A new study has said that for very obese women considering both bariatric procedures and breast reduction surgery, optimal results are achieved when weight loss is achieved first.
Although initial breast reduction has some benefits, women may be disappointed with the appearance of their breasts after massive weight loss.
"Thus, patients who are considering bariatric procedures should be encouraged to pursue that operation before proceeding with reduction mammaplasty," according to the new study by ASPS Member Jeffrey A. Gusenoff, MD and colleagues of University of Rochester Medical Centre.
The study included two groups of women: 15 who underwent breast reduction surgery before massive weight loss and 14 who did not have breast reduction surgery before massive weight loss.
All of the women who underwent reduction mammaplasty thought their breasts looked better after the operation. In addition, most felt better able to exercise and to lose weight on their own after breast reduction surgery.
However, all 15 women needed bariatric surgery to achieve their weight loss goals. Bariatric surgery was followed by further reductions in breast size.
Bariatric procedures for obesity can affect the appearance of the breasts as a result of excess skin and other changes. After massive weight loss, 86 percent of the women who previously had reduction mammaplasty thought their breasts looked worse.
While reduction mammaplasty has benefits-including reduced pain and increased ability to exercise-the final appearance of the breasts seems better if breast reduction surgery is performed after massive weight loss.
"These options must be weighed and individualized treatment plans made for obese patients seeking breast reduction prior to weight loss," the researchers concluded.
The study appeared in the September issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).