Des Moines, Iowa Breast Reduction Surgeon

Breast Reduction

Excessively large sagging breasts can be uncomfortable, unhealthy and distracting to a woman’s appearance. Breast Reduction Surgery, also known as Reduction Mammoplasty, removes excess breast fat, glandular tissue and skin from the breasts to achieve a more balanced breast size.  The nipple may be repositioned and or reduced as well.

Why It’s Done:

If you have large sagging breasts, you may choose to have Breast Reduction Surgery to alleviate back and shoulder pain, chronic rash under the breast, bra strap furrows, hand numbness and breathing difficulty. Breast reduction surgery may also help improve your self-image and self-confidence, posture, as well as your ability to participate in physical activities.

How is a Breast Reduction performed?

Breast reductions are typically accomplished by performing three incisions commonly referred to as an “anchor-incision”. The first incision is around the areola. The next is a vertical incision from the areola down to the breast crease. The third incision is horizontal under the breast and follows the natural curve of the breast. Working with these incisions, Dr. Bergman or Dr. Folkers will remove excess skin tissue and fat. The nipple is relocated for cosmetic purposes. A tube may be placed under each breast to drain any excess blood or fluid. The surgery will take between three to five hours.


Breast reduction surgery has the same risks as any other type of major surgery – bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to the anesthesia. Some of the other possible risks include: Loss of sensation in the nipples and areola, inability to breast feed and scarring. Understanding what’s involved in breast reduction surgery and weighing the benefits vs. risks can help you decide if breast reduction surgery is right for you.


Initially, you’Il have a consultation with Dr. Bergman or Dr. Folkers. They will go over the following:

  • Evaluate your health & review your medical history.
  • Discuss your expectations regarding breast size and appearance.
  • Examine and determine the specific type of reduction & incisions that will provide you with your most beneficial results.
  • Provide a detailed description of the procedure and recovery.
  • Measure and take photographs of your breasts.
  • Discuss total cost.
  • Submit a letter to your insurance company to determine if medically necessary.

Before surgery, you may also be asked to get a baseline mammogram and complete various lab tests. With any surgery, you will be asked to stop smoking for a specified period of time and to avoid taking Aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs.

What to Expect:

Breast reduction surgery is most often performed as an out-patient procedure at an accredited surgery center under general anesthesia. After surgery, your breasts will be covered with gauze dressing and either elastic bandages or support bra. Our Doctors may prescribe medications for pain, as well as an antibiotic to decrease your risk of infection. Your breasts will be swollen and possibly bruised for up to a couple of months. Initially they will also feel quite tender and sensitive. Typically the tubes and dressings will be removed around one week after surgery. Your stitches will be removed within one to two weeks. You should be able to return to non-physical work around two weeks, although it may be several weeks before you can resume all normal activities and exercise. Call (515) 222-1111 to schedule a consultation with our surgeons.

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