I applaud actress Ariel Winter for openly admitting to undergoing breast reduction surgery. Stigma still surrounds this surgery with women being labelled vain etc. Critics have no idea about the levels of pain, physical discomfort and embarrassment experienced by women who ‘suffer’ from disproportionately large breasts.
In the days following this Daily Telegraph feature I looked at the numbers of breast reduction surgeries in my own practice. Whilst I knew the numbers had risen, I hadn’t actually realised that they have in fact jumped so dramatically – with an increase of 5% year on year (for the past 3 years).
WHY do women seek this procedure? Always a difficult question to answer as each patient has their own views and concerns, but generally I find recurrent themes. Education is one of the biggest triggers – women are learning more about the options open to them, and surgery is definitely one solution. Large brasets can cause actual physical issues such as back ache and neck pain which, as breasts become bigger (as they inevitably do!), can lead to actual skeletal damage. Physical exercise can also be a problem and very uncomfortable. Alongside the physcial isues and, in my opinion of equal concern, are the psychological problems experienced by these women. Unsolicited male attention and embarrassment are often cited as real issues.
WHY is it that breasts seem to be getting bigger? There are several schools of thought and probably isolating one cause is impossible. Hormones and dietary habits definitely have roles to play. Some claim that levels of oestrogen in our water supply are artifially high thanks to the excretion of by-products of the contraception pill and this in turn accelerate formation of breast tissue (not just in women but in men too).
BREAST REDUCTION SURGERY is not to be taken lightly and there can be an arguement made against having this procedure before women have completed their families. Pregnancy can cause breasts to enlarge and after mammoplasty there is no guarentee that breast feeding will be possible. Scarring has to be considered as surgery involves moving the nipple upwards and excess tissue has to be removed. I always try to use use the ‘lollipop’ incision where I can but if women have very large breasts this is not always possible and the scar becomes more of an anchor.
I have to say that the positive effects of mammoplasty are immeasurable – this surgery can really change someone’s life. but the decision to have surgery must be balanced and informed.