While many believe that undergoing plastic surgery is solely for cosmetic purposes, this is not always the case. For example, breast reduction, or mammoplasty, has been developed to provide women with oversized breasts a surgical solution to rectify their discomfort.

Breast Reduction

While many believe that undergoing plastic surgery is solely for cosmetic purposes, this is not always the case. For example, breast reduction, or mammoplasty, has been developed to provide women with oversized breasts a surgical solution to rectify their discomfort. These problems can vary from chronic neck and back pains to respiratory difficulties and severe skin irritations.

Breast reduction surgery is designed to vastly improve the quality of these patients’ lives, and Dr Nerina Wilkinson finds this operation to be one of the most gratifying cosmetic surgery procedures.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Breast Reduction?

Breast reduction surgery, also known as mammoplasty, is a procedure used to remove excess fat, tissue and skin from the breasts. If you have large breasts, you might choose to have breast reduction surgery to ease discomfort or to achieve a breast size proportionate to your body

What Is Included In Breast Reduction Surgery?

Breast reduction surgery removes fat, glandular breast tissue, and skin from the breasts, making them smaller, lighter, and firmer. It can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple. The goal is to give the woman smaller, better-shaped breasts in proportion with the rest of her body. 

Who Would Benefit From A Breast Reduction?

Ideal candidates for breast reduction surgery are women who have reached maturity and suffer from overly large painful breasts. Chronic neck and back pain experienced by women can be linked to the size and weight of their breasts. Women with severe skin irritations in the breast fold will also benefit from a breast reduction. Not only do large breasts lead to poor posture and constant discomfort but can also result in low self-esteem.

Most of these patients also experience psychological problems, and some find that the size of their breasts affects many of their normal activities in life. In most cases breast reduction isn’t performed until a woman’s breasts are fully developed, however, it can be done earlier if large breasts are causing serious physical discomfort. The best candidates for breast reduction surgery are those who are mature enough to fully understand the procedure and have realistic expectations about the results. We are however seeing more conscious teenagers in our practice, as they are more aware of the possibilities around having a breast reduction surgery to improve their discomfort self-esteem.

At What Age Can I Have A Breast Reduction?

While breast reduction can often be performed safely and successfully for patients in their mid teens, many cosmetic surgeons prefer that their patients wait until they are at least 18 before undergoing breast reduction surgery.

How Long Is The Recovery After A Breast Reduction?

You’re likely to feel tired and sore for a few days following your surgery, but you’ll be up and about within 12 to 24 hours. Most of your discomfort can be controlled by medication prescribed by your doctor. Within 2 – 4 days, the Elastoplast dressings and drainage pipes will be removed, and you will start to wear a surgical bra supplied by us; you should wear it 24 hours a day for 6 weeks.

You may also experience a burning sensation in your nipples for about two weeks, but this will subside as bruising fades. Although the stitches are dissolving there will be 4 little knots which need to be removed 10 – 14 days after surgery, but the swelling in your breasts may take four to 6 weeks to disappear. You final breast shape will only be determined after 3 months. 

How Do I Know If I Should Have A Breast Reduction?

To see if a breast reduction is the best cosmetic surgery procedure for you, always start with a professional consultation with qualified and experienced cosmetic surgeon for an in-depth analysis of your body features and to reach a good understanding of your concerns and goals.

Dr Nerina Wilkinson’s unique and comprehensive surgical consultation is available for you to discuss and analyse your concerns and goals and for her (together with her team of specialists) to provide bespoke advice.

Schedule your cosmetic surgery consultation today! 



Prior to your consultation, it’s important to conduct your own research, to ensure you put your own mind at ease and know as much as possible about your procedure. Upon your initial examination, Dr Nerina Wilkinson decides on the best course of action to take based on your general health.

She discusses your desired breast size and other improvements you may want to be made during the procedure. It’s here that she will be able to give you an idea of how realistic and achievable your goals are, and advise you accordingly. She then examines, measures and photographs your breasts and take note of the size, shape, skin quality and nipple and areola placement.

