The Impact of Breast Asymmetry and Surgery
Have you heard these comments?
Oh, the difference really isn’t that great.
No one notices except you.
Bodies really aren’t perfectly symmetrical. You probably already know that. Your eyes may be positioned slightly unevenly on your face. One of your feet is probably a little larger than the other. We find ourselves pointing this out to patients seeking perfection in our New York cosmetic surgery practice quite often!
But if you’re a woman with breasts that are dramatically different in size, the asymmetry may not be so easy to shrug off. You may not feel able to wear clothes that enhance your figure, and you might even avoid activities like swimming that require revealing attire. You may not be comfortable having intimate relationships. The ways uneven breasts can affect your life may surprise others, but not you.
Last year, a study affirmed “negative effects on emotional well-being and self-image” for some women with breasts that are of different size, shape or position. The research also identified mental health improvements after breast surgery. Read on to learn more.
A doctor and colleagues from Boston Children’s Hospital published findings from a study of young women with breast asymmetry in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) a few months ago. They studied 45 females with a difference of about two cup sizes between their breasts (not due to breast cancer). The women averaged 18 years of age.
The research highlighted something we know about men, women and transgender individuals whose breasts cause them concern: quality of life can be lower than it should be. As an aside, that’s why we have treated ever growing numbers of people seeking cosmetic surgery in New York for breast issues. We know how breast dissatisfaction can affect people and we very much enjoy solving this problem for our patients. Over the years, our reputation for expertise in breast surgery for all kinds of people has grown.
The Boston Children’s study showed that:
At follow-up 3.5 years later after surgery, the women had significant improvements in self-esteem, social functioning, and emotional roles, as well as in overall mental health.
The researchers also found that patients “returned to a level of functioning commensurate with their peers” after surgery.
The research team reported their experiences treating 45 women with marked breast asymmetry over a period of 10 years. The majority of the subjects had what’s called “hypoplastic” breast asymmetry, meaning underdevelopment of one or both sides. About 30% had “macromastia,” or extremely large breasts, on one side. Some of the patients had been diagnosed with “tuberous breasts”—breasts with a narrow base circumference that forces tissues to grow in a constricted manner. Other women had no diagnosis for their condition.
The plastic surgeons tailored the procedures they performed to the needs of each woman. Breast augmentation was done on one or both sides for 28 patients. For 14 other women, breast reduction was performed on one side, sometimes with treatment of some type for the other side. Three patients had a different combination of breast surgery. The doctors followed up with the 45 women three and a half years after surgery and discovered the mental health gains noted above.
We join these plastic surgeons in noting that surgery isn’t the right answer for every woman, even for those with major differences between their breasts. The researchers stated that some people are reassured by simply understanding that their condition is not uncommon. Others are content to use prostheses to even out their appearance.
But if you have a size difference that’s troubling—asymmetry that impacts your life choices and self-esteem—be assured that surgery can provide a safe, straightforward fix. We urge you to choose a board certified plastic surgeon to evaluate your condition and develop a treatment strategy that makes sense. And the more complex your case is, the more experience you should seek out.
If we can help, we’d be delighted. Give our New York cosmetic surgery offices a call at 212-570-6808 and let’s get started.
Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels