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

per breast (830 grams total), for an average breast reduction of just over 2 cup sizes. Seventeen of the women had less than 750 grams total of breast tissue removed -- an average decrease of 1.7 cup sizes.

Three months and then one year after their surgery, the women were asked about changes in pain and quality of life. They were asked to rate their pain from a score of 1 to 5 (5 being highest).

Scores fell dramatically after the reduction mammoplasties -- in categories including lower-back pain, neck pain, headache and bra-strap "grooving."

"Women were also greatly relieved that they were more able to engage in healthful activities such as running or playing sports -- demonstrating that breast reduction surgeries have even wider health implications," Dr. Spector says.

None of these findings came as a great surprise to this experienced plastic surgeon.

"However, studies like this are needed if we are ever going to reverse the arbitrary ceiling the insurance industry has in place in terms of reimbursing breast reduction surgeries," Dr. Spector explains.

"The smaller-framed woman who comes to us complaining of chronic breast-linked pain is not having this procedure done for a 'lift' or any cosmetic purpose," he says. "Breast reduction surgeries involve some scarring, general anesthesia, and the usual level of surgical risk. Patients are not taking them lightly."

Dr. Spector is optimistic that reimbursement policies may change, based on the new findings.

"This is going to be useful data that patients and other plastic surgeons should be able to turn to as they go back and forth with insurance companies trying to get the procedure approved," Dr. Spector says. "Women come in all shapes and sizes, and we're just pointing out that breast reduction -- like many other surgeries -- is definitely not a one-size-fits-all proposal."


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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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