How can I get rid of my side flabs after breast reduction?

Two years after getting a breast reduction, I am happy with how they look, but I have developed a lot of excess fat on my sides, below my armpits. I don’t know if this was a direct result of surgery, but I definitely didn’t notice the flabs before. I haven’t gained any weight since having surgery either. Do I need liposuction or is there something else I can do?


F, 40, Florida

Considerations include liposuction and Coolsculpting, but certainly visit a board certified plastic surgeon for a consultation.

Thank you for the question and I agree with Dr Peterson that liposuction may do the trick and with RFAL if there is any laxity of skin

Dr Corbin

Hi.  Losing weight usually helps decrease extra fat in unwanted areas.  But if you've tried that, and it hasn't worked, then you would likely need surgery in the form of liposuction or direct removal of skin and fat.  If you go to your PS, he/she can tell you what your specific options are.  Best of luck!

Likely they were always there but you didn't notice them because of the traction (weight) of the breast they were not as noticeable. I routinely address these at the time of reduction with liposuction.  More than likely you can address these with liposuction

best regards

jack Peterson MD

It could be that you had indications of excess fat under your armpits prior to breast reduction but it wasn't noticeable due to the weight of your breasts. You should check with a few board-certified plastic surgeons to determine the best cosmetic procedures for attacking your issue and getting rid of what is generally referred to as bra bulge.

The bulge you see may be due to excess or accessory breast tissue or loose skin, or could be caused by other potential issues. Cosmetic surgery to reduce the bulge is one popular method of addressing this problem and typically includes liposuction and/or removal of excess skin in the upper arm area. There are also a few non-invasive methods available.

You mentioned that you haven't gained weight since your breast reduction, and you've likely upped your workout routine and may even have tried some online products or exercises to get rid of the excess skin exposed when you wear a tank top, sleeveless shirt, or something similar. Here's a quick overview of some of the more popular procedures.

As I mentioned earlier, liposuction is one way to treat this issue. Performed under anesthesia, liposuction uses a small tube called a cannula to drain excess fat from the area. There are several ways that the fat is broken up prior to removal. You'll need to check with the surgeons you meet with to determine which method they favor.

Another popular method for reducing armpit fat is an arm lift. This procedure involves the removal of the excess tissue and fat deposits from the armpit area. When you meet with the doctor you’ve selected to perform the surgery, together you can decide on the target area. This will help determine whether you'll need to target the armpit area alone (a mini-arm lift), have a full lift performed, or a combination of liposuction with an arm lift.

One non-invasive method for fat removal in this area is CoolSculpting. Essentially, it is a body contouring procedure that targets specific areas with freezing temperatures that destroy fat cells. Note: you will not feel the freezing -- just some slight discomfort during the procedure -- as the process works below the skin. The results of CoolSculpting are not as dramatic as other, more traditional procedures, and will likely require several follow-up visits to your plastic surgeon's office before you see the desired results. It will also take several weeks for the fat to drain from your body naturally.

As you might imagine, each procedure comes with a different set of issues around pain and recovery, cost and timing, pros and cons, and potential side effects. Please make sure you consult with several top board-certified surgeons, especially those who have experience treating the underarm area.

Recommend Liposuction.

You may benefit from liposuction in these areas.  Did you gain weight after the breast reduction?

Best to return to your surgeon for followup and for possible treatment.

Good luck.

Elliot Jacobs, MD, FACS

New York City