The Surgeon Minute

Take The Weight off your Back with Breast Reduction Surgery

Take The Weight off your Back with Breast Reduction Surgery

Your breasts are starting to become too large and too heavy causing neck, back and shoulder pain.  If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to look into a breast reduction, it’s one of the most common procedures plastic surgeons perform on women.  Dr. Patricia McGuire, a board certified plastic surgeon from St. Louis, discusses the breast reduction procedure and the benefits many women gain after surgery.

By Dr. Patricia McGuire, MD
and Susan Kamyab

Up and Moving the Day after Surgery

Breast reduction surgery today can be a very tolerable surgery.  The procedure normally takes about two hours and is done under a general anesthetic, so patients are fully sedated.   “I have my patients spend one night at the surgical center, but the next day they are up, moving around and are able to go home.  I believe in active recovery so I actually want my patients walking around,” says Dr. McGuire.  Patients can fix their hair, put make up on, and even do some light exercise.  Typically, recovery time is about a week for most patients to be functioning on their regular schedule.

The surgery will remove fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts, making them smaller, lighter, and more in proportion to the rest of your body. First, incisions are made around the nipple area and extended vertically below the nipple and in the fold under the breast. The nipple is then moved upward to the desired location. After surgery, patients may need to have some light liposuction to reduce excess fat deposits.

Patients will often wake up from surgery and immediately feel relief from the pain they’ve been dealing with for years.  McGuire says breast reduction surgery can make patients feel a lot better physically and psychologically.  She explains, “Literally weight has been lifted off of them.  It is a big self-esteem boost as well.  Patients will often lose weight afterward because they have the ability to exercise.”

Will my Insurance Cover this Procedure?

Health insurance will sometimes pay for your surgery.  Patients should check with their insurance company before having a breast reduction to see whether their company actually does cover the procedure.  It’s possible there will be a policy exclusion and they will not cover it for any reason.  However, Dr. McGuire says, “We usually send a letter to the insurance company with a picture of the patient from their neck to their waist.   In the letter we explain their story, telling them the symptoms the patient has and how much tissue we think we can remove.”  If your insurance does not cover the surgery, don’t let it stop you from having it.  In the long run it’s the healthier choice and can cause a drastic difference in your life.

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