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Popular culture includes frequent references to breast size, and the theme is generally “bigger is better.” Unfortunately, that isn’t always true. Women who have large breasts can experience a number of medical issues that motivate them to consider breast reduction surgery.

Health concerns aren’t the only problem that women with large breasts face. In many cases, they find they are unable to comfortably participate in sports and other physical activities. Additionally, they feel self-conscious when their breasts are disproportionate to the rest of their body, and they struggle to find clothing that fits well. These issues can wreak havoc on their confidence, limiting their ability to reach their personal and professional goals.

Breast Reductions Basics: What You Need to Know to Make Your Decision 1

Decreasing Discomfort Through Breast Reduction Surgery

One of the most common reasons women choose to have breast reduction surgery is to address the back and neck pain caused by the weight of their breasts. The upper spine is built to support significant weight, but the pressure from breasts that are larger than a D-cup can strain muscles and ligaments, leading to significant discomfort. In severe cases, the curvature of the spine can be altered, impacting posture. This causes a chain reaction, and affected women can begin to feel widespread pain in the rest of the body.

Other common issues experienced by women with large breasts include migraine headaches and tingling or numbness in their fingers. Many women have permanent indentations in their shoulders from their bra straps, and skin underneath the breasts can become irritated. In many cases, symptoms improve or disappear altogether after surgery.

What to Expect from Breast Reduction Surgery

Depending on your situation and the desired results, there are several options that might be appropriate. Liposuction can be used if breasts contain significant amounts of fatty tissue. This may be combined with removal of breast tissue and excess skin if appropriate. The nipple and areola (the darker skin around the nipple) may be repositioned to blend with the new shape of the breast, and in some cases, women choose to reduce the size of the areola.

Depending on the complexity of the procedure, breast reduction surgery can take three to five hours, and patients receive full anesthesia. An overnight hospital stay is not usually required. As with any surgical procedure, there is some pain in the breasts during recovery. This usually only lasts for a few days, though milder discomfort may persist for a couple of weeks. Most women can return to normal activities in a week or two. Of course, vigorous exercise and strenuous activities are not recommended for a month or more.

When patients leave the hospital, their breasts are covered with gauze and supported with elastic bandages. Some wear a surgical bra to provide additional support. Physicians may use small tubes in each breast to drain fluid for the first few days after the procedure. There is usually some bruising. Stitches are removed one to two weeks after surgery, and the appearance of the incisions improves markedly over the following months. However, breast reduction surgery does leave scars, making it critical to choose a highly skilled surgeon.

Finding a Skilled Breast Reduction Surgeon

You have a lot of options when it comes to breast reduction surgery, but this is a situation where quality is critically important. Gather as much information as you can about the surgeons in your area and make your selection based on the number of procedures performed and board certification. These qualifications ensure your surgeon has the experience and education necessary to deliver an excellent result.

Nearly one million women in the United States suffer from a range of medical issues as a result of large breasts. Fortunately, options for breast reduction are available to ease discomfort. Consult an experienced plastic surgeon to customize a treatment plan that fits your needs.

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