In order for a breast reduction to be covered by insurance, some reason for medical necessity must exist. In other words, the size and weight of a woman’s breasts must be causing her certain medical problems that could potentially be relieved by undergoing a breast reduction (reduction mammoplasty).
Back pain, traditionally, has been the primary symptom caused by excessive size and weight of women’s breasts that has instigated their desire to undergo surgery in the form of reduction mammaplasty. Neck pain, shoulder strap pain and rashes under the breasts (intertrigo) are other conditions that occur as a result of excess breast tissue and can be relieved by breast reduction surgery.
In an article published in September 1995 in the Annals of Plastic Surgery entitled Lasting Success in Teenage Reduction Mammaplasty, Dr. McMahan, et al described the almost immediate relief of neck pain, back pain, shoulder strap pain and rashes under the breasts from reducing the size of the breasts in teenagers which persisted for up to twenty years as documented in a follow up questionnaire.
In that study, many patients also commented on other side benefits of having smaller breasts such as the ability to exercise, participate is racquet sports, not have to purchase special order bras, dresses and tops.
Do Not Wait for Surgery
It is common for women to comment after breast reduction surgery that they wish they had undergone it many years earlier, regretting that they suffered the symptoms of excessive breast size as weight for much longer than they should have. Concerns that getting the surgery at too young of an age may allow them to grow back are unwarranted. Dr. McMahan’s study also showed that it is very rare for that to happen.
Size Does Not Matter
It is surprising that those who undergo relatively small reductions seem to get just as much relief of their symptoms as those who have very large reductions. The amount of tissue removed at the time of surgery does not necessary correlate well with relief of symptoms after surgery. Size does matter, however, from the standpoint of insurance coverage. To obtain authorization for coverage by third party payers, a certain weight of breast tissue must be removed. In general the bigger the patient is, the more weight insurance companies will require to be removed for approval.
Many patients find that their overall posture improves after a breast reduction. It is not unusual for patients to unconsciously slouch, rolling their shoulders forward in an involuntary effort to hide their breasts. After surgery, the reason for this poor posture is removed and they stand straighter with nothing to hide.
Others will find that they unintentionally kept their weight higher than it should be; again, to help to cover up their large breasts. They often then find it easier to lose weight because their subconscious reason for being heavy has been removed. Do not use this as an excuse to not lose weight before surgery. If your BMI is above 30, you should lose much if not most of the excess weight before any elective surgery.