A Weight Off Your Chest

Breast reduction may improve mental and physical wellness for some

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Dominique Brooks, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) For some curvy women, extra large breasts can cause physical pain, trouble exercising and difficulty sleeping. As a result, many women choose to have breast reduction surgery.

A new study shows that breast reduction can not only improve physical health, but also might improve mental well-being.

The women surveyed before and after their breast reduction surgery reported feeling happier about their appearance and sexual well-being.

"Discuss any physical pain from your breasts with your doctor."

Michelle Coriddi, MD, from the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, and colleagues conducted this study to find out if women felt better physically and mentally after breast reduction surgery.

The researchers asked all patients coming to Wexner Medical Center prior to breast reduction surgery between January 2008 and May 2009 to fill out an anonymous survey.

They then asked the women to complete the survey six weeks after their breast reduction surgery.

The survey asked questions about satisfaction with breast appearance, psychosocial well-being, sexual well-being and physical well-being.

Psychosocial well-being refers to mental wellness made up of self-acceptance, personal growth, purpose, relationships with others and autonomy (self-control and ability to make decisions).

A total of 38 women completed both surveys before and after surgery. The average age of women participating was 36 years.

Seven of the 49 patients seen between January 2008 and May 2009 had complications from their surgeries.

The researchers used a survey tool called the Q score, which is well known for accuracy. This scoring tool ranks survey results with scores from 0 to 100.

The study showed that satisfaction with breast appearance improved from 20 before surgery to 82 after surgery on a scale of 0 to 100.

The researchers also found psychosocial well-being improved on average from 40 before surgery to 83 after surgery.

The surveys showed an improvement in sexual well-being, including confidence when undressed, from 40 before to 78 after surgery.

Physical well-being, including pain in the breasts, neck, back and shoulders, improved from 43 before surgery to 81 after surgery.

The authors noted that some patients also reported better sleep, better ability to exercise and a reduction of rashes and shoulder grooves.

Since the surveys were given anonymously, the authors noted that they could not identify the women who completed the surveys. This means they could not confirm that the patients filling out the surveys after surgery were the same as the women who filled out surveys before surgery.

Additional studies are needed with larger groups of participants to verify the results of this study, the authors said.

This study was published in the August issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

The study was funded by Wexner Medical Center and the authors reported no conflict of interest.

Review Date: 
August 1, 2013
Last Updated:
August 4, 2013