Is Chest Binding harmful?


Is Chest Binding harmful?

Some women have an abundance of breast tissues. Others have less.  In extreme cases of having very heavy, pendulous or voluminous breasts, some women seek a Breast Reduction.

For scenarios where a woman has very little natural breast volume or a flat-chest, where a curvier upper body is desired, then Plastic Surgery Breast Augmentation may help achieve a more harmonious appearance to that region of the body.

But it’s an entirely individual decision to change the look and size of your chest.

Sometimes breast tissues or breast size projection  – or the lack thereof – FEELS or LOOKS less balanced on the person’s upper body compared to the rest of the physique. This is where breast surgery can help, by either reducing and lifting very large breasts and reshaping misshapen nipples OR by adding volume to the area of the chest where it is wanted by the individual patient.

It’s a very personal and individual matter to decide to change your breast size or breast shape through surgery, but be aware that chest binding CAN be harmful if done constantly or in the wrong manner.

Is Binding an alternative way to manage the pendulousness of heavy breasts?

  • Binding is not necessarily a good solution BUT for some women, it works well for temporary “containment” of very large, heavy and pendulous breast tissues
  • Professional binding garments may be the more well-tolerated chest binding tops.

While opinions differ, many medical opinions suggest chest binding may be dangerous, harmful or skin-hazardous when done improperly.

  • Overall, breast or chest binding may have some temporary benefits in helping temporarily compress and flatten a larger chest, such as to wear a certain style of clothing for a special event.
  • However, breast binding it’s a temporary solution vs a longer-term solution and it has some perils – so be sure you do your research before you chest bind.

What is the difference between surgery and temporary chest binding or “breast bandaging”?

  • The overall difference is that ONE (Reduction Mammoplasty) is a physical reduction via excision-and-liposuction based Plastic Surgery procedures.
  • It tends to offer a LONG lasting result over your remaining lifetime, but results CAN vary over time or with life events such as pregnancy or menopause.
  • The alternative (chest binding) is a temporary compression method that may help visibly reduce the size or pendulousness of existing breast tissues via tissue compression.
  • Chest binding is temporary in nature and may be limited in what it can achieve for women trying to reduce the projection or ‘swaying’ of larger, heavy breast tissues. If performed, you’ll want to be sure you understand proper binding procedures and RISKS (see the health-warnings of improper binding approaches).

Before we delve further, let’s start with definitions of binding vs breast reduction surgery.

breast-binding- is chest binding dangerous? Should I have surgery instead?

Guide_Breast reduction


Some people with large breast tissues may opt for temporary solutions, such as binding. Binding is not a risk-free method. If you do it improperly or for too long a time, you can actually create a deformity of the chest area. So if you DO choose this as a temporary solution over a breast reduction, be sure you read ALL the medical information and warnings about chest binding risks.

One of which is to NEVER use bandages and to consider the pros and cons of chest binding vs breast reduction very carefully.

Definition of Chest Binding

Medical Definitions in Plain Language Terms

  • Chest binding is a method of flattening the breasts, temporarily, using compression garments or compression wraps.
  • While it IS less invasive than breast resising surgery options, chest binding CAN cause harms.
  • There are some guidelines for the method but it is not a recommended option
  • However, many women opt for chest binding over surgery as a temporary solution to pendulous breasts – or when they crave a flatter looking chest.
  • Other women choose it because they like the look of a flatter, less curvy shape to their upper torso.

Tips for breast binding are listed below.

But check with your Medical Professional BEFORE you try these – and DO fully understand your risks. It is NOT recommended particularly as a long term option due to risks, and even short-term chest binding can cause harms.




