No woman has perfectly symmetrical breasts and, for many women, the difference in size and shape is significant and can cause a great deal of distress and embarrassment.
A study published in the September issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), has shown the profound and long-term benefits of breast asymmetry surgery in young women.
Dr Brian Labow and colleagues at the Boston Children’s Hospital studied 45 young women, aged approximately 18 years, with severe breast asymmetry compared to 101 women unaffected by the condition. Pre-surgery, the women experienced significant reduction in their self-esteem and ability to function socially and in relationships compared to their peers.
Surveyed a few years post-procedure, the women recorded significant improvements in self-esteem, ability to fulfil emotional roles and social functioning. Overall, there was a profound boost to mental health. “Post-operatively, patients returned to a level of functioning commensurate with their peers,” Dr Labow writes.
What is breast asymmetry?
Breast asymmetry means a woman’s breasts differ in size, shape or position. The appearance and position of the nipples can also differ. In terms of the study, 70% of the women suffered from ‘hypoplastic’ breast asymmetry, which means one or both of the breasts are underdeveloped. Others had macromastia; this is a condition where one of the breasts is excessively large compared to the other. Some also had tuberous breast deformity where the base of the breast is constricted affecting the shape of the breast.
What does breast asymmetry surgery involve?
In its most general terms, the aim of breast asymmetry correction is to make the breasts as even in appearance as possible. To achieve this, Mr Richard Karoo will combine a number of different breast surgery techniques, depending on the patient’s unique requirements.
In terms of the study, 28 patients underwent breast augmentation on one or both sides. Fourteen had a breast reduction on one side, often combined with other procedures on the opposite breast. The remaining patients underwent a combination of breast surgery procedures to achieve the optimal result.
It is essential that patients realise that it is not possible to achieve perfect symmetry, but for patients with realistic expectations, breast asymmetry correction can be a hugely positive procedure.