Patients with massive breast enlargement experience a predictable collection of symptoms and mechanical effects that respond very well to surgery. These patients come to me with pain in the neck and shoulders, abnormal posture, grooves in the shoulders from the pressure of bra straps, and irritated skin under the breasts. There is growing appreciation of the significant improvements in health, well-being and comfort that occur with breast reduction surgery for these patients.
More subtle, but equally powerful benefits can come to women with significant but not massive breast enlargement who are very athletic. In the last few years, breast reduction in athletes is a surgery I have performed in an increasing number done primarily to help women increase their athletic performance and enjoyment of physical activity.
Large Heavy Breasts Affect Athletic Performance in Several Ways
My patients have educated me about the many ways that larger breasts can affect athletic performance.
Heavy breasts tend to settle to a low position of the body, which in turn affects the center of gravity. This can have negative effects on sports and activities which require sophisticated balance. Patients who are dancers, yoga enthusiasts, gymnasts, rock climbers and ice dancers have come to me specifically because they want to rebalance their body mechanics.
Larger breasts can also alter the aerodynamics of the body in certain sports and activities that require a trim body profile. This is particularly true in swimmers and triathletes but occurs in other sports as well.
Enlarged breasts can also impact arm motion in sports where the arm travels across the chest. Patients with large breasts who are golfers or who play tennis and other racquet sports have been particularly appreciative of the benefits of breast reduction surgery.
The general mechanical effects of significant breast enlargement impact virtually all forms of athletic activity. One patient said to me: “It’s hard to achieve your personal best when your neck and shoulders are in spasm.” Neck pain, lower back pain, abnormal shoulder posture, and chafing of the skin on the lower part of the breast regularly occur in patients with breast enlargement. These symptoms make it hard to enjoy many forms of athletics
When women with larger breasts exercise they experience significant motion of the breasts which can be physically distracting and uncomfortable. These women often resort to heavily constructed bras in order to compress and control the breasts. Patients who wear these bras tell me that they are uncomfortable and can themselves impact athletic performance.
For some patients embarrassment about the size of their breasts may make them reluctant to participate in certain sports or to work out at the gym. This can set up a negative feed back cycle in which a heavy-breasted woman avoids exercise, which leads to weight gain, which leads to a negative body image.
Breast Reduction Surgery Helps Patients Achieve Their Personal Best in a Wide Variety of Sports and Activities:
- Dance Students and Professionals
- Tennis Players
- Yoga Enthusiasts
- Technical Climbers
- Fitness Enthusiasts
Athletes on Whom I Have Performed Breast Reduction Surgery Experience a Variety of Benefits
Patients on whom I have performed breast reduction surgery are often quite enthusiastic about the physical benefits of the surgery. Here are some of the observations they have shared with me.
When the breasts are brought back to a size that is in harmony with the body patients often experience a sense of lightness and freedom when they exercise.
When the breasts are brought to a better position on the body, the center of gravity improves, which in turn helps in activities that require smoothly coordinated motion.
Breast reduction often leads to a reduction in pain in the neck, shoulders, and lower back, which makes it more comfortable to exercise and participate in day-to-day activities.
Many patients describe to me a sense of “liberation” when they can throw away the harness-like bras that they have had to wear in order to support and control the breasts.
There is often a dramatic improvement in posture. The shoulders come back into a physiologic position and the exaggerated curve of the lower back improves.
Many patients experience a positive feedback from having breasts of a size, shape, and position that are in tune with their self-image. This can affect everything from athletic performance to day-to-day enjoyment.
We Will Help You to Select The Technique of Breast Reduction That Is Best Suited to Your Goals and Lifestyle
I often recommend the structural technique of breast reduction for athletic patients with mild to moderate breast enlargement. This technique has several advantages, which include elimination of the scars at the inner aspect of the breast, deep structural anchoring to improve breast stability, and the ability to rearrange the breast so that the upper portion of the breast is nicely filled out without the need for implants.
For patients with very large breasts that have considerable stretching out of the lower part of the breast I may recommend reduction with a classical pattern to the skin incisions.
A Detailed and Individualized Assessment During Your Consultation Will Help Us Design a Plan for Breast Reduction Surgery That Suits Your Needs
Our assessment goes well beyond the size and structure of your breasts. We take into account each patients activity patterns, artistic preferences, and time available for recovery. This allows us to provide a customized approach to your surgery.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. John Q. Cook or call 312-751-2112. We can arrange for breast reduction consultations either in the Chicago Gold Coast location or the north suburban office in Winnetka.