Women think about having a breast reduction for lots of different reasons. Breast enlargement with implants is more often talked about in the media, but recent figures show that breast reduction surgery is very common. The operation has a high satisfaction rate when done by a specialist surgeon.
The breasts are still a major part of western society’s view of female sexuality. Too often, others think that it is appropriate to pass comment or give attention to a woman’s noticeably large breasts. This causes a loss of self-esteem and can lead to withdrawing from social situations. We see many women who feel that the size of their breasts contribute to poor mental health.
Shoulder, neck and back pain
The weight of large breasts is supported by the ligaments of the breast. In turn, these ligaments pull on parts of your body that are already susceptible to discomfort. It is very common for ladies with large breasts to have pain in their back and neck. This pain can interfere with normal activities, sleep and work. In addition, difficulty finding a well-fitting bra can cause pressure areas under the straps and on the shoulders. This might lead to skin irritation or discomfort.
With time, increased weight in the breasts pulls on the musculoskeletal system. The back will naturally tend to bend and arch forward. This leads to a round-shouldered look and can cause long-term pain. A breast reduction can decrease the strain on these parts of the body and may lessen the risk of ongoing back problems in later life.
Skin rash and irritation
When the breasts are large and heavy they droop down over the front of the chest. The crease at the bottom of the breast becomes sweaty and hot. In turn, this can lead to skin irritation and a rash. Occasionally a type of skin fungus (similar to athlete’s foot) can grow there- this is itchy and smelly. When the breast is reduced in size it becomes less droopy and these problems often resolve.
It can be really hard to undertake vigorous exercise if you have very large breasts. Aside from the trouble of finding a well-fitting sports bra, breasts move during jogging and aerobics. This can be very uncomfortable and even increase the risk of bruising or bleeding in the breasts. Similarly, going for a swim is a daunting prospect if you are unhappy with your body-image or have difficulty finding the correct size of swimwear.
Trouble finding clothes you want
Many women work in senior and professional roles nowadays, or in public-facing jobs. If you want to dress fashionably but modestly it can be almost impossible to find clothes that fit well if you have a large bust. Many buttoned-up shirts and work outfits do not fit a woman with a large bosom well.
Looking for a more youthful breast
A breast reduction doesn’t just decrease the size of the breast. The nipples are moved up and the skin is tightened too. This makes the breast look younger and ‘perkier’. You are getting a breast lift at the same time as breast reduction. Of course, moving the nipples has some risks. You may end up with altered sensation or be unable to breastfeed.
Discuss breast reduction surgery
Lucy and Chris are consultant breast surgeons who specialise in reduction among other breast procedures. Click here to find out more about the operation and arrange a consultation in Edinburgh or Stirling. Whereas previously breast reduction surgery might have been available on the NHS, nowadays it is almost impossible to get this. The ‘exceptional referral pathway’ for women in this situation requires you to be referred, approved by a panel and then have funding agreed. If you are successful in overcoming these hurdles, you will have to wait a considerable time due to breast reduction surgery having a low priority in the NHS.