How to Know if Breast Reduction Surgery is Right for You…

measuring-bustSometimes it seems that we as women wish for things that we do not have. For instance, if you have curly hair, you may wish it were straight. And for women without breasts, they may wish that they had more volume. I see this daily as women come into my office requesting a larger breast size. Conversely, I have women who come into my office with large breasts requesting to reduce the size, stating that the size is impacting them physically. Are you one of those women?

If you are wondering whether breast reduction surgery is right for you, consider the following:

1. Do you have large breasts?

This may seem obvious…and it is. But consider your breast size as it relates to your overall body. Have the breasts gotten larger as a symptom of weight gain? If you are at your ideal body weight, are the breasts still large? If you lose weight, does your breast size decrease? If your breasts are proportionally larger than the rest of your body, you are likely to be a good candidate for a breast reduction. If, however, they are proportional, we may recommend weight loss as your first line of approach to address any physical symptoms.

2. Do you suffer from constant back, neck, and/or shoulder pain?

Are you in pain? Is it mainly in the upper back and neck area? Does it worsen as the day progresses? Does anything help? Have you tried massage? Physical therapy? Most insurance carriers request at least 3 months of documented conservative treatment prior to approving a breast reduction. If you have done all of these things, and the pain persists, you may benefit from breast reduction surgery.

3. Make sure that your breasts are the real cause of your pain.

Similar to my recommendations above, before proceeding with invasive surgery, try things that might improve your posture. How about a yoga class? Are you hunched over a computer all day? Are you able to change your daily habits and improve your symptoms? How about a bra fitting? It is estimated that 80% of women wear an incorrect bra size.

4. Is finding a bra a nightmare?

If you currently wear more than a DD, it can seem difficult to find a bra. You can’t get it at Target or Victoria’s Secret. There are lots of bra boutiques in Atlanta, but these bras can be expensive. If this describes your shopping experience, you may benefit from surgery.

5. Is it hard to find clothes that fit?

Similar to finding a bra, are clothes difficult for you to find due to your chest size? Is it a matter of the breasts being far larger than your waist? Do you have to wear a larger size just because of your breasts? This is a symptom of the disproportion that may make you a good candidate for a breast reduction.

6. Does your frame feel out of proportion with the rest of your body?

Do you have a small frame but large breasts? Are the breasts weighing you down or does it feel like they are pulling you over? These symptoms may suggest you would benefit from breast reduction surgery.

7. Make sure you’re emotionally and physically mature enough.

Particularly if you are a teen or young adult, make sure your breasts have stopped developing. There is no age minimum for breast reduction surgery but during the teens and early twenties, your body will change significantly and it may be better to wait until these changes are stable. It is important to be emotionally ready to go through surgery too. These are permanent changes.

8. Talk to a plastic surgeon.

Once you have thought these issues through, it is time to talk to a plastic surgeon. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms as well as what you have done to try to address them prior to your consultation. Supporting letters from your primary care physician or OB/GYN may also be helpful. Calculate your body mass index (BMI). Insurance companies use these numbers to decide if they will cover the procedure. Your consultation will include a discussion as to whether insurance coverage is reasonable or a cosmetic quote will be provided. And lastly be prepared to have photos taken. This is another requirement of insurance carriers.

If you think a breast reduction is right for you, schedule a complimentary consultation with a board certified surgeon at the Emory Aesthetic Center to help you realize your goals and improve your life.

Click here to schedule your personal consultation.

About Dr. Anderson

anderson-ericaErica Anderson, MD, is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and currently holds an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Emory University. Dr. Anderson completed her general surgery residency and plastic surgery residency at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and associated hospitals in Denver, CO. She completed a year of advanced training in Aesthetic Surgery at Grotting Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Anderson returns to Emory University after being in private practice in Arlington, Virginia. While there, she maintained a busy aesthetic and reconstructive practice and also served as Medical Director for the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center at Virginia Hospital Center.

Dr. Anderson’s academic and research interests are largely focused on clinical outcomes with regards to cosmetic surgery. Her areas of clinical interest are diverse including cosmetic surgery of the breast and body as well chest wall reconstruction and wound care.

Dr. Anderson is married with 3 children, Trent, Connor and Fiona, and 2 vizslas, Max and Mimi.


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