Jennifer’s Breast Reduction Story
Several years ago, I evaluated a woman named Jennifer for breast reduction surgery. She was 19 years old at the time, which a lot of people would say is too young for elective surgery. However, as we talked, it became clear that she was exactly the kind of patient who would benefit most from a breast reduction. I’d like to share her story with you (minus her real name and identifying details of course).
Jennifer was 9 years old when her breasts began to develop. She had to wear a bra before any of her friends, which she hated. In middle school, kids teased her about her body, which set the tone for the negative body image that followed her into adulthood. She couldn’t find clothes that fit her in the stores where her friends shopped. That made her feel like an outcast. As she got older, her breasts continued to develop, and she started getting grooves in her shoulders from her bra straps. She had to wear two sports bras to exercise, and she always tried to hide her body in baggy clothes. Anything form-fitting made her feel self-conscious, or worse, made her feel like she looked promiscuous. Her breast size was keeping her from embracing the world around her.
She decided to have breast reduction surgery at age 19. It sounds young, but by the time she was 19, she had already been dealing with the consequences of her large breasts for 10 years. When we talked, she was very clear that she didn’t want to be flat-chested, she just wanted breasts that matched the rest of her body.
She had her breast reduction shortly after we met. Some of the effects were immediate. As early as the next day, her shoulders and upper back hurt less. Some of the effects took longer. She started losing weight after she discovered how much easier it was to exercise without large breasts. Over time, she developed a better relationship with her body, which improved her self-esteem.
My point in telling Jennifer’s story is to illustrate the enormous impact that body image can have on a person’s sense of well-being. If her story sounds familiar to you, don’t be surprised. According the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 42,000 women underwent breast reduction surgery in 2012. If you’re one of the thousands of women living with too-large breasts, I hope you’ll consider having an evaluation to talk about your options. Not everyone is a good candidate for surgery, but you deserve the opportunity to find out.