Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Breast Reduction in Alberta

If you’re in Alberta and your breasts are too large or you suffer from neck, back and shoulder pain, then you may find relief with a breast reduction procedure. Breast reduction surgery is an outpatient procedure that can be performed under general anesthesia. Recovery takes two to three weeks but the stitches will dissolve over time, leaving behind not just a smaller frame but also less pain in other parts of the body.

In Alberta, health insurance is available to cover breast reduction surgery. To qualify, at least 300 grams of tissue need to be removed. This roughly equates to 2 bra-cup sizes (i.e., from a D cup down to a B). Health insurance won’t pay for the procedure if the primary goal is a breast lift.

In this article, we’ll answer question breast reduction wait time Alberta and breast reduction surgery cost Calgary.

Breast Reduction in Alberta

What is breast reduction surgery?

Breast reduction surgery is a functional surgery meant to decrease the size, weight, and volume of the breasts.

The purpose of a breast reduction is to address functional issues such as neck, back, and shoulder pain that may be secondary to large breasts. A breast reduction may also address some cosmetic concerns, however the primary goal is a reduction in breast size.

Who should get a breast reduction?

Breast reduction surgery can improve quality of life for patients who have issues with back, neck, and shoulder pain secondary to large, heavy breasts.

The surgery may also improve the ability to participate in physical activity such as sports, exercise, or running. Prior to surgery, patients should be at their goal weight with a healthy body mass index. Significant weight loss after a breast reduction can negatively impact the surgical results.

How much does breast reduction surgery cost?

Alberta Health Services (at the time of this writing) may cover the procedure if it qualifies as a functional breast reduction.

In order to do surgery through AHS, we require a referral from your family practitioner. Due to the excessive volume of AHS referrals, we can’t always take referrals, and it may take up to two years from time of referral to time of surgery. If the goal is a breast lift without any reduction in breast size, or a reduction smaller than 300 grams, the cost to do a cosmetic breast lift is $9,500.

Can a breast reduction be covered by insurance?

Breast reduction surgery can be covered by health insurance in Alberta. To qualify, at least 300 grams of tissue needs to be removed. This roughly equates to 2 bra-cup sizes (i.e. from a D cup down to a B).

If the primary goal is a breast lift, the procedure will not be covered by health insurance.

How old do I have to be to get a breast reduction?

There is no specific age cut-off for breast reduction surgery. Some teens may benefit prior to the age of 18. The breasts should be fully developed, and stable in size/volume prior to a breast reduction. In some patients, this occurs before the age of 18.

Breast reduction surgery can affect the ability to breast feed in the future, and this can be an important consideration in patients considering having children in the future.

How long does it take to recover from the surgery? When will I be able to exercise/lift things?

Everyone is different in terms of the recovery process. The worst pain and swelling occurs in the first few days after surgery. Most patients are resuming gentle exercise and lifting by 3 weeks after surgery. Resuming more aggressive activity and sports can take up to 8 weeks after surgery.

Final surgical results in terms of breast contour, and scar maturity can take up to 12 months.

How much pain should I expect during/after the procedure?

Some pain after surgery is normal, and helps to protect the body from injury. The pain should be tolerable with over the counter or prescribed pain medications.

Most patients experience discomfort, but are still able to sleep and perform normal activities of daily living within a few days of surgery.

Can I be awake during the surgery?

Breast reduction surgery is generally performed with general anesthetic.

Will I have scars? Is there any way to avoid them?

A breast reduction will create scars on the breast.

There is almost always a scar around the areola and down the front of the breast. Sometimes a scar is added in the fold underneath the breast. The specific location and pattern of the scar depends on the breast size and goals of surgery.

Scars will be discussed in the pre-operative consultation.

How long does the surgery take?

The actual surgery takes roughly 2 hours to complete

How should I prepare for the surgery?

To prepare for surgery, you should be at your ideal goal weight. If you are planning on losing weight, it should be done prior to surgery, and your weight should be stable prior to surgery.

Any medical issues such as high blood pressure or diabetes should be well managed before proceeding with surgery. Nicotine use in any form raises the chance of having post-operative complications. Nicotine should be avoided for at least 3 weeks prior to surgery.

The breast reduction surgery process

We start by marking out the breast reduction pattern with the patient awake prior to surgery. Once the marking is complete, the patient is taken to the operating room.

The surgery is performed and the required amount of tissue is removed from the breasts. Care is taken to correct any pre-existing asymmetries between the two breasts.

The surgical incisions are closed with an absorbable stitch. After surgery, the breasts are dressed with surgical tapes, gauze, and either a bra or breast binder.

