Big Breasts Can Be an Even Bigger Pain Requiring Surgical Relief

Sep 10, 2009

( -- Contrary to pop-culture portrayals, big breasts aren't always an asset; for some women, they can be a literal pain in the neck.

According to the American Society for Plastic Surgeons, disproportionately large breasts and the frustrations that come with them cause more than 88,000 women to seek breast reduction surgery each year.

UC Health reconstructive Minh-Doan Nguyen, MD, PhD, says the majority of women who choose breast reduction do so for two reasons: the inability to be physically active and experiencing chronic pain in the neck, shoulders and back resulting from the breast weight strain.

“Many women get grooves on their shoulders from constantly tightening their bra straps to achieve more support,” explains Nguyen, who is also on faculty at the UC College of Medicine. “In addition, women have the added challenge of keeping the area under their breast clean and dry to avoid getting painful rashes and infections.”

Obesity can play a role in breast size, but Nguyen says the choice to get reduction surgery comes down to how large the breasts are in proportion to the rest of a woman’s body.

“Women who are larger in stature typically have large breasts, but in terms of volume they aren’t disproportional to the rest of their bodies,” says Nguyen. “For women that are larger, so many tell me: ‘I can’t find a bra to support my breasts, so I can’t even attempt to go out and do any type of vigorous activity to lose weight.’ That’s a big quality of life issue that I can help them overcome.”

Surgery is the most extreme treatment choice and only certain patients will quality for it. Patients are encouraged to explore other options to eradicate pain—such as treatment with primary care physician, physical therapist or chiropractor—before choosing the surgery route.

If the patient is a good candidate for surgery, the surgeon will first mark the patient’s breasts to guide tissue removal. The amount of tissue that is removed is based on individualized calculations related to the patient’s body mass index, weight and height. The techniques used for breast reduction surgery vary, but the goal is the same: to preserve the nipple and remove enough glandular tissue, fat tissue and skin to relieve the patient’s pain and create breast conformity.

“By the time women ask about breast reduction, they are so tired of dealing with the symptoms that they just want relief. The perky breasts are a side benefit—not the motivating factor,” adds Nguyen. “It’s tough for these women to find bras and shirts that fit properly from standard consumer stores. Many women are self-conscious about their breasts and don’t want to accentuate them.”

Nguyen notes that while breast reduction surgery is often a permanent solution in terms of tissue volume, patients should realize that their breasts will still change with age—particularly if they lose or gain a substantial amount of weight. Patients who have surgery during their teens or 20s when the breasts are not fully developed may require an additional surgery. Breast reduction can also affect a woman’s ability to breastfeed.

Provided by University of Cincinnati (news : web)

Explore further: Experts call for higher exam pass marks to close performance gap between international and UK medical graduates

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Breastfeeding study dispels sagging myth

Nov 01, 2007

Nursing mothers needn't worry. A new study shows that breastfeeding does not increase breast sagging. University of Kentucky plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Rinker and his colleagues conducted the study with patients at UK HealthCare ...

City-dwelling women at greater risk for breast cancer

Nov 26, 2007

Women who live in urban areas have denser breasts, making them more likely to develop breast cancer, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Sep 11, 2009
Another article about great tits?

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.