Who is Eligible for Breast Reduction Surgery?
In order to maximise safety and results for breast reduction surgery, certain criteria must be met by the patient before they are able to proceed with the procedure. We discuss the guidelines and recommendations.
Written by Medical Quality Manager, Clare , BN (Hons)
Medical Review by Chief Commercial Officer, Dr. Lizzie Tuckey , MBBS, BA
Published: Thursday, 20 January 2022
Many factors determine breast reduction eligibility, and your surgeon will always place your safety above all things. For that reason, lots of information is taken into account before a patient is deemed eligible for breast reduction surgery.
Let's look at the credentials of an ideal breast reduction patient and certain things that may prevent a patient from moving forward with the procedure.
During your initial call, your personal Patient Care Adviser will take some basic medical information from you. Having these details to hand will be highly beneficial in helping us understand your needs. Also, being honest will save both yourself and the surgeon time to check your breast reduction eligibility.
Your adviser will need to know the following:
- Current weight and its stability and any major losses
- Medical and health issues (physical and mental)
- Medications being taken (Including supplements and recreational drugs)
- Smoking habits
- Current bra size
- Desired bra size
- History of breast cancers in the family
- Pregnancies/Children/Breastfeeding history and desires.
- Type of work you do
- Previous surgeries to the area
How do my height and weight affect my breast reduction surgery eligibility?
BMI (Body Mass Index) is a key indicator to a surgeon if a patient is a candidate for plastic surgery procedures.
Patients with a BMI over 30 are at an increased risk of complications occurring during and after the surgery and therefore are highly advised to reduce their BMI prior to surgery to reduce risks.
If you are in the process of losing or gaining weight its best to reach your goal weight prior to surgery as weight fluctuations following the procedure can affect the results of the surgery. However, with breast reduction surgery there is more leeway with the limits so the surgeon will evaluate this on a case by case basis.
How does my age affect my breast reduction surgery eligibility?
Patients under the age of 18 always require parental consent before moving forward with a consultation.
Patients younger than 18 also advised to wait until they are of age to allow the breasts to finish growing as the surgery will not prevent further growth that develops as a result of weight gain, ageing, or pregnancy.
How does smoking affect my breast reduction surgery eligibility?
The use of nicotine and tobacco products, including vapes, can increase the risk of complications occurring during the surgery and negatively affect your healing and results.
For that very reason, surgeons require patients to be completely smoke and nicotine before surgery and agree to remain off said products until way into their recovery period.
Nicotine in the body reduces oxygen in the blood and constricts circulation, both of which are required for wounds to heal quickly. A wound that takes a long time to heal is at a much higher risk of infection and uneven scarring.
If you want to learn more, this Medbelle article details all the reasons you should stop smoking before surgery.
How do children/pregnancy/breastfeeding affect my breast reduction eligibility?
If you have had children, you'll need to ensure you have adequate support at home during your recovery period, as you'll find you won't be able to lift the little ones for a couple of weeks prior.
Furthermore, you probably won't feel up to dashing around doing the school run, cleaning the house and making meals, so it's important you have friends and family to rely on. The same applies to your time off work. An office job will typically require one to two weeks off, whereas a more physical job will require longer off for you to recover.
Any person who has recently given birth must wait at least 3 to 6 months before breast surgery, including breast reduction. If you're breastfeeding, you'll need to wait until you have stopped producing milk for three months too.
If you're planning on having children in the future, it may be recommended that you wait until after you have completed your family before you move forward with the procedure. This is due to the fact that the surgery is not permanent, and any fluctuations to the breasts from weight gain or pregnancy will negatively affect your results.
I'm sure you'll agree it's a lot of money to spend and an intensive surgery to go through if you don't get to enjoy the results for a long time. This will be discussed with the surgeon in consultation. It's not an absolute rule, but more about your expectations.
Of course, if you are suffering immensely with large breasts and your quality of life is affected, then it may well be worth having the surgery as soon as possible regardless of future plans.
However, it's important to note that breast reduction surgery may disrupt your ability to breastfeed in the future due to the incisions made around the nipple and areola.
How does my desired bra size affect my breast reduction eligibility?
Making sure patients have their expectations managed is a key concern for Patient Care Advisers here at Medbelle.
Your surgeon, too, will want to make sure both of you are on the same page.
Because of the nature of cup-sizes, your surgeon will not be able to guarantee you will have a certain cup size once you heal. This is mostly due to the inconsistency of cup sizes.
This is very similar for patients wanting breast enlargement. While a patient may initially request a certain cup size, the surgeon must translate this to an implant sized in cubic centimetres or CCs that is a precise measurement of volume.
For breast reduction patients, breast tissue is removed, of course. Your surgeon may use a sizer to estimate the CCs of your breast reduction results.
No matter their sizing method, your surgeon's main aim will be to find something that suits your frame whilst reducing any of the issues you're experiencing, such as back pain and neck pain.
How do my medical history and medication use affect my breast reduction eligibility?
Certain medical conditions require specialised care to guarantee optimum safety for the patient further. It may be the case the surgeon reviews your enquiry prior to the consultation to ascertain your eligibility. The last thing we'd want to do is have you take time out of your day to see the surgeon if you're unfortunately not a candidate for the surgery.
If you are a candidate but do have ongoing health issues, it's quite common for surgeons to request GP signs offs, blood work results or letters from mental health professionals before moving forward with the surgery. All of this is to make sure that breast reduction surgery is the best option for you presently.
The same can be said for medications; you'll be made aware of when you need to stop taking certain drugs to make sure you're prepped for surgery. Recreational drugs should all be stopped before having any form of elective surgery, breast reduction surgery included.
How do my previous surgeries affect my breast reduction eligibility?
Prior breast surgeries need time to heal before other surgeries can be carried out. If you have had breast surgery within one to two years, you may need to wait longer before undergoing breast reduction surgery.
Breast reduction surgery removes existing natural tissue and skin and does not reduce or remove existing breast implants. If you have had previous breast surgeries and have concerns, it is important you return to your original surgeon for examination.
If you have had other surgeries, not to the breast, then the surgeon will need to assess if you're well enough to undergo another procedure so soon and if it makes sense to administer another anaesthetic so close to the one you have previously.
If you're still unsure if you're a candidate for surgery, your Medbelle Patient Care Advisers is always on hand to answer any questions you may have and help you understand your breast reduction eligibility.
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