The patient is awoken and taken to the recovery room. Patients generally spend about an hour in the recovery room. They are discharged home once they are able to drink fluids, walk, and their pain is adequately controlled.

What are the risks and potential complications?

With any surgery, there is a small risk of infection, bleeding, and risks related to the anesthetic.

The most common potential complications after surgery are wound healing issues, or having small openings in the incision. We usually let these heal on their own.

There are potential cosmetic issues after surgery such as contour deformities, nipple position, or unfavourable scarring.

Breast surgery may make it impossible to breast feed after surgery. Risks will be discussed in more detail during the consultation process. 

Breast Volume Reduction

This  removes fat and glandular tissue from the breast while tightening skin to produce smaller breasts that are more comfortable and in healthier proportion to the rest of the body.  Dr. Perron always combines mastopexy with breast volume reduction.

Large breasts may draw unwanted attention that can affect a woman’s self-esteem and make her uncomfortable with her appearance. Breast reduction can help patients regain confidence and enjoy a renewed self-image by creating a body contour they are proud of.


Ideal candidates for breast reduction surgery are women with oversized breasts that cause low self-esteem, physical or social discomfort or frustrations with the size of their breast. Women must not be pregnant or breastfeeding while undergoing this procedure.

It is important for patients to understand the details and risks associated with this procedure, and to have realistic expectations in order to be satisfied with the results of their surgery.


The breast reduction procedure is performed under general anesthesia and takes about two to four hours, depending on the techniques used and each patient’s individual case. There are several different types of incisions that may be used for this procedure. Dr. Perron will determine the best type for you after evaluating your breasts.  Each procedure is fully customized for each individual patient.

  • Traditional Breast Reduction Surgery – This technique involves an anchor-shaped incision and is ideal for women with extremely large breasts, although scarring is usually more apparent. Skin, fat and tissue can be removed from the lower breast and the nipples and areolas may be repositioned as well.
  • Vertical Incision Breast Reduction – Also known as short-scar, this technique involves incisions that extend around the areola and down to the breast crease for a lollipop shape. Vertical incision is ideal for women with moderately large breasts and creates shapelier results with less scarring for women who do not require extensive tissue removal.
  • Scar-less Breast Reduction – Scar-less breast reduction uses liposuction techniques to reduce the size of the breast with little to no scarring. Since liposuction only removes fatty tissue in the breast, patients should have more fatty tissue than glandular tissue. This technique is commonly used on men with enlarged breasts.


Your breast reduction surgery should have long lasting effects. In most patients, the surgery will alleviate physical limitations as well as pain caused by oversized breasts. This may results in higher self-esteem and confidence. Aging, fluctuation in weight and hormonal factors may cause a change in breast shape over time, but in most patients, the effects of breast reduction surgery will last many years.

Breast Reduction Wait Time Alberta

Under general anesthesia, the breast reduction procedure typically takes between one and two hours to complete, though this will vary from patient to patient and technique to technique. A variety of incisions are possible for this operation.

Under general anesthesia, the breast reduction procedure typically takes between one and two hours to complete. However, the duration of the surgery can vary depending on the individual patient’s anatomy and the specific technique used by the surgeon. During the procedure, a variety of incisions may be made to remove excess breast tissue and reshape the breasts.

One common incision technique used in breast reduction surgery is the anchor incision, also known as the inverted-T incision. This incision pattern involves making three separate incisions: one around the areola, one vertically from the bottom of the areola to the crease of the breast, and one horizontally along the crease of the breast. This allows the surgeon to remove excess tissue and reshape the breast while minimizing visible scarring.

Another incision technique that may be used in breast reduction surgery is the vertical incision, also known as the lollipop incision. This incision pattern involves making two incisions: one around the areola and one vertically from the bottom of the areola to the crease of the breast. This technique is often used for smaller reductions and can result in less scarring than the anchor incision.

In some cases, a periareolar or “donut” incision may be used for breast reduction surgery. This incision pattern involves making a circular incision around the areola to remove excess tissue and reshape the breast. While this technique can result in minimal scarring, it may not be suitable for larger reductions or more complex cases.

The choice of incision technique in breast reduction surgery will depend on the individual patient’s anatomy, the amount of tissue to be removed, and the desired outcome. It is important for patients to discuss their options with their surgeon and carefully consider the potential risks and benefits of each technique before undergoing surgery.

Free Breast Reduction Surgery Alberta

Face Operations
Surgical reduction of the breast (for aesthetic reasons): $9,500 – $12,000.
Male chest rejuvenation (gynecomastia): $5500-$6500 Breast SAFE Lipo-Sculpting (with covered reduction): $3700-$4200
Budget Adjustment for Changes to the Areola: $3000 to $3500

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