If you’re considering breast reduction surgery, you may be filled with questions and doubts about whether the procedure is right for you. I admit, I was skeptical about having the procedure, although I often considered it during my 20s and 30s.
Since breast reduction surgery, or reduction mammaplasty, is considered elective surgery in most cases, the choice didn’t come easily for me. After giving birth to my two children, I often wondered if breast reduction surgery was right for my top-heavy figure, a generous 34 DDD. On my 5′ 3″, 138 pound frame, my chest dominated my petite body frame. I routinely wore clothes several sizes larger on top than on the bottom ~ size 6 or 8 pants versus size 10-12 shirts. The biggest impact of my top-heavy frame was the way I routinely bound my chest with tight exercise bras. I wore very constrictive bras, not only to keep my chest from bouncing during the day, but also to minimize my profile. The bras made me look slimmer, but also gave me an unnatural profile, as if I had a symmetrical tube wrapped around my chest.
Over the years, I would hear positive stories of other womens’ experiences with breast reductions. It seemed like everyone I knew advised me to “Go for it!” and not look back. And, I was assured by friends that the surgery would “change my life” and other glowing predictions. Now, I’m fairly ambivalent about cosmetic surgery and I’m not particularly vain. The idea that breast reduction surgery could change my life was hard for me to swallow. I still don’t believe surgery will change your life, but it might make life more enjoyable. Many times, however, while I wrestled on one of my anchoring bras, I briefly considered the procedure, but then I berated myself for being vain or ungrateful for my “endowment”. Thanks to several testimonies online, I was convinced that this surgery is really effective. So if you own a medical practice services, it is important to grow your plastic surgery practice through digital marketing.
The physical effects of my heavy chest included constant heartburn from the corset bras I wore. I also suffered moderate back pain associated with the weight of my breasts. My posture was terrible, and keeping my shoulders back required serious effort. Never being proud of my chest, I slouched or rounded my shoulders to hide my figure rather than celebrate it. Despite my physical discomfort and low self esteem, for many years I considered the surgery to be out-of-the-question.
Why I finally changed my mind: For years, I mentioned my breast issues to my husband (who never seemed to be bothered by it much). Despite his assertion that Mother Nature had constructed me just fine, he would suggested I should at least find out if I was a candidate for the surgery. Mostly, I think he just wanted me to stop complaining! One day, as my 40th birthday loomed on the horizon, I decided the time was right to investigate the surgery. During a yearly checkup with my physician, I mentioned my breast size issues, and she made a few quick measurements. Based on my proportions and my medical complaints, she recommended that I consult with a plastic surgeon and suggested that my surgery might even be covered by insurance.
I booked the earliest appointment with a plastic surgeon recommended by my physician, which was six months later! During that time, I avoided thinking about the surgery because I wasn’t sure I’d go through with it. I still didn’t believe I “deserved” it. I learned a lot from my consultation with the surgeon. She didn’t try to persuade me to have the surgery. She simply explained that the heavy and pendulous breasts which weighed me down would be lifted and more in proportion to the rest of my body. She showed me her portfolio of before and after photos. I was impressed that the after photos showed ladies with natural figures, and their surgical scars were mostly hidden below the breast. When I explained that I worried I wasn’t an extreme enough candidate for surgery, she maintained that in my case, the surgery would serve both therapeutic and cosmetic purposes.
Getting approved for insurance and surgery: The nurse practitioner measured and photographed my breasts, took a medical history, and submitted my data for insurance approval. About a week later, I learned that I had been approved for the breast reduction surgery, and that a certain amount of breast tissue (about two pounds total) was required to be removed in order to qualify for insurance. At first, this minimum amount worried me, because I feared becoming too small on top after the operation. My surgeon explained that she would remove the required amount, but that the final shape and size would probably conform to my “goal” bra size ~ a 34 D. My insurance would cover only a portion of the entire procedure, so I prepared to pay a substantial amount out-of-pocket. Additional expenses not covered included a 20% copay, the surgical assistant, lab fees, anesthesia, hospital fees and other costs.
Being a healthy candidate for surgery was considered critical before undergoing the procedure ~ luckily, I don’t drink, smoke or have any serious health issues. I do take blood pressure medication, but for me, that wasn’t an impediment to getting surgery.
Going into the procedure, I knew that any surgery carries serious risks ~ even death ~ so I admit, I was more than a little nervous about unexpected complications. In the end, I weighed the pros and cons, and decided the potential benefits would be worth the risk and pain of surgery. Also, my surgeon prepared me for the possibility that I may not even like the results at first! And, I prepared for the inevitable pain and scarring following surgery.
In my essay, I shared my decision-making process in hopes that my experience might help other women who are considering breast reduction surgery. Of course, since I’m just a patient, I wrote this article simply to give you a patient’s perspective, and not as a substitute for a qualified doctor’s opinion. Obviously, it’s important to consult with your physician and a qualified plastic surgeon to find out if you’re a good candidate for the procedure. Every woman’s body and potential outcome is unique, and I plan to discuss the results of my surgery in an upcoming article. Stay Tuned!