New statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that once again breast augmentation reigns as the No. 1 plastic surgery procedure in the United States. They also show that interest in another breast surgery procedure is on the rise: breast-reduction surgery.
There were 43,635 reduction mammaplasty procedures performed in the U.S. in 2017, an 11 percent jump from 2016.
The breast-reduction procedure surgically removes excess skin, fat and breast tissue to give the breasts a more proportioned appearance to the rest of the body. The ASPS attributes the increased demand for breast-reduction surgery to more women wanting to both look better and feel more comfortable.
“Many women whose breasts are too large or are out of proportion to their body often choose the breast-reduction surgery because they feel self-conscious in certain clothing or not taken seriously because of their oversized breasts,” said Dr. Gregory W. Chernoff, F.R.C.S.
Chernoff is a triple-board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Breasts that are too large also cause many women pain and discomfort.
“Some women seek out breast reductions because their large breasts are very heavy and pendulous, which leads to back, neck and shoulder pain,” Chernoff said.
Women often choose to combine their breast-reduction surgery with another breast procedure, the breast-lift, or mastopexy surgery. The breast-lift is designed to remove excess tissue and tighten sagging skin, so the breasts sit higher on the chest.
Many women experience sagging of the breasts because of aging, pregnancy, breastfeeding and weight loss.
“Combining plastic surgery procedures is very common and gives patients the chance to get the surgery they want, but without having to undergo anesthesia multiple times,” Chernoff said.
The breast reduction procedure takes between two and five hours, on average. Recovery from the procedure takes two to three weeks with restrictions on activity and exercise for several weeks after the surgery.
Interest in breast-reduction surgery is not just limited to women; men are also seeking out procedures to remove unwanted breast tissue.
Over 26,000 male breast reductions were performed last year, according to the ASPS 2017 report.
“Between 40 and 60 percent of men are affected by gynecomastia or excess male breast tissue,” Chernoff said.
Gynecomastia can affect one or both breasts and can develop because of aging, weight loss and hormonal fluctuations. Researchers have also linked the development of gynecomastia to marijuana use and the use of herbal supplements and products.
“Excess breast tissue can also cause feelings of self-consciousness and embarrassment for some men. Excess breast tissue may make men feel uncomfortable in an intimate relationship and social settings like the gym, beach or pool,” Chernoff said.
Male breast-reduction treatments remove unwanted fat and tissue surgically or through liposuction. The result of the gynecomastia treatment is a more masculine appearance and, for many men, increased confidence.
Breast-reduction surgery is not the only body surgery to show significant gains – the tummy tuck procedure also proved to be popular in 2017.
The tummy tuck procedure, or abdominoplasty, was ranked as the fifth most popular plastic surgery procedure in the country, putting it back in the top five most popular cosmetic surgical procedures after dropping from the list in 2016.
The tummy tuck procedure is especially beneficial for patients who have experienced significant weight loss or have stretched abdominal muscles and loose skin because of pregnancy.
There were 129,753 tummy tucks performed in the U.S. in 2017, 2,000 more than in 2016.
ASPS. New Statistics Reveal the Shape of Plastic Surgery. 1 March 2018.