The Surgeon Minute

Breast Reduction Surgery Improves Quality of Life

Breast Reduction Surgery Improves Quality of Life

Many women develop breasts that are too large. While this may sound like a blessing in an age where breast augmentation rules, it’s not. Having overly large breasts can take a toll both physically and emotionally. Women with breasts that are too big for their frame often complain of neck, shoulder and back pain. Many hide behind overly large tops, extremely self-conscious about their appearance. And since breasts develop when these patients are still in their teens, the effects can be devastating for girls as they transition into women and young adults.

A breast reduction is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of a patient’s breasts and improve their overall shape. Dr. Kristi Hustak of Houston, TX discusses this life changing procedure and why it has such a high patient satisfaction rating.

Are You a Candidate for a Breast Reduction?

Figuring out whether or not you are a candidate for a breast reduction must involve an in-person exam. Breast reduction patients typically have one of the following: 

  • neck pain
  • shoulder pain
  • shoulder grooving
  • back aches
  • skin rash beneath the breasts

Reasons for breast reduction.

If these symptoms do not improve with the use of over the counter anti-inflammatories, physical therapy and/or a specialty support bra, a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss breast reduction may be your best bet. Make sure to look for a surgeon who has vast experience in breast surgery. During your consultation, the plastic surgeon will listen to what bothers you about your breasts. He or she will then perform a thorough physical exam to assess your anatomy. Then, together, you will discuss the best treatment plan to achieve your individual goals.

Breast Reduction Surgery May Be Covered by Insurance 

Because a breast reduction can so “impact your quality of life,” it is often considered a covered benefit by many insurance plans. To find out whether or not breast reduction surgery is part of your plan, call up your provider and ask. Make certain to discuss with them the specific criteria that will need to be met for the surgery to be a covered benefit. These typically involve the amount of tissue that is removed. Not all plastic surgeons accept insurance so make sure to ask about this when you book your consultation. Furthermore, the plastic surgeon won’t be able to say for certain whether or not your surgery will be covered, but he or she should be able to give you a good idea of whether or not you will meet your company’s criteria. 

Scars Are the Trade Off for Smaller Breasts

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for patients when it comes to any breast surgery are the incisions; there is no way to remove excess skin without cutting or excising said skin. Bottom line, the trade off with a breast reduction is scars. “We have just not been able to get predictable reductions in both breast tissue and in excessive stretched skin without putting scars on your body,” explains Dr. Hustak. But most breast reduction patients are so ecstatic to have breasts that are smaller, perkier, more lifted and rounder that they will take scars underneath their clothes any day instead of living with the bothersome symptoms caused by overly large breasts. 

Breast reduction patient - Dr. Hustak.

Scars on Breast Heal Really Well

Although it can be scary to think about a permanent scar on the breast, in general, they actually heal really well. “The reason that you come to a plastic surgeon is because we’re going to make your scars the best possible,” explains Dr. Hustak. Scars are predictably their ugliest at around 2 months, but they get better and better over time.

Breast reduction before and after - Dr. Hustak.

There are also a lot of tricks that plastic surgeons know to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Also, not all patients need a full anchor incision reduction; some may be able to get away with a scar that just goes around the areola, or around the areola and straight down in what’s known as a lollipop reduction. The thing with scars is to be patient as it usually takes a good year to a year and a half before your scars have fully faded, thinned and matured. 

When’s the Best Time to Have a Breast Reduction?

Figuring out the right time to have a breast reduction can be a bit tricky. Most patients with overly large breasts develop them during puberty, but there are drawbacks to scheduling breast reduction surgery in teenage patients. The main one is that life changes such as pregnancy, breast feeding and weight gain/loss can adversely affect your breast reduction results. The question then comes down to whether or not a patient’s symptoms are bad enough to have the surgery now, knowing that these life changes may require a “re-reduction” down the line.

Breast reduction after pregnancy.

It’s about weighing the symptoms versus the risk. While Dr. Hustak has performed breast reduction surgery on patients as young as 16, the ideal time to have the surgery is after you have had your children and your weight is steady. But not everyone can or should wait. If the size of your breasts is adversely affecting your quality of life, a breast reduction can be a total game changer that offers patients a new lease on life.

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