By Dr. Jonathan Shifren – Wave Plastic Surgery Center
Last month actress Ariel Winter, best known for her role as Alex on the hit TV show Modern Family, admitted that she has had a breast reduction. Winter has shown a light on a common plastic surgery procedure that straddles the distinction often drawn between “reconstructive” and “cosmetic” surgeries. Winter transformed “overnight” from a flat-chested adolescent to one with size F breasts around the age of 15. As in Winter’s case, this scenario often occurs against a backdrop of a family history of female relatives who have large breasts. However, in Winter’s case, the sudden development of her breasts appeared even more dramatic given her petite 5’1″ stature. This had an impact on her career as an actress because she was no longer considered to play younger roles once her breasts developed.
But many of the other consequences of macromastia of which Winter complained are the principal motivating factors that impel patients to seek consultation for breast reduction. Chief among these can be chronic, neck, back, and shoulder pain due to the constant pull of the weight of the breasts on these areas. This phenomenon is attested to by the grooves created in the skin by the shoulder straps of the bra. During the hot summer months in places like Los Angeles, the skin beneath the breasts can also become macerated and irritated, frequently resulting in rashes or skin infections in this area.
Beyond these medical issues, the complaints Winter voices about the limitations large breasts imposed on her choices of activities, and even wardrobe, are fairly typical. A common complaint of young women with macromastia is that their breasts make them look fat. To disabuse people of this notion, they often opt to wear tight clothing to demonstrate that, in fact, the rest of their bodies are quite skinny. Unfortunately, this tactic is a bit of a double-edged sword, as it also further draws attention toward their breasts, even as they desire to downplay them. Finding clothes that fit properly can be a source of constant frustration for these patients. They also experience limitations on the types of sports and activities in which they can engage. For all these reasons, breast reduction surgery can be life-changing, as it has been for Ariel Winter.
Like most breast reduction patients, despite the aforementioned difficulties that large breasts can pose, Winter was careful to make sure that her breasts would not be made too small by the surgery. Her fear was that she might be left “looking like a pear”. In consultation with her surgeon Winter decided that she would have her breasts reduced from an F cup to a D. This would allow her to still keep her curves and maintain her breasts in proportion to the rest of her body. As with other types of aesthetic surgery, the dictum “it’s not what you take out, but what you leave that is most important” is certainly true of breast reduction surgery.
Besides achieving a size reduction that relieves the symptoms and sartorial difficulties associated with macromastia, while maintaining proper bodily proportions, the symmetry of the breasts is often another issue associated with breast reduction. Quite frequently, women with large breasts also have significant asymmetries between their breasts. One of the goals of breast reduction, besides reducing the overall size of the breasts is to achieve good symmetry between the breasts, with the understanding that perfect symmetry is never achievable. Still, the improvement in how closely the breasts match compared to their preoperative state can be quite significant and contributes to the patient’s overall satisfaction with the surgery. In Winter’s case, her visible delight with the results of her procedure is manifested by her obvious joy in being able to wear dresses and outfits that she never could before her breast reduction. The boost in her self-confidence and newfound comfort in her own skin attests to the long-term positive benefits this surgery can confer patients who avail themselves of this procedure.
If you would like a consultation to discuss the option of getting a breast reduction, contact us at: