Not all breast enhancement procedures are focused on increasing cup size. Instead, many women opt for breast reduction surgery to resolve physical discomfort. The concerns over larger breasts aren’t limited just to physical frustrations either; larger breasts can also be a source of emotional distress for many women. Can breast reduction actually improve your quality of life along with physically decreasing breast size?
The Impact of Large Breasts
Many women with overly large breasts would not agree that ‘bigger is better.’ The weight of the average breast is just over one pound, while the average breast weight removed during reduction surgery is around 1000g per side, or about two pounds per breast. That’s a lot of extra weight to carry around all day.
Physical discomfort associated with large breasts includes chronic neck and shoulder pain, both due to the excess breast weight and the poor posture that’s typically associated with larger breasts. Persistent skin rashes or irritation under the breasts are also common physical problems seen resulting from a more generous breast size.
Emotionally, women may feel self-conscious about having breasts that are larger than average, especially if they experienced teasing or bullying in their younger years. A bigger cup size can also create complications when exercising, not to mention the daily frustrations of finding bras and clothing that fit properly.
Looking at the Numbers
A recent study published in the August issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), shows that breast reduction surgery brings about noticeable improvements in many aspects of a woman’s life, not just the physical ones.
The study based its data on answers from the BREAST-Q® questionnaire, a psychometric evaluation process that meets both international and federal standards for questionnaire development. The questionnaire evaluates four different aspects of breast enhancement: satisfaction with physical appearance, and psychosocial, sexual and physical wellbeing.
Among the women who completed the questionnaire, significant improvement was shown in all four of these areas following breast reduction surgery. Rated on a scale from 0 to 100, satisfaction with breast appearance increased an average of 60 points. Psychosocial wellbeing increased from 41 up to an 84, and sexual wellbeing went up from a 40 to a 78. Physical wellbeing, which includes issues like back pain, showed an increase from 43 to 81. Improved sleeping habits and an increase in physical activity levels were also listed on the questionnaire as positive improvements after surgery.
Making a Difference
One online cosmetic surgery community includes a ratings system where patients can evaluate their procedures as “worth it” or “not worth it.” Breast reduction currently carries a 98 percent “worth it” rating, one of the highest satisfaction levels of any procedure featured on the site. These numbers show that looking at the emotional outcome of a surgery is just as important, if not even more important, as physical outcome, especially when it comes to breast reduction.
These numbers definitely back up the idea that breast reduction and other plastic surgery procedures offer results that are about more than just appearances. Although further data is planned down the road, including using a larger patient base for research and incorporating a long-term follow-up study, it’s clear that women feel much more positive physically and mentally after breast reduction surgery.