We live in a world where many women are opting for plastic surgery to help change their appearances. Women account for 86,4% of all plastic surgeries and the number one request is bigger breasts. But what about the women who desire to shrink their naturally busty frames?
Unlike most plastic surgeries, a breast reduction or reduction mammaplasty is often done to improve the patient’s quality of life. The excessive weight from having larger busts can often make women feel like prisoners in their own bodies. Barbra Bredenkamp, age 33, knows all about that: she’s been battling with having large breasts since puberty. Her G cup breasts resulted in her seldom leaving the house or feeling comfortable in her body. She says that she’s permanently on muscle relaxers to help with the shoulder and pain caused by her breasts and bra straps digging into her shoulders.
If the physical pain wasn’t enough, she says that the emotional pain has been equally hard. “I was bullied while growing up and often have people staring at my chest, which make me feel very uncomfortable,” she explains. Barbra tells Jacaranda FM‘s, Martin Bester, that she even lost 22 kilos in the hopes that her breasts would become smaller- but that didn’t help.
When Barbra heard that Jacaranda FM was running a campaign aimed at informing listeners about various plastic surgery. And that one listener could win a procedure, she jumped at the opportunity to get a life-changing operation. Barbra made it to the top 2 of the competition but didn’t win. But so many people were touched by her story that Caring Daisies offered to fund her surgery.
She hasn’t undergone the surgery yet, so we chatted to Dr Isabel Do Vale, a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, who tells us about what Barbra and anyone wanting a breast reduction could expect.
The Ideal Candidate
Reduction mammaplasty is a great option for anyone who is:
- Experiencing pain back and shoulder pain from their large breasts
- People wanting a slimmer figure
- Patients with large sagging breasts
- A non-smoker- as smoking has a negative effect on wound healing and can increase the risk of wound break-down and other complications
- Is healthy without other major health problems or chronic diseases that might preclude surgery
- Is at or close to their ideal BMI (in other words, the ideal weight in relation to their height.)
- Has completed their family and had all the babies they planned on having. Although, some women with very large breasts do end up having surgery before they have had children, simply because their large breast have such a negative impact on their lifestyle.
The Different Methods Of Breast Surgery
When it comes to the surgery, Dr Do Vale says that there are different methods to suit the patient. Your surgeon and you will discuss what method works best for you depending on the size of the breast, the amount of excess skin and the size of the nipple-areola complexes. These different methods include:
- Anchor pattern method -This method would be the best for the large breast that is hanging down loosely as the incision sites allow for the removal of excess skin.
- Vertical Mammoplastic – women can not be larger than DDD or less for this procedure.
- Liposuction – this method would be best for women with good skin elasticity, breasts that are not too large for example no larger than double D
What Are The Risks?
Like any surgery, having a breast reduction comes with risks but your plastic surgeon will take special precautions to avoid complications. Dr Do Vale says that the “most common complications range from bleeding, bruising to nipple loss, deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot that develops within a deep vein) or cosmetic asymmetries”. You can still breastfeed after surgery but since some breast tissue has been reduced or rearranged, you may not produce enough breast milk.
How Much Will It Cost?
Plastic and reconstructive surgeries are really pricy and oftentimes medical aids won’t cover the costs if they deem it as something you can go without. Depending on the surgeon and hospital you use, the surgery could set you back R55 000 to R110 000.