The most frequently performed surgery correcting breast is undoubtedly their augmentation with implants. Still, reduction mammaplasty of overly large breast is not uncommon. According to the American Association of Plastic Surgeons 80 thousand women underwent breast reduction surgeries in the United States in 2009. The decision is usually motivated by the fact that a considerable breast overdevelopment is an important, if not the most important, issue for women suffering from this anomaly. Nowadays commonly used surgical techniques allow to achieve satisfying results. Obviously, the procedure of reducing and uplifting breast entails certain consequences, namely more extensive scars than in the case of breast augmentation. On the other hand, the number of advantages resulting from reduction mammaplasty is relatively huge, which makes this procedure attractive for women wrestling with this problem. The most common benefits of breast reduction include:
Substantial improvement in posture and the reduction of neck, back and loin pains
According to the research by Dr. Collins, 35% of women who underwent reduction mammaplasty reported the remission of loin pain. Similar results are provided by Dr. Chao, who emphasizes that the majority of women noticed a significant improvement in their posture and the relief of troublesome pains of their neck and back. The mammary gland reduction results in lowering the center of gravity, and simultaneously decreasing the necessity to maintain constant muscle tension of the neck and back, which is usually the source of persistent pain in these regions.
Reduction of persistent headaches
Reduction mammaplasty significantly reduces the incidence of headaches and migraines. It is estimated that as many as 90% of women suffer from such troubles. According to Dr. Ducic, as many as 50% of women who underwent breast reduction procedure reported a relief or significant reduction of headaches and migraines.
Improved lung function and efficiency
According to the research by Dr Starley, breast reduction surgery results in a substantial improvement in lung ventilation. It is extremely important in the treatment of breathing problems during sleep. Also, the surgery influences positively the general health condition of the operated women.
Improved prevention of oncological diseases
After reduction mammaplasty women will be able to perform easily breast self-examinations which may facilitate the early detection of breast lesions dangerous to health. Moreover, removing a significant part of breast diminishes the area endangered by breast cancer. It is confirmed by routine microscopic examinations of excised breast fragments, which happen to be occasionally diagnosed with malignant cancer. Also a number of statistical research revealed reduced incidence of breast cancer among women who underwent breast reduction surgery earlier. Dr. Tarone even recommends reduction mammaplasty for women who belong to the group of increased risk for breast cancer.
Overly large breast definitively can limit women’s physical activity. Obviously, reducing the size of breast makes any form of physical activity much easier. The research by Dr. Boschert proved a significant increase in the frequency of sport activities. Similar observations were published by Dr. Brown who emphasized that 100% of women took up more intensive physical exercises after breast reduction surgery. Its influence on their body weight was overwhelming. The surgery also increased women’s satisfaction with a smaller clothes size. Hence, the conclusion should be drawn not to treat obesity as a contraindication to reduction mammaplasty but, just the opposite, to treat this surgical intervention as a key element stimulating women to reduce their body weight.
Improvement in eating disorders symptoms
Extensive breast growth very often drives women to overeat in order to decrease the disproportions between the upper and lower parts of the body. But, quite opposite situations also happen, i.e. limiting excessive consumption of calories in order to reduce breast size. That is the easiest way to such disorders as bulimia nervosa. Breast reduction surgeries result in solving such problems. According to Dr. Losee’s research, within 10 years after reduction mammaplasty the symptoms of bulimia subsided at all women suffering from this disease.
Decrease in anxiety neurosis and depression
Almost one third of women with overly large breast suffers from anxiety neurosis and depression. The research by Dr. Chahraoui confirmed a significant decrease in situational and personal anxiety neurosis in the case of women who underwent breast reduction surgery. Such changes went hand in hand with a considerable improvement in self-assessment of the women’s body shape. What is even more important, Dr. Saariniemi proved that this type of positive changes in the minds of the operated women is permanent.
Reduction mammaplasty significantly improves the level of women’s self-evaluation. Using Rosenberg’s self-esteem scale, Dr. Mallo pointed a gradual improvement in the self-esteem of women who underwent breast reduction surgery as soon as one month after the surgery, and the condition of permanent improvement after 4 months. Similar conclusions can be found in Dr. Turhan-Haktanir’s research, who additionally records a considerable improvement in women’s temperament after breast reduction surgery.
Better quality of life
Reduction mammaplasty significantly improves the quality of women’s life. Numerous surveys indicate that all parameters referring to the evaluation of life standards of the operated women improved considerably. The women felt more feminine, were eager to form new acquaintances, emphasized smaller problems in professional environment and less embarrassment in intimate situations.
Improvement in psychosexual functions
Dr Guthrie emphasizes in his research that as many as 80% of women with overly large breast reports sexual disturbances. Such women do not tolerate touching their breast by their partners. Breast reduction surgeries release women from such inhibitions and, additionally, improve the level of satisfaction with sexual contacts.
Improved esthetics in breast
Since breast reduction surgery improves body proportions, it should also be considered in terms of esthetic categories. What Dr. Borkenhagen used in his research was a photography test. The patients were to color these parts of their bodies which were improved in their opinions. Surprisingly, after reduction mammaplasty women positively evaluated not only corrected breast but also other parts of their bodies. Dr. Godwin, however, used the comparison test for patients and four doctors. The results showed a much better and more positive evaluation of the breast made by the patients after breast reduction surgery than the one made by the doctors themselves who performed surgeries.
The conclusion to be drawn is that obviously reduction mammaplasty brings more benefits than it can be assumed on the basis of the simple fact of breast reduction. Undeniably, there are positive health effects, however, the changes referring to all aspects of the quality of women’s life are equally important. Such awareness may be helpful in deciding on breast correction surgery.
Małgorzata Kolenda MD, PhD
Sources: „Additional Benefits of Reduction Mammaplasty: A Systematic Review of the Literature” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Vol.129, Nr 3, March 2012