Is Breast Reduction After Weight Loss Surgery Best?

Small study finds obese women tend to be unhappy with appearance if they get breast surgery first

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FRIDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Having weight loss surgery before breast reduction surgery is best for severely obese women who have both procedures, according to a small new study.

While there are some benefits to having breast reduction surgery first -- including reduced pain and increased ability to exercise -- women may be disappointed with the appearance of their breasts after they lose large amounts of weight, Dr. Jeffrey Gusenoff and colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center said in a journal news release.

The investigators looked at patient satisfaction and other outcomes among 29 severely obese women (average body mass index, or BMI, of about 54) who lost more than 50 pounds. BMI is a measurement that takes into account height and weight, and a BMI over 30 is considered obese.

All but one of the women in the study had weight loss (bariatric) surgery, according to the report published in the September issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Fifteen of the women had breast reduction surgery before their weight loss.

Of the women who had breast reduction surgery first, 86 percent thought their breasts looked worse after massive weight loss. About half said they planned to have further surgery to improve the appearance of their breasts and others said they would have further breast surgery if it was covered by insurance.

The study also found that 71 percent of the women who did not have breast surgery before bariatric surgery said their breasts looked worse after bariatric surgery. Half of them planned to have breast reduction surgery and others said they also would if they could afford it.

"These options must be weighed and individualized treatment plans made for obese patients seeking breast reduction prior to weight loss," the researchers concluded in a journal news release.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about bariatric surgery.

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