Breast Reduction Outcome Study: Positive Physical and Psychological Changes for Women
A retrospective study of women who underwent reduction mammaplasty (breast reduction surgery) between 1982 and 1996, was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the University’s Edwin and Fannie Gray Hall Center for Human Appearance. The women who underwent breast reduction surgery for macromastia (large breasts), were mailed questionnaires designed to evaluate changes in both physical symptoms and body image after breast reduction surgery, as well as to assess the relationship, if any, between body weight and physical and psychological outcomes of patients. Sixty-one women (55 percent) responded to the survey.
Women with macromastia frequently present to the plastic surgeon for breast reduction surgery after unsuccessful attempts to relieve their severe symptoms utilizing other medical interventions.
Pre-operative physical/psychological symptoms experienced by study participants:
92% Back pain 84% Shoulder grooves (from brassiere straps) 67% Trouble finding clothing to fit properly 66% Breast pain during exercise 51% Skin irritations 48% Shoulder pain 41% Personal embarrassment
Post-operative changes in physical symptoms experienced by study participants:
83% Improvement or elimination of breast pain with exercise 83% Improvement or elimination of shoulder grooving 78% Improvement or elimination of back pain 78% Improvement or elimination of shoulder pain
84% Very satisfied with the results of surgery 92% Would have the surgery again 98% Would recommend the procedure to others
Obese vs. non-obese patients:
The signs and symptoms of macromastia are improved or eliminated in the vast majority of patients, irrespective of body weight. Women suffering from macromastia typically have difficulty losing weight because of the pain associated with the rigor of undergoing strenuous physical activity. 40% of the women studied were classified as obese.
The study was published in the peer reviewed journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Glatt, B.S., et.al. “A Retrospective Study of Changes in Physical Symptoms and Body Image after Reduction Mammaplasty” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 103:1; 76-82, 1999