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Breast Reduction

Rucker MD Plastic Surgery Clinic 


Breast Reduction Surgery Information - Mammoplasty

Mammoplasty is also simply referred to as a breast reduction. Men and women undergo this surgery when their breast tissue causes physical or emotional discomfort. These problems can include:

  • Back and neck pain

  • Skin irritation beneath the breast

  • Skeletal deformities

  • Bra strap irritation

  • Breathing problems

  • Occasional tingling sensation in the hands

Many physicians believe that this condition has a strong hereditary component with the maternal side contributing most to the frequency of the condition. Most patients present with a long history of upper or lower back problems requiring physical therapy or chiropractic care plus a psychological component presenting as diminished self-esteem and feelings of shame. In most cases alternative treatments such as weight loss, physical therapy, supportive bras and medications do not provide full relief of symptoms.

To improve your chances for insurance coverage for Breast Reduction, the following documentation would be required. We strongly recommend you bring this documentation with you or forward it to us prior to your consultation:

  1. Fill out the Breast Reduction Questionnaire Form
  2. Provide letter and/or clinical notes from your Primary Care Physician explaining conservative treatments that have been tried and failed (noting symptoms due to large/heavy breasts) and the date range of which you were treated
  3. Provide letter and/or clinical notes from Chiropractor, Physical Therapist, and/or Massage Therapist explaining conservative treatments and the date range of which you were treated
  4. If you are over 40 years old, provide the results or your most current mammogram (within the last year)

Completing the above steps will allow us to submit a more detailed package of information to your insurance carrier, thereby improving your chances of obtaining coverage for this procedure. Read 6 Steps to Speed Insurance Coverage for Breast Reduction for more information.


It is important to note that this surgery is not just for women, either. Men who have conditions such as gynecomastia (where male breasts are enlarged abnormally) also seek the benefits of this procedure.

The goals of breast reduction:*

  • Make your breasts look balanced when you are wearing a bra

  • Regain your younger breast contour

  • Reduce the size of the nipple areola complex to better fit the smaller breast size

  • Reduce the overall breast size so as to reduce the associated symptoms and to make the breast size proportional to the rest of the body

What gives the breast its shape?

The breast consists of milk ducts and glands, surrounded by fatty tissue that provides its shape and soft feel. Situated beneath the breast is the pectoralis major muscle. The skin envelope surrounds the breast mound and the nipple areola complex is connected to the underlying system of milk ducts.

Your consultation

Breast Reduction Procedure Before and AfterBefore undergoing breast reduction surgery, all patients will need a pre-operative consultation. At this time, we review your medical history and perform an examination to ascertain if you are indeed a candidate for a breast reduction mammoplasty. The relevant history and examination findings are then sent to your insurance carrier to determine coverage for the procedure. It is our experience that their insurance carrier approves approximately 80% of our candidates for this procedure. Also during your initial consultation, the procedure, the recovery and the expected outcome are discussed with each patient.

Insurance Pre-authorization

All patients must undergo a pre-authorization evaluation prior to the breast reduction procedure. Our office will submit a letter for that purpose to your insurance carrier. Those patients that have demonstrated an attempt of conservation treatment for their symptoms have a higher chance of obtaining insurance coverage for breast reduction.

Below are listed the symptoms and the recommended conservative treatment for each of them. Most insurance carriers require a 3 to 6 month period of conservative treatment prior to approving the breast reduction. Wisconsin patients can try the following conservative treatment for their symptoms.

  1. Upper/Lower Back Pain, Neck Strain, Chest Wall Heaviness:
    Chiropractic manipulation, Physical therapy, Heat treatments, Massage,
    Anti- inflammatory medication

  2. Bra Strap Irritation (Shoulder Grooving):
    Shoulder padded bra straps

  3. Rashes Beneath the Breasts:
    Ointments, drying powders

  4. Tingling and/or Numbness of Hands:
    Hand splints, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications

It is also extremely helpful to have letters from the patient's primary care doctor, physical therapist and chiropractor documenting their conservative treatment.

Results will vary.*


Dr. Rucker's experience in breast reduction

Dr. Rucker completed his Plastic Surgery Residency in 1984. Because of his desire to devote a major portion of his practice to Restorative Breast Surgery, he chose to attend a fellowship program in Breast Surgery in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Rucker became board certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1986 and attained the position of Fellow in the American College of Surgeons in 1989. During his 30 years of practice in west central Wisconsin, Dr. Rucker has performed approximately 2,400 breast reduction procedures.

Planning your breast reduction

Following your insurance company's approval for your breast reduction procedure, our office will contact you to discuss your upcoming surgery including potential dates and the appropriate preoperative testing that may be required. If requested, our office can direct you to another patient who has undergone this procedure to assist in answering any more questions that you may have. Our knowledgeable staff can also provide you with information regarding the type of anesthetic that will be used, where the surgery will take place and a more detailed outline of what to expect after your breast reduction.

