Many U.S. health insurance companies refuse to reimburse patients for less expansive breast reduction surgeries, regarding them as purely cosmetic. But a 2007 study by New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and the NYU School of Medicine may force them to see things differently.
Smaller-framed women may have less breast tissue removed during reduction surgery, but proportionally, the impact is equal to that of more extensive breast reductions. The study documented the treatment of 59 women with uncomfortably large natural breasts, whose average surgery involved removal of less than 415 grams per breast (just over two cup sizes). At three months and one year after surgery, the patients reported a vast improvement in their quality of life.
Most significant was the drop in pain: neck, back, shoulders, etc. But the women were also pleased with their ability to become more physically active. The aesthetic effects were secondary.
The study authors hope insurance companies take notice of these results and change their flawed one-size-fits all breast-reduction policies.
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