After Modern Family star Ariel Winter’s acknowledgement of having undergone breast reduction surgery, there has been a marked increase in the number of women – including teenagers – who are addressing personal health issues related to having large breasts. Due to such factors as increasing age, the effects of gravity, and the weight of breast tissue, women with larger breasts tend to develop stretch marks and sagging faster than women with smaller breasts. These same women will have functional problems with neck and back pain, shoulder grooving from bra straps, and breast infections. Fortunately, breast reduction surgery addresses both aesthetic and functional concerns of women, and it routinely leads to a better quality of post-operative life for most patients who elect to have it done.
The most common reason for a breast reduction is the desire to improve neck and upper back pain. Some patients try losing weight, undergoing physical therapy and visiting chiropractors to help, but unfortunately see little improvement in their symptoms. Having exhausted all other medical options, these patients benefit most from surgically removing a portion of their breast tissue to decrease the tension that large breasts place on their shoulders, neck, and back. The amount of tissue removed depends on a combination of factors – including a patient’s desired size and any insurance requirements – but patients can count on experienced plastic surgeons to leave them with a proportional body silhouette post-surgery.
Similar to the effects of a breast lift, a breast reduction also rejuvenates the remaining breast tissue and nipple, placing both in a more youthful, elevated position on the chest; this lifting takes further strain off of the neck and back. A reduction also tightens the remaining breast skin, removes stretch marks, and leaves the breast with a firmer appearance.
Breast reduction surgery can be covered by insurance, with insurance companies often requiring 3-6 months worth of documentation from a primary care provider of breast-related symptoms (rashes, neck/back pain, and shoulder grooving), and treatment failures (weight loss, physical therapy), that have led a patient to pursue surgery. Knowledgeable plastic surgeons can often assist in this process of insurance approval, as they are able to supply the necessary pre-certification paperwork. If a patient is denied by her insurance company, surgery can still be accomplished through a self-pay model, or financed into monthly payments.
Safely performed in an outpatient setting, a breast reduction does require a few weeks off from any heavy activity or exercises, but many women can return to work within a week or two, depending on their job requirements. There are many training-specific surgical techniques that can and should be used during a breast reduction, so it is important to choose a plastic surgeon that can help you maximize your results.
As an Emory, Harvard, and University of Pittsburgh-trained, ASPS board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Castillo provides in-depth consultations addressing the concerns of women seeking to reduce their breast size. If you are a patient who is experiencing neck and back pain, and think your breasts may be the reason, please schedule an appointment with us soon. Results can be so positive and immediately relieving that you will wonder why you didn’t elect to have the surgery much sooner!
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