During your first consultation, you’ll be asked to disclose your full medical history including conditions, drug allergies, medical treatments, current medication and previous surgery. It’s also important that you discuss the following during your consultation:

  • Weight loss – If you plan on losing a sufficient amount of weight, she may advise you to book the procedure once you’ve achieved your goal weight.
  • Pregnancy – If you’re considering having children and breastfeeding after you’ve undergone a breast reduction, it’s important to discuss this with her during your consultations. During the surgery, some of the milk ducts are removed, which might make it difficult for you to breastfeed.
  • Smoking –  you will be advised to stop smoking if you are a smoker as smoking could be detrimental to the blood supply of the nipple-areola complex that is moved during a breast reduction.
  • Mammograms – It is possible that Dr Nerina Wilkinson may recommend that you undergo a mammogram before the procedure is booked, especially in cases where there are risk factors for breast cancer such as a family history.

The preferred breast reduction technique is restricted to over-sized bosoms. Therefore, if you do not meet the criteria, you might have to opt for a different type of mammoplasty i.e mastopexy.

The entirety of a mammoplasty is usually done within two to four hours while you’re under conscious sedation and involves:

  • Incisions – The most common breast reduction technique requires three incisions. One around the areola, another from the nipple to the underside of the breast, and the final in the bottom creases. Dr Nerina Wilkinson always attempts to minimize the extent of the scars and succeed in most breast reductions to use the short scar, otherwise known as the lollipop incision  (around the areola and extending down to the breast crease.) Only in extremely large breasts would she use the traditional anchor incision that extends along the distance of the breast crease.
  • Removal and repositioning – Excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin is removed from both breasts to make them smaller and firmer. Next, the nipple-areola complex is repositioned to the desired location and, if necessary the size of the areola can be reduced for cosmetic reasons. In some cases, liposuction of the underarm region is performed to reduce excess fat deposits that tend to bulge over the bra.
  • Finishing touches – The remaining breast tissue is reshaped with internal sutures and the skin wounds are sutured with dissolvable sutures. The incisions are then covered with a light dressing, and in most cases, drainage tubes may be inserted. These will need to be removed after 2-3 days, depending on the measurements of your drainage.

Dr Nerina Wilkinson recommends that most of her patients overnight in the post-operative recovery ward, following their mammoplasty, when they’re advised to wear a surgical bra. This serves to maintain symmetry during the initial healing period. While you may experience some discomfort initially, you can expect this to decrease on a daily basis. Oral medication can be used to manage discomfort or pain. You can also expect the scars to fade between six and 18 months.

In most cases, it’s possible to resume work within two weeks, unless the nature of your job is excessively strenuous. You may also resume exercise, starting slowly, within a few weeks. It’s normal to experience periodic and mild discomfort, but severe pain must be reported immediately.

After your procedure is completed, the recovery period is projected to around 12 days, during which no strenuous activity should be undertaken. Once the time has passed and the swelling has gone down, you can enjoy not being hindered by overly large breasts.

You can resume normal sexual activity after a minimum one week period, but you’re advised to handle the breasts gently for the following six weeks. If you have any concerns or questions regarding specific activities and time frames, check with your surgeon.

If you want to do further research into what you can and can’t do after your breast reduction, consult our full recovery guide.

Dr Nerina Wilkinson has more than 18 years of experience in breast surgery and attends regular breast surgery meetings and seminars internationally and locally. She has established herself by utilizing revolutionary technology and techniques.

Contact the practice today to find out more about breast reduction surgery with Dr Nerina Wilkinson.



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The Cosmetic Surgery Team

About Dr Nerina Wilkinson FCS (Plast SA)

What sets her apart is her in-depth surgical precision and knowledge combined with a delicate artistic eye. Her philosophy is using art and science to deliver on the signature natural look.

She specialises in Breast Rejuvenation & Restoration

Dr Nerina Wilkinson is an extremely distinguished plastic surgeon and known as one of South Africa’s leading breasts specialists. Over 2 decades of surgical experience instills confidence in patients seeking minimal scar Breast rejuvenation surgery

“Firstly , thank you for the wonderful work that you and your team have done on my breasts. Thank you for the friendly Anelda and the stunning Lorna. You all have improved my life”

J.J. Cook, Breast Surgery

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