Binding Vs Breast Reduction: Is chest binding harmful?


Chest Binding vs Breast Reduction. Is Breast Reduction your best long-term solution or are there other long-term options to reduce breast size?

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. Or 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. It’s also very important that you do your research before you choose to have surgery performed, including knowing the difference between a Cosmetic vs Plastic Surgeon.

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 a Breast Reduction or Breast Augmentation procedure. Just be sure you’re choosing it for YOURSELF and be sure you understand the procedure, recovery times and risks.

If you’re reading this blog on binding vs breast reduction, you’re probably wondering how to reduce or minimise the size of your breasts. For women who have physical pain and social discomfort associated with heavy breasts, our Surgeons can help with a Reduction Mammoplasty procedure. Not all patients are suitable candidates for this procedure, however, and a personal consultation is required.  Phone (03) 8849 1444 for information about our Reduction Surgeries.  We also offer Male Breast Reduction surgery for Gynaecomastia. 

Breast Surgery in Australia – How popular are Breast Reduction and Breast Augmentation procedures?

TWO of the MOST POPULAR breast surgery procedures in Australia are:

  • Breast Augmentation Operations or a Breast Lift WITH a Breast Enlargement
  • Breast REDUCTION and/or a Breast Lift on its own

Is Binding better than a Breast Reduction for managing larger, heavy breasts?

Binding is not necessarily a good solution but for some women, it works well. Professional binding garments may be the more well-tolerated chest binding tops.  While opinions differ, many medical opinions suggest 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 KEy difference between a breast reduction 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 option (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.


Definition of Breast Reduction/Reduction Mammoplasty Plastic Surgery

Medical Definitions in Plain Language.

  • A Breast Reduction procedure is a surgical technique that reduces tissues and excess skin in the breast area.
  • It helps to reduce overall breast volume, lighten overall breast weight, and shape and lift the breasts for more aesthetically-balanced projection.
  • Surgery options also allow for breast shaping and reshaping as well as repositioning of the nipple aerola complex (NAC).
  • During surgery, asymmetry of the breasts and nipple locations can also be adjusted or minimised.
  • Even after surgery, however, your breasts will still never be perfectly symmetrical – but they will be uplifted, nicely shaped, and a lot more similar in projection, position and size.
  • Remember, however, that individual results DO vary and that all invasive surgery caries risks.  These are explained in our Surgery Guide to Breast Reduction (link below).

Breast Reduction Surgery (Reduction with a Nipple Lift)

Clicking on the title above will take you to a page with more information about Reduction Mammoplasty Plastic Surgery by our Teams in Melbourne and Sydney.

For Breast Augmentation Surgery, click here

Case study example of a Breast Reduction Surgery result by a FRACS qualified Melbourne Plastic Surgeon: Asymmetry Correction & Breast Reduction/Breast Lift Surgery expert, Dr Craig Rubinstein.

breast reduction surgery experts in Melbourne and Sydney

Other individuals with pendulous breasts may consider NOT reducing or changing the volume. They may simply want to LIFT the breasts and nipples to a more central location.

For these patients, Breast Lift Surgery may be the answer (known medically as a Mastopexy).

Click here to read more about Breast Lift Surgery (or click here for a Breast Lift with added VOLUME in a combined breast uplift PLUS Motiva or Mentor Breast Implants).

Download a Breast Reduction Surgery Guide – PDF format – or phone us on 03 8849 1444 for more information.

We can also help you schedule a confidential consultation with one of our caring, highly skilled Melbourne or Sydney Breast Surgery experts.

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 the breast reduction surgery option, chest binding CAN cause harms.
  • There are some guidelines for the method but it is not a recommended option; even so, many women opt for chest binding over reduction 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.



Binding Breasts vs Breast Reduction Surgery – which should YOU choose for greater comfort?

Both binding and Reduction may reduce Chest Projection and give a flatter appearance to your upper torso; reducing uncomfortable ‘breast swaying’ (pendulousness).

But one is temporary – and the other is longer term.

  • Decisions like this are very personal and individual.
  • The best thing you can do to help you in decision making is to research each option thoroughly using trusted websites and guide books.
  • Speak with patients who have HAD surgery and speak to people who have tried BINDING instead of surgery. Get real perspectives from real patients who chose the surgical option (you can also do this at our monthly events).

Surgery has RISKS that need to be considered (download the Guide to Breast Reduction) and results can vary from patient to patient. (View Breast Reduction photos here).

  • But so, too, does binding.
  • Binding can be dangerous if done improperly or for too long a period of time.
  • Breast Reduction has a benefit over binding, in that for large-chested women, it has been proven to help reduce back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain caused by heavy breast volume or breast ptosis that impedes posture and limits choices for exercising comfortably.
  • Read more about Breast Reduction Surgery benefits by ordering the guidebook.

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.

Breast Reduction 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.

cosmetic surgery for women and men Downloadable guides  

Dr Geoff Barnett - MBBS, FRACS (Plast)
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: