Breast reduction is a surgical procedure undertaken to make the breasts smaller. Most women's key objective for undergoing breast reduction is to seek relief from the physical symptoms caused by excessively heavy breasts. A reduction in the weight of the breast is achieved by surgically reducing (removing) breast tissue. The procedure removes fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts, making them smaller and lighter. It can also reduce the size of the aureole; the darker skin surrounding the nipple.
We do not recommend breast reduction unless doing so will clearly improve a health issue. Making a decision to permanently change the shape and size of your breasts should be done after much thought and with a clear understanding of what is motivating you. North American culture has a very narrow and restrictive view of what breast size and shape is deemed attractive. Ideally, by questioning our own ideas of breast beauty we can help to expand the societal perspective of what is normal. Your own breasts are likely the best. See if you can love what you already have.
Breast Reduction Questions
Ask your surgeon:
1. how often the surgeon has performed this type of operation?
2. if you are you a candidate for breast reduction?
3. what results are realistic for you?
4. for information on the possible immediate post-operative effects including: bruising, pain, swelling, bleeding, infection and nipple sensitivity.
5. for information on longer-term, local effects.
6. if you will have less feeling in your reduced breast?
7. how much discomfort or pain will you feel?
8. how long you will be in the hospital?
9. how long is the recovery time?
10. to get advice on how to continue monitoring your breasts for breast cancer.
11. about the effect on breastfeeding if this is a concern.
12. to get information on cost of the initial operation
Breast Reduction Statistics
There seems to be many sources of statistics, but none of them appear to be comprehensive.
I did find numbers reported by The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) that placed breast reduction surgery in the top five surgical procedures.
ASAPS report that the number of surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures in the United States increased by 20 percent in 2003 to a total of nearly 8.3 million. The number of surgical procedures increased 12 percent from 2002.
The five most popular surgical cosmetic procedures in 2003 were: liposuction (384,626); breast augmentation (280,401); eyelid surgery (267,627); rhinoplasty (172,420); and female breast reduction (147,173). Breast reduction may be covered by insurance, depending on terms of the policy and individual patient factors.