Oh My Aching Back: The Spine Benefits of a Breast Reduction

Oh My Aching Back: The Spine Benefits of a Breast Reduction

by Natalie (SU)

The Problem with Large Breasts

Macromastia (excessively large breasts) creates a number of unwanted health consequences starting early in life. Young girls are often ridiculed and become self-conscious during their teen years. Trying to hide the obvious, they often develop a stooped posture that places additional stress on their upper back and spine. They also may deal with issues of self-esteem as they cope with the normal challenges of adolescence with this added burden.

As a woman ages, large breasts continue to impact her health. Because of the difficulty in finding adequate support, she may refrain from regular aerobic activity. This in turn makes it harder for her to maintain a healthy weight, usually resulting in larger breasts. It can become a vicious cycle.

From years of carrying the extra weight of large breasts, in addition to the compensating posture, most women with macromastia complain of breast, neck, shoulder, or mid-thoracic back pain, often requiring pain medication for relief. Constant strain on the neck and shoulders can also contribute to headaches. Women with underlying spine disease usually have more significant symptoms. Many women undergo treatments, such as physical therapy, which provide temporary relief. However, because the cause of the strain is not removed, pain inevitably returns within a short amount of time.

Benefits of a Breast Reduction

Many women are good candidates to have a breast reduction. Things to be considered when discussing this with your doctor is your age, if you are still planning to have children, if you have frequent weight fluctuations, if you have a tendency to scar, and your general health. Usually the only true contraindications are overall poor health, morbid obesity, and chronic illness.


However, there are many health benefits related to the surgery. Initially, you may experience some mild back pain as you are readjusting to your new anatomy and posture, but usually the chronic pain you have been experiencing will be gone. There will no longer be a need for pain medication to get through the day. With your posture improved, and the weight of your breasts reduced, you can anticipate participating in a new exercise program as soon as your recovery period is competed. Additionally, any neuropathies, such as tingling in your wrists or fingers that were the result of nerve compression in your neck, will resolve.

With smaller and lighter breasts, you can expect that any skin problems you may have had will resolve. Additionally, if your heavy breasts ever made it difficult for you to breathe, you can expect this to no longer be a problem. Finally, women who have a breast reduction, also usually experience a boost in self-esteem, holding their heads just a little higher with their newfound confidence.

Potential Complications

While the benefits of a breast reduction generally far outweigh the negatives, there are potential risks you should be aware of. Some visible scarring is always expected, although the placement of those scars can be addressed with your physician. While loss of sensation over the nipple area may develop, in most cases this returns over time. Some women also experience hypersensitivity of the breast, but this too usually resolves. In rare instances, it may be necessary to undergo revision surgery if there is any unevenness or shape irregularity.

Women who undergo breast surgery before having all their children can probably anticipate a reduction in milk production. Studies have found that nearly all women who have had breast reduction surgery will have to supplement breast milk with formula.

In addition, any surgery bears some risk. Infection, bleeding, inflammation or cellulitis, and development of hematomas (bleeding under the skin) are all potential complications, however rare.


Generally speaking, healthy women do not need hospitalization after a breast reduction procedure, although an overnight stay may be recommended if you have other chronic illnesses, sleep apnea, or severe postoperative nausea and vomiting. You may or may not have a drain after surgery, which will need to be removed in a couple days. You can also expect a dressing and a surgical bra with clips in the front. This bra will not only support your breasts, but additional gauze and any drains.

Routine follow up visits will be scheduled with your surgeon and you will need to limit your physical activity until cleared by your doctor.


If you have been plagued with chronic back, neck, or shoulder pain, or have any other unwelcome side effects as a result of large breasts, it is no longer necessary to suffer in silence. Breast reduction surgery is a safe and effective means to decrease the size of your breasts and eliminate the discomfort you have been living with.

In some cases, you can schedule a breast lift procedure to be conducted after the reduction, to further elaborate your desired breast size and shape. If you have any questions about breast reduction surgery, or any other plastic surgery we offer, please call Atlantic Center of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery at (954) 983-1899, or Request an appointment online.  We look forward to hearing from you!