction removes excess fat, glandular tissue and skin to improve cosmetic appearance and proportion of the breasts as well as to alleviate the discomfort associated with overly large breasts. It may also be possible to correct breast asymmetry, improve sagging or reduce the size of large areolas during the procedure if the patient wishes.

At Banff Plastic Surgery, we use a “vertical” approach for most breast reductions. This results in a “lollipop” scar around the areola and down to the crease under the breast. The nipple is not removed but rather moved upwards while staying attached to blood supply and breast tissue. The excess skin and breast tissue are then removed and the final closure resembles a tennis racquet or lollipop. Any remaining scars are usually well concealed beneath a swimsuit or bra. We also use liposuction in the area in front of the armpits and along the sides of the chest to shape the breast and further enhance the results.

In some cases, we can perform breast reduction with liposuction alone. Candidates for this procedure tend to be older, with breast tissue that is more fatty and less glandular. The technique used for a patient’s breast reduction is ultimately determined by several factors, including the patient’s anatomy, the patient’s aesthetic preferences, the amount of reduction desired and Dr Hall-Findlay’s advice.

Some downtime is required after breast reduction surgery. During this time, the breasts may be swollen, bruised, tender and sensitive. Physical activity should be limited and reintroduced slowly. Dr Hall-Findlay will provide specific instructions for recovery that may include how to care for your breasts following surgery, medications to use to aid healing, potential concerns to watch for and when to return for follow-up care.

Breast reduction surgery can provide long-lasting results, and many patients experience dramatic improvements in their lives. A smaller breast size can offer relief from the pain and physical limitations of excessively large breasts, while a more streamlined and balanced figure can bring a welcome boost to your self-image. A breast reduction procedure cannot, however, guarantee permanent results. The breasts will continue to experience the natural transformations of aging, and may also change due to weight fluctuations, hormonal factors or pregnancy.

The Right Patient

A good candidate for breast reduction is close to her ideal body weight, is healthy and has realistic expectations for the outcome of her procedure. Women who have poor skin quality or have lost a great deal of weight may need longer incisions. Smokers must quit smoking several weeks before surgery because nicotine can interfere with blood supply and healing.

Age seldom prevents a woman from having a breast reduction surgery. We have performed breast reduction surgery from women from age 14 to well into their 80s. If a teenager is close to her ideal body weight, surgery may be indicated since weight loss will not alter breast size. We evaluate our older patients by their health, rather than their age when determining eligibility for surgery.

The Right Reasons

Large breasts can cause not only physical but also emotional discomfort. Breast reduction surgery can address both medical issues and aesthetic concerns, creating a more balanced and shapely silhouette while restoring your quality of life and your confidence in your body.

Many of our patients feel that the size of their breasts makes them look heavy, and they would like to be in better proportion. They want to wear clothing more comfortably, find well-fitting bras more easily and feel confident in their appearance. Following breast reduction surgery, breasts are smaller, firmer and more lifted. This achieves a more youthful look and a well-balanced contour that complements the body. Many patients find that this more proportionate physique is easier to dress off the rack, making shopping for clothing a much more enjoyable experience.

The importance of self-esteem should not be underestimated. For some women, large breasts are a source of anxiety, embarrassment or shame. Patients for breast reduction sometimes report that they feel insecure in social situations or intimate encounters, or that the size of their breasts has a negative impact on their ability to reach their professional goals. Others say the unwanted attention their breasts attract leaves them feeling self-conscious or depressed. Breast reduction can rebuild body-confidence and help patients feel comfortable in their own skin.

Women often also find that reducing breast size can improve back, neck and shoulder pain. Chronic pain in these areas is one of the most common complaints for women with large breasts. Other uncomfortable physical symptoms associated with large breasts include nerve pain, poor posture, headaches, skin irritation under the breasts, difficulty finding a comfortable position for sleeping and indentations in the shoulders left behind by bra straps supporting too much weight. For women who lead active lifestyles, large breasts can pose additional challenges that make it difficult or impossible to participate in certain activities.

Good candidates for breast reduction must be in good general health and have realistic expectations about what the procedure can do for them. Postoperative breast shape is determined by the shape that a woman starts with. Breast shape also determines the amount of tissue that can be removed safely and what the final result will be. During a consultation, Dr Hall-Findlay will evaluate your needs, your goals, your body type and your lifestyle to determine your candidacy for the procedure.

The Right Time

Physical and mental health both play important roles in the successful outcome of a breast reduction. In some cases, a breast reduction is best postponed until the patient has achieved their ideal weight and are in optimal health. Your ability to schedule your surgery around your other activities is also an important consideration. It takes about one to two weeks to get back to normal activities after breast reduction surgery and about three to four weeks to get back to a more active lifestyle. If you have small children, you may want to arrange help for the first couple of weeks until you have your energy back.

Breasts naturally change during pregnancy and breastfeeding, potentially reversing the improvements of a breast reduction if you undergo the procedure before you are finished having children. In some cases, breast reduction surgery can interfere with the ability to breastfeed. We tell patients that there is a 50/50 chance of being able to breastfeed after this procedure. If you plan to have children in the future, and if breastfeeding is very important to you, you may want to wait before considering breast reduction surgery. Postponing the procedure until after you have finished creating your family is ideal to ensure optimal results that are long-lasting.

If you have more questions about breast reduction or you want to find out if the procedure can improve your comfort and confidence, we invite you to visit Banff Plastic Surgery for a consultation with Dr Hall-Findlay. Dr Hall-Findlay has practiced plastic surgery in Banff since 1983. She has completed extensive training in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery in both Canada and the United States, and today her contributions to breast surgery are recognised around the world. Call us today at 403-762-2055 to learn more or schedule an appointment.


“Breast reduction surgery can restore confidence as it restores proportion. Breast reduction surgery both reduces and lifts the breasts, freeing patients from feeling matronly. And a breast reduction can increase both clothing options and the confidence to explore new styles. Most patients say that their biggest regret was not doing the surgery earlier.

My focus is to give you as natural a result as possible while taking into account your particular issues and desires. What is right for one person may be very different from what another person is trying to achieve. I want to work with you to determine what is best for you as an individual with your own particular desires.”

Dr. Hall-Findlay, plastic surgeon

Breast Reduction Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find out if I’m a candidate for breast reduction?

Breast reduction is one of the most common operations that we do. In fact, Dr. Hall-Findlay is world-renowned for her vertical breast reduction technique. Our patients often complain of back, neck and shoulder discomfort associated with large breasts, as well as breasts that are simply too large for their frame, lifestyle or cosmetic desires. A consultation in person is the best way to ensure that you’re a good candidate.

Does breast reduction include a lift?

Yes, the breasts are lifted and reshaped in the process of reduction.

What are the different types of breast reductions?

Vertical (“lollipop”) technique
This is by far the most common technique used in our practice. The incisions go around the areola and then vertically down to the bottom of the breast. This way, the areola can be made smaller, sagging breast tissue can be removed and the skin can be redraped for a natural result. This technique lifts and cones the breast and is versatile for many breast sizes and shapes.

Inverted T technique
There are many ways to do an inverted-T breast reduction. In our practice, we add the T infrequently, primarily if there is simply too much extra skin to have a good result with only the lollipop scar. The extra breast tissue is removed in a similar fashion, the nipple is elevated, and the breast is reshaped. This technique allows us to remove additional skin along the crease under the breast, creating a more aesthetically pleasing look but also adding an additional scar within the breast crease.

Liposuction breast reduction
Breasts can occasionally be reduced with liposuction alone, eliminating traditional breast reduction scars. The best candidates for this technique are older women with fattier breasts who want to have less volume but don’t need much lifting or reshaping. Young women often have denser breast tissue that does not respond well to liposuction alone. These women are often better candidates for our vertical breast reduction, although we often add liposuction to help shape the sides of the breast and the area in front of the armpit.

Are there age limits for breast reduction?

We have had breast reduction patients as young as 14 and as old as 80. Symptomatic large breasts are common for many women, regardless of age. Good health is more important than age when determining eligibility for breast reduction. Our older patients often tell us that they wish they’d had the surgery years ago!

Will breast reduction interfere with breastfeeding?

Breast reduction is performed with the goal of reshaping the breast, but preserving its function. The nipple is left attached to the underlying tissue. Every attempt is made to preserve breastfeeding ability and nipple sensation, but some women are unable to breastfeed after the procedure. Keep in mind some women are unable to breastfeed even without having breast surgery, so it may be difficult to know whether surgery alone caused the issue.

Should I wait until after pregnancy to have a breast reduction?

Pregnancy and breastfeeding frequently alter the size, shape and projection of the breasts. While there is no medical reason to avoid getting pregnant after breast reduction, in some cases it may be better to have your children before having breast reduction so that the results of your surgery will be more stable.

What are the potential complications associated with breast reduction?

As with any surgery, bleeding and infection are possible risks associated with this procedure. Difficulty breastfeeding and loss of nipple sensation are also concerns that we discuss with our patients. Scarring may vary from patient to patient and depends on a number of factors. Symmetry between the breasts is also a challenge for plastic surgeons seeking to create balance. Gravity will continue to be a factor, so some degree of settling is to be expected. Choosing an experienced plastic surgeon for your procedure will go far in minimizing these risks.

What is the recovery from breast reduction like?

The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, in our accredited office surgical facility or in the Banff Mineral Springs Hospital. We recommend taking 1-2 weeks off work and 3-4 weeks off athletic activities. The recovery is usually very well-tolerated for our patients.

Do you use drains?

In most cases, we don’t find it necessary to use drains in our breast reductions.

Are breast reduction results permanent?

Your breasts will continue to age over time, and you may, over time, notice that your breasts begin to droop somewhat. With significant weight gain, your breasts could also enlarge. We like to follow our patients over the course of many years, and find that vertical breast reduction offers consistent, long-lasting results.

Can I have a repeat breast reduction if I have already had a breast reduction?

Dr. Hall-Findlay is known for her expertise in performing breast re-reduction – in fact she just had an article on 90 breast re-reductions accepted by the leading American plastic surgery journal.

Breast reduction offers significant cosmetic advantages and may also bring relief from uncomfortable physical symptoms. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of breast reduction, contact Banff Plastic Surgery at 403-762-2055.

What is the cost of a breast reduction, and is it covered by insurance?

You may be offered partial coverage by the health care system for breast reductions if you meet the criteria. This will be determined at the time of your consultation. The fees for a cosmetic breast reduction are $12,810.00 and for breast reduction with a partial coverage by the healthcare system $7,980.00.