The procedure

Breast reduction is performed under a general anesthetic in a local hospital. Care is taken to make the breasts symmetrical and to preserve sensation to the nipple, also preserving the ability to breastfeed in younger patients. These goals are addressed by leaving the nipple areola attached to a pedicle of breast tissue. Through this pedicle run the nerves and vessels that help preserve sensation and a good blood supply to the nipple areola complex (see fig 1). All incisions are closed under limited tension, resulting in a smaller breast and areola and a more lifted breast contour (see Fig.2). All of the tissue that is removed undergoes a pathologic examination in order to rule out the possibility of any underlying breast disease.*

Results will vary.*


During Dr. Rucker's 30 years as a surgeon, he has performed 1,000+ breast reduction procedures. In order to gauge the improvement of symptoms, we conducted a survey. Of approximately 100 breast reduction patients, 95 % stated that their symptoms and quality of life had significantly improved following breast reduction mammoplasty.*

The recovery*

You will be in the hospital overnight following your surgery. Most patients rate their pain level following surgery as a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. The first morning following your procedure, you will be evaluated prior to being discharged home. Typically, 98% of our patients are discharged on the first postoperative day. There will be drains beneath each breast, and they are usually removed prior to your discharge. All patients are given detailed written postoperative instructions and prescriptions for an antibiotic and pain control.

Light activity is tolerated well in the first week. Most patients are never so incapacitated that they can not take care of their own basic needs. You will return to see the doctor one week after your procedure. All of your dressings are removed; your postoperative recovery and activity levels are again discussed as well as an anticipated date for your return to work. Light employment is tolerated after two weeks with heavy lifting and regular activity in 3 to 5 weeks.* You are also given detailed instructions for care of your suture lines so as to help prevent excessive scarring. Your final consultation usually occurs 5 months after your procedure.

Breast Reduction Procedure Before and After 2
Results will vary.*

Breast Reduction Procedure Before and After 3
Results will vary.*

Breast Reduction Procedure Before and After 4
Results will vary.*

Breast Reduction Procedure Before and After 5
Results will vary.*

Breast Reduction Procedure Before and After 6
Results will vary.*



Am I a candidate for breast reduction?*

This is a question that can only be answered after a full consultation with your plastic or reconstructive surgeon. Determining factors are your age, health and the presence of symptoms that have not responded to conservative methods.

Does insurance cover breast reduction procedures?

Yes, in most cases breast reduction is covered if there is a well-documented history of the above noted symptoms. A letter is sent to the prospective insurance carrier along with the patient's history, height, weight and breast size. Also attached is an estimate of the amount of breast tissue to be removed to reduce the breast to a more proportional size. It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to receive a response and approximately 80% of our patients are approved.

How much experience do you (Dr. Rucker) have with this procedure?

Besides the usual training in general surgery and plastic and reconstructive surgery, I elected to do additional reconstructive breast reconstruction training in Atlanta, Georgia. Since 1984, I have performed approximately 1,000 breast reduction procedures.

What results are realistic for me?*

The breast will be made as symmetrical as possible. Immediately following the procedure, the breast may feel and look tight, but with time, the skin softens and the breasts take on a more natural appearance.

How will my reduced breast feel to the touch?*

Most patients relate to us that they have approximately 90 to 95% feeling remaining after breast reduction. In some cases, there may be areas of the breast that demonstrate less feeling than other areas.

What possible complications should I know about?*

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks of bleeding, infection and scarring. A more detailed list of other potential risks will be discussed with you during your initial consultation.

How long will I be in the hospital following breast reduction?*

Patients have usually gone home 24 hrs after their procedure in 95% of our cases.

When can I return to physical activities?

Most strenuous exercise can be started within 4-8 weeks.

Can I talk with other women who have had the same surgery?

Yes. You can contact our office and we will be happy to connect you with someone who's had the same type of surgery.

What happens if I gain or lose weight?

Weight gain or loss may enlarge or reduce the size of the breast by 10- 20%.*


Dr. Rucker and his staff hope that this information will be of help to you if you are considering a breast reduction. Wisconsin natives should look no further than our friendly and knowledgeable staff for advice, consultation, and, eventually, surgery. We've helped over 2,400 patients during the preoperative, operative and postoperative periods of reconstructive breast surgeries. Please feel free to contact Dr. Rucker at his office with any concerns or questions.


There is a potential for complications in any operative procedure; however, some risks are unique to breast reduction. Wisconsin women who choose to have their surgery with the skilled staff at Rucker MD Plastic Surgery Clinic will enjoy postoperative care designed to reduce the chance of infection, scarring and changes in sensation. During your consultation, a detailed discussion of these potential risks will be given to you.


Call us at 800.456.8222 or email us at! Our staff is happy to help you! 


*DISCLAIMER: Cosmetic and reconstructive surgery results can and will vary significantly between patients. Risks, potential complications, and/or permanent scarring are inherent with any surgical procedure. Before-and-after photographs are NOT guarantees that your results will be the same as or similar to another patient. Any and all information should be discussed in full detail with your surgeon prior to any procedure as the information found on this website is not a substitute for a personalized consultation and examination. Material on this website may include the views or opinions of other patients, parties, or specialists; external website links are not endorsements or under the control of Rucker MD Plastic Surgery Clinic.

If you have any questions about our disclaimers, procedures, recovery protocols, or before-and-after photographs, please do not hesitate to fill out our contact form or call our office (800-456-8222).

We look forward to assisting you with your cosmetic and reconstructive choices.

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