Very large breasts can be extremely uncomfortable and prevent women from wearing clothes that make them feel confident. Many women with heavy breasts also find that they avoid certain physical activities because of their breasts, leading to weight gain and more discomfort.
For those who want a breast reduction and weight loss surgery, it can be tough to know which surgery to pursue first. Should you lose weight before breast reduction surgery, or should you have a breast reduction first? I often advise my Guildford, CT, patients that it’s usually best to have breast reduction surgery once they’re at or near their goal weight. And new research supports that recommendation.
Study Says: Lose Weight Before Breast Reduction
The best results from breast reduction come when patients lose weight first, according to a new study in the September edition of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official journal of the ASPS. The study was conducted by Jeffrey A. Gusenoff, M.D. and his colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
The study analyzed a group of women who (except for one) chose bariatric surgery to achieve major weight loss. Fifteen of the patients had a breast reduction before weight loss surgery, while 14 of them did not. Outcomes from breast reduction were good: they reported good aesthetic outcomes and felt better able to exercise. However, after bariatric surgery, they experienced a subsequent reduction in breast size.
Why Not Have Breast Reduction Before Weight Loss?
Many women believe that a breast reduction can help them lose weight—both because it’s extra motivation and because some breast weight is removed during the surgery. But if you have breast reduction before losing weight, you should consider how that extra weight loss in your breasts will affect your surgically reduced breasts. Because of the changes in the skin after major weight loss, the cosmetic outcome of a previous breast reduction can change.
In some cases, women who lose their excess weight first find that they simply need a breast lift instead of a reduction.
Friend-to-Friend: Weight Loss First
After significant weight loss, 86% of the women who had undergone a previous breast reduction thought their breasts looked worse. “If giving advice to a friend, they said they would recommend losing weight before undergoing breast reduction surgery,” the ASPS reports. Interestingly, the benefits of breast reduction seemed to outweigh this cosmetic concern, as most of the patients “did not regret their decision to have reduction mammaplasty first.”
Among the group that did not have breast reduction (but did achieve major weight loss), about half said they were planning a breast reduction, while many others said they would if they could afford to pay for it.
What this study suggests is that women planning weight loss, whether through bariatric surgery or traditional methods, should expect changes in the appearance of their breasts. If these changes could potentially cause significant dissatisfaction, the patient may want to plan for breast surgery after weight loss is complete.
I’ve found that breast reduction surgery can help my patients’ confidence and daily lives, and you can read more about that in this related blog post.
You can see breast reduction before-and-after photos to get an idea of the type of results you can expect. And if you’re ready to find out whether breast reduction is right for you, use our online contact form to request a consultation or call us at (203) 689-5295.