Breasts that are too large can be just as devastating to a woman’s self-esteem as breasts that are too small. However, large breasts can also result in physical problems like back, neck and shoulder pain, chafing, rashes under the breasts and may even prevent a woman from participating in certain activities. A breast reduction is a surgical procedure to reduce a patient’s breast volume so that it is in proportion with the rest of her body. This can positively impact the patient’s sense of herself which is why breast reduction surgery consistently has one of the highest patient satisfaction ratings of any cosmetic surgery.
Dr. Caroline Glicksman of Sea Girt, NJ is a breast reduction expert. She discusses the types of patients that she sees as well as what to expect from surgery.
Bread Reduction: Younger Patients
“Breast reductions are one of the most commonly performed procedures in my office. I’ve been doing them for close to 30 years,” explains Dr. Glicksman. Breast reduction surgery is so popular partly because it appeals to such a wide range of women. Dr. Glicksman has seen patients as young as 15, and as old as 80. However, patients’ reasons for booking a breast reduction consultation tend to vary by age. Young women will often come in accompanied by their mothers, and while some may not yet have reached full growth, a detailed consultation with a fourteen to sixteen year-old, “helps them to understand that there is hope and a plan for the future.”
High school is hard under the best of circumstances. Going through that time of life with overly large breasts can be devastating to a girl’s self-confidence. She’s often been teased mercilessly and/or the victim of unwanted attention and jealousy. Simply knowing that there is a procedure that can give her smaller breasts is calming. Even though it may be too soon for surgery as she hasn’t yet stopped growing, Dr. Glicksman will assess the patient, discuss her insurance requirements, and get her thinking about having a breast reduction before she begins college.
Breast Reduction Surgery: 20’s, 30’s & 40’s
As young women enter their 20’s and 30’s, the symptoms associated with large heavy breasts may become more noticeable. Many women are dating or starting a family and their concerns shift to issues surrounding potential scarring and the ability to breast feed. Most patients who have a breast reduction can still breast feed, but there is no guarantee. And even though the scars on the breast heal extremely well, many young women tend to put off breast reduction because of a lack of health insurance coverage or finances.
Patients in their late 30’s and 40’s, are often finished having children. They have possibly put on a little weight, and are just ready for smaller breasts. They are tired of wearing large underwire bras, feeling fat, dealing with back and neck pain and strain, and the heaviness of their breasts.
Breast Reduction, Older Patients & Asymmetry
For older post-menopausal women in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, many are finally ready to undergo a breast reduction and to make a change for themselves. Many patients suffer from some degenerative changes in the neck and shoulders or have significant back problems, chronic pain, and rashes under their breasts. They are miserable. Breast reduction surgery can be almost like a new lease on life for these women.
The last group that Dr. Glicksman sees for a breast reduction are women with severe asymmetry. Some patients develop with a congenital asymmetry that is more than just a cup size apart. There are a number of different surgical techniques to help women of any age to correct breast asymmetry. Surgery must be tailored to the patient’s unique anatomy as well as their desires. Dr. Glicksman may perform a breast lift or breast reduction on the larger side, or the patient may want to reduce both breasts in varying amounts. There are also cases where either an implant or fat is necessary to enlarge the smaller side, while a lift or reduction is done on the other breast. “It really depends on the individual patient and tailoring the surgery to fit her needs”.
Breast Reduction Surgery
Breast reduction surgery is “not a painful operation” explains Dr. Glicksman. Both her sixteen year-old patients and her seventy year-old patients handle it really well, “This surgery rarely requires anything stronger than Tylenol or Advil.” However, breast reduction surgery usually requires at least a week off from work or school to rest and recover safely. Dr. Glicksman also advises young mothers get some help taking care of their children for a week or so.
Most surgeons, including Dr. Glicksman, perform their breast reduction surgeries without the use of drains. This is not only more comfortable for the patient, but helps to speed up the recovery process. The procedure itself varies, but Dr. Glickman’s goal with every breast reduction is “to do a procedure that produces the greatest amount of lift and reduction in volume while leaving patients with the shortest possible scars.”