The Women's Journal

“Oh, My Aching Back” The Benefits Of Breast Reduction

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By Dr. Julia MacRae

When women come to me to discuss breast reduction surgery, they’ve usually tried various other treatments for their severe back, neck and shoulder pain. They have deep grooves in their shoulders from the straps of their bras. Some even have numbness and tingling in their hands from the weight of their breasts or chronic infections underneath them. Patients have gone through physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, and taken prescription medication to try to ease the back pain. They’ve invested in expensive custom bras and new mattresses in an effort to live a day without pain. When I finally get to see them, my advice is “You need this surgery done yesterday!”

Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is a highly effective treatment for symptoms of macromastia or large breasts. It is considered a reconstructive (or medically necessary) procedure, and thus is usually covered by insurance. Women of all ages have benefited from breast reduction surgery. Although it is common for women in their 30’s to 50’s to seek relief with surgery, I encourage older and younger women to consider it as well. Breast reduction can drastically improve self-esteem. I fondly remember one teenage patient skipping into my office after her surgery and announcing with a broad grin “I’ve joined the volleyball team”. It is common for patients to find that they are able to lose weight after surgery because they are finally able to exercise in comfort.

Breast reduction surgery achieves a smaller, more attractive appearance by lifting and reducing the breast at the same time.
The most common type of breast reduction surgery saves the blood and nerve supply to the nipple, so the nipple retains normal appearance and sensation. The nipple is raised to a normal position and the remaining tissue is removed and tightened. On average, anywhere from 2-6 pounds of tissue is removed, depending upon the pre-operative size of the breasts. The scars, which form an anchor shape on the breast, fade to thin lines after several months. The great news is that patients notice the difference the very first morning after surgery when they wake up free of back and neck pain!

Dr. MacRae has been a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in Newark, DE for over 12 years.  She is a graduate of
Yale University School of Medicine and completed a plastic surgery residency at the University of Virginia. She is particularly pleased to serve the Hispanic community, as she speaks Spanish.

Visit or call (302) 368-9611 to make an appointment. Be sure to mention this article at your consultation for a “thank you” gift!

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