The best results from breast reduction come when patients lose weight first, according to a new study in the September edition of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official journal of the ASPS.

The study analyzed a group of women who (except for one) chose bariatric surgery to achieve major weight loss. 15 of the patients had a breast reduction before weight loss surgery, while 14 of them did not. Outcomes from breast reduction were good: they reported good aesthetic outcomes and felt better able to exercise. However, after bariatric surgery, they experienced a subsequent reduction in breast size.

Because of the changes in the skin after major weight loss, the cosmetic outcome of a previous breast reduction can change.

After major weight loss, 86 percent of the women who had undergone a previous breast reduction thought their breasts looked worse. “If giving advice to a friend, they said they would recommend losing weight before undergoing breast reduction surgery,” the ASPS reports. Interestingly, the benefits of breast reduction seemed to outweigh this cosmetic concern, as most of the patients “did not regret their decision to have reduction mammaplasty first.”

Among the group that did not have breast reduction (but did achieve major weight loss) about half said they were planning a breast reduction, while many others said they would if they could afford to pay for it.

What this study basically suggests is that women planning weight loss, whether through bariatric surgery or traditional methods, should expect changes in the appearance of their breasts. If these changes could potentially cause major dissatisfaction, the patient may want to plan for breast surgery after weight loss is complete.

The study was conducted by Jeffrey A. Gusenoff, MD and his colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Read more on plasticsurgery.org

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