Breast reduction gets much less attention than breast augmentation, but for the thousands of women who undergo the surgery each year, the results are every bit as meaningful. If you’re considering breast reduction here at my Columbia office, here are 4 things you may not have considered about the surgery.
It can make the gym easier.
Women with oversized breasts often find it difficult to exercise in ways that other people take for granted. Swimming may not be an option, for example, because swimsuits for large busts are hard to find and it can be tough to keep breasts in place when you’re doing laps. Jogging or running is almost always out of the question, although some determined patients have told me they wear 2 bras when they really want to go for a run anyway.
Mainstream sports bra manufacturers often “top out” at a DD cup, so even finding the right apparel can be a challenge. On top of that, patients often tell me that the physical demands of some exercises become prohibitive when added to the weight of large breasts.
After reduction surgery, workout clothing is much easier to find, and it’s also much more comfortable to engage in movement of all types. Many of my past patients are surprised at the ways they’ve become more active since their procedures.
It can relieve pain.
Very large breasts can weigh upwards of 5 pounds each, and carrying around that extra weight nonstop can be incredibly taxing on the muscles of the neck, shoulder, and back. This long-term stress can cause chronic pain and make patients more susceptible to injury.
Once the weight is reduced, so too is the pain. Even when patients are in their initial period after a breast reduction, this is the benefit that is almost immediately apparent to them. It decreases the demands placed on your muscles, and it also improves your posture.
It may affect your future ability to breastfeed.
Unlike breast augmentation, which can be customized to avoid nipple and areolar involvement, breast reduction often requires one or more incisions around the nipple. This can have an effect on a woman’s ability to breastfeed in the future, so it’s important to consider that as you explore whether the timing is right. I generally try to address this in each breast reduction consultation to ensure patients are adequately prepared.
It’s not just for women.
The majority of breast reduction patients are indeed women, but a growing number of men are seeing me and other plastic surgeons around the country for gynecomastia surgery, the male equivalent of the procedure.
Gynecomastia is a condition that causes enlarged breast glands in men. Sometimes there is an identifiable medical cause; in other cases, the cause is more difficult to pin down.
Regardless, breast reduction on male patients is less involved than it is for women. It can often be achieved with liposuction or surgical removal of the breast gland (depending on the cause of the condition). In most cases, the result of gynecomastia surgery is permanent.