Dear doctor, I have large breasts which cause me shoulder pain. What can be done to help?

06 April 2017

Q: I have always had large breasts, which cause me back and shoulder pain and my bra straps also cut in dreadfully. I find them embarrassing as sometimes people seem to talk to my breasts rather than me. What can be done to help?

A: The first step is to make sure you are wearing the correct size and a well supporting bra as this can be extremely helpful. However, if that is insufficient then you may wish to consider breast reduction surgery.

Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty can reduce the size of your breasts considerably. You will have to be aware of the appearance of scars on the breast which usually run around the nipple, down from the nipple to the crease under your breast and then along the crease under your breast. This is usually called an anchor shaped scar. Sometimes shorter scars are possible.

In reducing the breasts, the nipples are repositioned (they are not normally removed) and the breasts are lifted as part of a breast reduction operation. Most people would need to take between 2-4 weeks off from office type work and would need 6 - 8 weeks before returning to exercise.

Depending on your age and medical history it may be advisable to have a mammogram prior to surgery. This would be discussed with you at your consultation which would also be your opportunity to ask questions.

As with all surgery there is the possibility of complications however, serious complications are rare. Breast reduction is an established operation with very high satisfaction rates. People are always saying to me, “I wish I had done it years ago!”

Mr Jeremy Hurren is a Consultant Plastic, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgeon practising at Spire Portsmouth Hospital.


The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.



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