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Smaller breast reduction surgeries provide health benefits and should be reimbursed
Date:9/13/2007

NEW YORK (Sept. 13, 2007) -- Smaller-framed women reap significant health and quality-of-life benefits from breast reductions that involve the removal of under 500 grams of tissue per breast, according to a first-of-its-kind study from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and the New York University School of Medicine.

The finding runs counter to the policies of most U.S. health insurance companies, who typically do not reimburse women for these smaller mammoplasties because insurance companies deem them to be only of cosmetic value.

"Of course, as plastic surgeons, we know that isn't true -- you can't apply the same number, in terms of the benefits of excised breast tissue, to different-sized women," says co-author Dr. Jason Spector, a plastic surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and assistant professor of surgery (plastic surgery) at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"Smaller women are going to have proportionally smaller breasts, but for their particular frame, their breasts may still be far too large and uncomfortable," Dr. Spector explains.

The study, appearing in the Sept. 15 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (already available online), found that breast reductions of less than 500 grams per breast greatly eased women's back, neck and shoulder pain. The procedures also improved their quality of life by allowing them to exercise more, play sports and choose from a wider variety of clothing.

All of the 59 patients in the study had come to the study's co-author, plastic surgeon Dr. Nolan S. Karp of NYU Medical Center, complaining of pain linked to uncomfortably large breasts. Dr. Karp is associate professor of plastic surgery at the NYU School of Medicine.

None of the women in the study had ever undergone any form of breast augmentation before.

On average, the mammoplasties involved the surgical removal of 415 grams of breast tissue
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Contact: Emily Berlanstein
eab2007@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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