- Pain in the back, shoulders and neck
- Skin irritation
- Bra shoulder strap indentations
- Self-consciousness or embarrassment
- Inability to live an active, healthy lifestyle
- Having to special order bras and tops
For many women, these issues are severe enough for them to consider surgical correction known as reduction mammoplasty. The surgery is generally done as an outpatient under general anesthesia.
Because breast reduction surgery is considered a reconstructive procedure, it is covered by most medical plans as a medically necessary procedure. In order to obtain insurance coverage, prior authorization from the company must be obtained and your surgeon will help with this process. A letter requesting coverage will be sent to your insurance describing your symptoms, depicting your height, weight, bra size, an estimate on how much tissue will be removed from each breast in grams and photographs of your breasts. Your insurance company will use this information to determine whether or not you qualify for coverage. Denials are often due to excess patient weight; therefore, if you are considering breast reduction surgery and are significantly over your ideal body weight, it is advisable to get on a good diet and exercise program to improve your chance of having your surgery authorized for coverage.
Some patients are also denied because they do not have enough tissue to be removed to qualify for surgery. In these cases, they consider it more of a cosmetic procedure than a medically necessary one. The surgery can still be done and the breasts can still be made smaller, but the cost is the patients’ responsibility.
The tissue that is removed is sent to a pathology lab where it is examined under a microscope looking for cancerous or precancerous cells. In the event that a breast cancer was found in the tissue, which only happens about 1% of the time, further surgery or treatments would be necessary. There is some evidence to show that getting a breast reduction can reduce your risk of breast cancer.
Prior to surgery, measurements are taken to assist in marking the breasts for the planned incisions and for symmetry. During the surgery, excess skin, fat and breast tissue is removed, the breasts are lifted and, typically, the areolas are made smaller in size to match the reduced breast size. An effort is made to create a breast size that is proportional to the patients’ body type and small enough to relieve their symptoms.
The best candidates for breast reduction are those who need to reduce the size of their breasts for relief of physical symptoms. In most cases, breast reduction surgery is not done simply for aesthetics although there is generally also a significant improvement in breast appearance as well.
The vast majority of women who have breast reduction are very happy with their result, get long lasting relief of their symptoms and wish that they had undergone breast reduction much earlier rather than suffering for many years before having it done.