Some suggestions and tips for CHEST BINDING from online websites with health warnings include:

  • Never bind breasts with Bandages 
    • Not even for a short period of time.
    • Bandages can cause skin irritations or infections and skin damage.
  • Layer your shirts and use a good sports bra
    • This tip is not very effective if you have a very large breast volume.
    • Otherwise, a snug-fitting sports bra under a few LARGER shirts – they layered effect – may help minimise the APPEARANCE of having a large or pendulous chest area or heavy breast tissues.
  • Binding your Chest with Neoprene may also be a temporary solution – but remember, skin needs to breathe – it’s your body’s largest organ!
    • Neoprene is like wetsuit material.
    • It may feel comfortable but it often doesn’t allow the body or skin to ‘breathe’ and can impede skin function; too much neoprene for too long may be dangerous to your health.
    • Neoprene may reduce sweating and/or increase your body temperature and otherwise impede your normal body functions; read more about wearing neoprene when exercising.
  • Sports compression wear for large-chested women with large breasts
    • Athletic fashion firms often offer a variety of compression shirts and SPORTS BRAS to help keep larger breasts in place during exercising.
    • The online recommendations for compression wear that helps to flatten the chest area for women with larger breasts is to DEFINITELY TRY these garments on before you buy!
    • This makes online shopping for a sports bra for a large-chested woman a bit more risky than for more moderately sized breast tissues.
    • In other words, these can get expensive and may not reduce the projection of the breasts sufficiently for your breast minimisation goals.
  • Professional chest binders are also available
    • Custom-purpose garments may help ‘bind’ the chest to give it a flatter or firmer look.
    • But the consensus online is to DO your research and try before you buy.
    • Look for online reviews of chest binding garments.
    • Read all the health warnings and decide for yourself.
    • If you think SURGERY to reduce breast volume and restore breast firmness, natural curvature and central nipple locations in your chest are the solution for you to consider, we recommend visiting with one of our TOP Melbourne or Sydney Breast Reduction Surgery experts, all genuine FRACS Plastic Surgeons with extensive expertise in getting a natural-looking and balanced result.

Surgery vs Chest or Breast Binding


Sometimes losing weight also helps reduce breast weight or breast size. But the size of your breasts – and the level of ptosis or pendulousness – is determined by many other factors, not only your BMI but also your breast composition, hormone levels and life events.

Benefits of Breast Reduction vs Binding

  • Lighter breast weight
  • Easier to exercise
  • Longer-term solution than binding
  • More uplifted nipples and firmer looking, shapely breasts vs very pendulous breasts
  • Scars on the breasts CAN be reduced or managed with high-tech skin treatments or silicone strips

Benefits of Chest Binding vs Breast Reduction

  • According to research, some women feel more comfortable with a flatter looking upper body.
  • Temporary binding using PROPER and well-informed approaches MAY help you exercise more comfortably, temporarily (but can cause skin or tissue damage if done improperly).
  • Temporary binding is also less invasive than surgery; although it can cause damage; if done, it should be performed cautiously and with proper binding advice provided by a physician or other health professional.
  • Binding doesn’t tend to leave a scar on breasts, but if done improperly, it CAN Scar the skin.
  • If you have a special event and only want to bind your chest for a limited amount of time, seek professional advice and check with your DOCTOR to avoid the health risks of chest binding.
  • Remember, skin binding/chest binding for a flatter looking chest may NOT be your best solution.

Phone us to find out about Breast Reduction Surgery and be sure your read the GUIDE for more information on this procedure.

Visit our Downloadable “Plastic Surgery Guides” page – or phone us now on 03 8849 1444(Melbourne) or 1800033333.(Sydney).

For more information about Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery options and research in Australia.


Last updated: 01/02/2019
Author profile image
Dr Geoff Barnett
Dr Geoffrey Barnett, FRACS (Plas) is a Melbourne based Specialist Plastic Surgeon who has over 35 years of expertise in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon for Cosmetic Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Body Contouring Surgery after Bariatric Surgery.Qualifications and Memberships: Specialist Plastic Surgeon (FRACS) Member - Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery [FRACS (Plast).The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) is the only professional body recognised by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) to train Surgeons in Australia and New Zealand.Author BIO page: