Reduction mammaplasty is usually performed to relieve painful symptoms and physical signs of macromastia. Justification for reduction mammaplasty should be based on the probability of relieving these clinical signs and symptoms. This retrospective study involved four surgeons who performed a variety of breast reduction procedures and was designed to determine if preoperative symptoms were resolved after reduction mammaplasty. We surveyed 285 women who had reduction mammaplasties from 1988 to 1993. Data from these surveys and the patients' charts were reviewed. A total of 185 patients (65%) returned completed surveys and were included in this study for analysis. Mean age was 40 years with an average follow-up of 3 years. The most common preoperative complaint was shoulder grooving (90%), followed by back pain (82%), shoulder pain (78%), and neck pain (65%). Average amount of breast tissue removed was 855 gm from each breast. Preoperative complaints were substantially reduced after surgery, regardless of the presurgical body mass. Most patients (97%) had improvement of symptoms, and 59% were asymptomatic. Only 3% had no change in their symptoms and none were worse. The complication rate was 45% with fat necrosis/infection being the most common complication (22%). The majority of patients (95%) were either happy or very happy with the surgery, and 98% would recommend surgery to a friend. Our data indicate that reduction mammaplasty relieves preoperative symptoms associated with macromastia.
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