The demand for breast-reduction surgeries has increased, according to new statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The organization recently published its annual report, Plastic Surgery Statistics, and showed that there were 43,635 reduction mammaplasty procedures performed in 2017, an 11 percent increase over the previous year.
ASPS researchers attribute the rise in the breast mammaplasty procedure to more women wanting to feel better about themselves.
“Breast-reduction surgery addresses both looks and function,” said Dr. Jack Peterson
Many women choose to surgically reduce the size of their breasts because their breasts are too big or too heavy and are causing them pain or health problems.
“Breasts that are too large or too heavy can cause back and neck pain, pain in the shoulder at the bra strap area, and skin problems such as rashes or yeast infections,” Peterson said.
Breasts that are too big can also make many women feel self-conscious.
“Many women with large breasts complain that their clothes do not fit them properly; button-up shirts gap, V-neck shirts are too revealing, and it is hard to find bras that fit,” Peterson said.
Women with large breasts also complain about feeling uncomfortable in the workplace or relationships.
“Some women have concerns they are not taken seriously in their careers because of their large breasts,” Peterson said.
The breast-reduction procedure surgically removes excess breast fat, skin and glandular tissues to create breasts that are more in proportion to the patient’s body.
The breast-reduction procedure can be performed alone or in combination with the mastopexy, or breast-lift, surgery,
“Many women choose to combine the procedures, especially after years of pregnancy and breastfeeding or after significant weight loss,” Peterson said.
Pregnancy, breastfeeding and losing a significant amount of weight can cause changes in the breasts like sagging or drooping.
“After events like pregnancy and significant weight loss, some women are left with uneven breasts, so a reduction and lift can bring the breasts back into symmetry,” Peterson said.
The breast-reduction procedure is performed under general anesthesia and takes between two and five hours, depending on how much tissue there is to remove or if the patient opted to combine the procedure with another surgery.
“In addition to the breast-lift, some women choose to package their breast-reduction surgery with a tummy tuck or another body-sculpting procedure such as liposuction, thigh-lift or buttock-reshaping procedure,” Peterson said.
Most patients who undergo the breast-reduction procedure recover within two to three weeks, with several additional weeks of restricted activity, such as no heavy lifting or limited exercise routines.
Women are not the only ones seeking out breast-reduction procedures.
The ASPS stats also showed that there were over 26,000 male breast reductions performed last year.
“Excess breast tissue, also known as gynecomastia, is a common condition in men and is a consequence of hormonal fluctuations, aging and significant weight loss,” Peterson said.
Gynecomastia affects 40 to 60 percent of men. The condition can affect one or both breasts.
Like women, men can be self-conscious about their excess breast tissue, and this may interfere with their relationships and prevent them from participating in exercise or other activities.
“Men who go to the beach or pool wearing a T-shirt may have excess breast tissue and don’t want to show off their chest,” Peterson said.
Like female breast-reduction surgery, male breast reduction removes unwanted fat and tissue. The result is a more masculine appearance of the chest and more confidence.
“When people look good, they also usually tend to feel good,” Peterson said.
ASPS. New Statistics Reveal the Shape of Plastic Surgery. 1 March 2018.