The Medical Benefits of Breast Reduction Surgery

By: Dr Barry Eppley
The weight of breasts that are too large can cause musculoskeletal symptoms involving back, shoulder, and neck pain. Heavy breasts that hang down eventually cause grooving in the skin of the shoulder from the bra straps as well. While many patients try non-surgical treatments such as weight loss and physical therapy, only breast reduction surgery can truly alleviate the associated discomfort.

Breast reduction is a highly successful procedure that in every patient provides an immediate and long-term relief of painful back, shoulder, and neck issues. Having performed many breast reductions, I am convinced that the relief comes as much from the breasts being repositioned back up higher on the chest wall as it does from the amount of breast tissue and weight removed. Patients often ask if they are going to get a breast lift as well as a breast reduction. The answer to that is.....absolutely! The design of a breast reduction (it is a very geometric operation) is such that a lift and reduction is performed at the same time. Like making a cone out of a flat piece of a paper, a wedge of skin and breast tissue is removed from below and the breast is brought together with the nipple being moved higher. (a simplistic illustration) This makes the remaining breast tissue temporarily sit higher up on the chest wall that it will eventually be. While initially after surgery the breasts will look too full up on top (and the bottom of the breasts will look cut off or too flat), within weeks the breasts will round themselves out better. If a breast is made to be perfectly round at the end of the surgery, it will not remain so later. If so, the breasts will bottom out later and no fullness on top will remain. You must factor in to the design of a breast reduction how the breasts will change after surgery to end up with a good-looking result.

All of this comes at a price....so to speak....and the price is the presence of visible scarring on the breast. When I say, extensive breast scarring, I do not mean that the scars will look bad. I do mean that the amount (length) of the breast scars will be extensive. Out of one's sight, half of the breast scar lies along the lower breast crease. The visible remainder runs around the nipple and then vertically down to meet the lower breast fold. While I have performed very few breast scar revisions, patients need to have a good appreciation of the scarring to be certain that this is an acceptable trade-off.

Breast reduction works well and is highly accepted by most patients. The breasts can be reduced to almost any size that a patient prefers and one that is a better match to their body frame.
Plastic Surgery
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