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What is breast reduction?

Very large breasts can cause a woman physical discomfort as well as feelings of embarrassment. Breast reduction involves the removal of excess breast tissue and skin in order to create a breast size and shape that’s more proportionate to the rest of your body. For some patients, a reduction in nipple size or reshaping of the areola may be incorporated into the reduction surgery as well. Options for breast reduction range from minimally invasive approaches with liposuction to more extensive correction for women who have extremely large breasts.

Breast Reduction Video

Breast Reduction Procedure

Dr. Otto Placik is a board certified plastic surgeon who has helped thousands of women find relief from the physical and emotional discomfort of overly large breasts, and has been performing these procedures for over 20 years. Dr. Placik also offers a number of other cosmetic breast procedures for women in Chicago and throughout the surrounding suburbs.

If you are interested in breast reduction, please contact us online or call our plastic surgery offices for more information on breast reduction surgery, including information about cost.

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in Chicago

Dr. Otto Joseph Placik Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Placik is a board certified plastic surgeon in Chicago and an active member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He received his medical degree from Northwestern University where he also completed residencies in general and plastic and reconstructive surgery.


About Breast Reduction

Although very large or saggy breasts may not match your aesthetic ideal, the physical concerns overly large breasts cause can be an even bigger issue. Women in need of reduction frequently suffer from back, neck and shoulder pain, chaffing or rashes under their breasts, and irritation where bra straps cut into the skin. For many patients, breast reduction surgery is rarely defined solely as a cosmetic procedure due to the many physical complications reduction surgery can alleviate. When breast reduction is deemed to be medically necessary due to secondary health concerns related to breast size, insurance companies may cover some portion of the costs of the procedure.

When women with large breasts have a low nipple position, Dr. Placik makes an incision that allows him to remove excess skin and breast tissue and reshape the breast mounds, similar to the procedure used in a breast lift. The specific type of technique used will vary depending on your unique needs, but incisions generally run vertically from the nipple to the inframammary fold (the natural crease at the breast base). At the same time, the nipple can be relocated to a higher, more youthful, centered position. In cases in which patients have little or no sagging, our breast reduction may be employed as a minimally invasive approach to limit scars or to refine the breast contours. Breast reduction is typically performed with the patient under general anesthesia, and in most cases, the procedure lasts approximately 1 to 3 hours.

Breast Reduction Surgery Chicago

Following your breast reduction surgery, Dr. Placik will ask you to wear a post-surgical compression bra to encourage proper breast shape and placement during healing. Any discomfort can typically be controlled with oral medications. The initial soreness should dissipate during the week following surgery, with swelling and bruising improving over the next week or two. Based on how well you are healing, Dr. Placik will advise you when it’s okay to return to work or physical activity, although you should plan on several days of dedicated rest and downtime.

Breast Reduction FAQ


The best candidates for breast reduction should be in good health overall, be at least 18 years old and have fully developed breasts. This procedure can offer significant relief and improvement in your quality of life if your breasts are causing you pain and discomfort, limiting your ability to enjoy or engage in physical activities, or cause you to feel self-conscious or uncomfortable.


When genetics have given you overly large breasts, they tend to begin to sag and droop, even if you have consistently worn the correct type of bra. This can bring about feelings of discomfort and unhappiness about your appearance. It can be difficult to find clothing that fits, and you may avoid fun activities due to embarrassment. Overly large breasts can also bring unwanted attention, which is often unpleasant. Breast reduction surgery can give you great relief once you are free from the heavy sensation, the need to wear special slimming bras, and finally have the opportunity to buy standard clothing sizes, and wear the fashions and styles you have dreamed of. The results of breast reduction surgery are not only a more balanced body profile, but a higher level of self-assurance and confidence in how you look – and feel.


Every woman has a unique concept about how they would like their breasts to look after breast reduction surgery, and we carefully plan each surgery by developing a customized treatment plan. With the use of our extensive library of photos of breast sizes and shapes, we work with you to choose the size, shape, and appearance that best reflects your ideal. Breast reduction surgery not only enhances your overall appearance to a more pleasing, balanced silhouette, but brings you freedom from the weight and discomfort heavy breasts bring, as well as the physical problems associated with oversize breasts, such as rashes, chafing, and bra strap grooves and irritation in the shoulder area. Dr. Placik is known for achieving excellent surgical results and for his artistry in breast reduction surgery. Great attention and focus will be on your health and safety throughout the process, and we employ strict protocols to protect our patients.


Insurers will often pay for a portion of the breast reduction procedures, particularly if the physical effects your breasts have had on your body are well-documented. In some cases, depending on your policy, a certain amount of tissue must be removed from each breast in order to qualify for insurance coverage. Dr. Placik’s staff will work with you to make sure that you receive all the necessary documentation you may require to request reimbursement from your insurer.


The cost of breast reduction varies depending on whether other procedures are performed in combination with the surgery, as well as many other factors. The total cost of surgery will include Dr. Placik’s surgical fee as well as the cost for the surgery center and payment to the anesthesiologist. Dr. Placik and his staff strive to provide excellent value and can help you with cosmetic surgery financing to make your procedure even more affordable.


The incision is customized for each patient according to her anatomy and degree of sagging (ptosis) and extent of the volume reduction. Small, barely invisible incisions hidden in the breast crease can be used when liposuction breast reduction is appropriately indicated. In instances of more substantial breast reduction, Dr. Placik is comfortable using any of the other incisions commonly used for breast lifts and include the periareolar (crescent), circumareolar (donut), circum-vertical (lollipop), or Lexer/Wise Pattern (inverted-T or anchor) incisions. With your input, Dr. Placik and his staff will discuss which approach best meets your needs during the consultation.


Although each breast reduction is unique and each patient heals differently, you can generally plan on committing your first week after surgery to resting with no physical activity. After a week or so, Dr. Placik will evaluate how well you’re recovering and may allow you to begin light activities at that point. It’s imperative to follow Dr. Placik’s post-operative care instructions to ensure a stress-free recovery and an optimum outcome.


Breast reduction is a very safe surgery; however, like all surgeries, there are some risks involved. Complications that can occur include a negative reaction to anesthesia, infection, scarring and blood clots. Other side effects include dissatisfaction with the end result or changes in sensation, although these are rare. Before your surgery, Dr. Placik will discuss potential risks with you in detail so you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.


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