Breast reduction surgery is a plastic surgery procedure to reduce the size of women’s breasts. I have written about the different breast reduction techniques in the past. Here are a few posts:

Will insurance pay for my breast reduction

Will insurance pay for my breast reduction-2

One of the biggest problems with breast reduction surgery has been the cost factor. Plastic surgeons have known for a long time the improvements in health that women who undergo breast reductions can achieve. Insurance companies have been reluctant to consider these surgeries reconstructive and therefore have not wanted to pay for them. Many patients with large breasts have been forced to have breast reductions as a cosmetic procedure and to pay for the surgery out of pocket.

Breast reduction surgery

A woman with large breasts will have a number of complaints, including:

  • Pain in the neck, back and shoulder areas
  • Irritation of skin under the breasts
  • Notching of the shoulder
  • Difficulty sleeping and exercising
  • Decreased self-esteem along with psychological and sexual problems

At least, that is what plastic surgeons have always told insurance companies. Now there is finally proof that it was all true!

Breast reduction surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure that lasts about three hours. The patient is usually able to return to work within a week. Final healing will take place over a four-month period. The most common risks include infection, bleeding, unappealing contour and nipple and areola contour irregularities. In 4% of patients, the nipple may actually be lost due to blood flow problems.

The technique I use is a relatively new technique, only 20 years old: the vertical mammoplasty or breast reduction with a “lollipop scar.” The other breast reduction technique used by 85% of plastic surgeons in the US leaves a larger scar on the breast in the shape of an anchor. It also gives a flattened shape to the breast. It is worth noting that all breast reduction surgery has a component of a breast lift in the procedure. The large breast is also a droopy breast, and breast reduction will also perk up the breasts!

Breast reduction study

A recent study of breast reduction asked 49 women who had undergone breast reduction surgery to fill out questionnaires before and after breast reductions. Patients ranked their answers on a 100-point scale, with 100 being the best possible score in each category.

Here are the improvements in the different categories seen after breast reduction surgery:

  • Appearance: improved from 20 to 80
  • Psychological health: improved from 41 to 84
  • Sexual well being: improved from 40 to 78
  • Physical well being: improved from 43 to 81

Patients also:

  • had less back, neck and shoulder pain
  • slept better and exercised more

The case has been made for insurance companies to finally include breast reduction surgery as a standard benefit for their patients. The surgery has been proven to help patients in many ways both physical and psychological.

Morad Tavallali, M.D., FACS