OakLeaf Medical Network Healthy Viewpoints, Winter 2003
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Joseph W. Rucker, MD, FACS

Breast Reduction

Joseph W. Rucker, MD, FACS
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Rucker MD, Plastic Surgery ClinicEau Claire

Breast reduction surgery is also known as reduction mammoplasty. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, the number of breast reduction surgeries performed in the United States has doubled in the last 10 years. It is important to realize this increase in the number of procedures performed is not because of an increase in the number of women with large breasts, but because of a growing awareness of the symptoms that this condition can cause.

Breast reduction has been extremely helpful for women with very large, pendulous breasts who have experienced medical problems caused by the excess weight of the breasts, including back and neck pain, skin irritation beneath the breasts, skeletal deformities, bra strap irritation and breathing problems, to name a few. Many believe that this condition is hereditary with the maternal side of the family contributing most to the frequency of the condition.

Most patients seeking help have a long history of upper or lower back problems plus a psychological component reflected as diminished self-esteem and feeling ashamed. In most cases alternative treatments such as weight loss, physical therapy, supportive bras and medications do not provide permanent relief of symptoms. It is also important to note that this surgery is not just for women. Men who have conditions such as gynecomastia (where male breasts are abnormally enlarged ) also seek the benefits of this procedure.


Before undergoing breast reduction surgery, all patients will need a pre-operative consultation which will include a physical examination. At this time we review your medical history and examine and measure your breast size. The relevant history, documentation of health problems and examination findings are compiled and then sent to your insurance carrier to determine whether the condition will meet the criteria for medical coverage. Once the surgery has been approved, the procedure, the recovery and the expected outcome are discussed.

The Procedure

Breast reduction is performed under a general anesthetic in a local hospital. Care is taken to make the breasts symmetrical and to also preserve sensation to the nipple and even the ability to breast feed in the younger patient.

The Recovery

Most patients rate the pain level as a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. Light activity is tolerated well in the first week. Light employment is tolerated after two weeks, with heavy lifting and regular activity in three to five weeks.

Post-operative interviews with patients have indicated that 95% of breast reduction patients have noticed a significant reduction in their symptoms and an enhanced health-related quality of life.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Joseph Rucker » 715.833.2116 or 800.456.8222 Rucker MD, Plastic Surgery Clinic