Guest Post: Breast Reduction for Runners

This post was written by Kiya Movassaghi, MD,a board certified plastic surgeon practicing in Eugene, Oregon. Feel free to Submit a Guest Post in the “Contact Us” tab if you are wanting to write a preview or recap your running experiences as well! The views in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Run Oregon. When it comes to breasts, many people assume bigger is better. But for women with overly large breasts, even the simplest of activities can cause discomfort and self-consciousness. This is particularly true for women who run. The Physical Toll of Large Breasts Day-to-day, heavy breasts can cause breathing difficulties, pain in the back and shoulder areas, chafing, and discomfort caused by bras digging into the skin. Large breasts also take an emotional toll on women when their bustline tends to garner more attention than their talents or personal qualities. For runners, these issues are amplified. Most sports bras do not offer sufficient support for large-breasted women, making even the slowest of jogs uncomfortable. Bouncing breasts can also be a source of embarrassment while exercising, making some women reluctant to participate in physical activities. High-support bras can provide some relief, but often restrict range of motion in the entire upper body. Additionally, working up a sweat inevitably leads to chafing, which can occur on the entire underside of the breast and any skin that comes in contact with the breast or elastic of a bra. Unfortunately, most readily available “solutions” to these problems are superficial and temporary. The best way to reduce breast size and eliminate or completely prevent the painful side effects of large breasts is breast reduction surgery. How Breast Reduction Can Help

Breast reduction surgery is intended to remove extra breast tissue and reshape the breast to a more pleasing size and shape, in addition to alleviating the pain associated with heavy breasts. When expertly performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, breast reduction surgery is a safe, straightforward procedure with high patient satisfaction rates.

Breast reduction surgery also offers permanent results. Most of my patients notice an almost immediate decrease in back and shoulder pain, in addition to a boost in confidence. Health problems associated with large, heavy breasts typically only worsen over time, so choosing breast reduction is the best way to relieve discomfort now and prevent increasingly severe complications or pain in the future.

Does Insurance Cover Breast Reduction?

Breast reduction is not always covered by insurance providers and is often considered cosmetic in nature. However, if you meet certain criteria, your insurance may cover your procedure in some cases. Because rules vary greatly among providers, it’s important to discuss with your surgeon and seek pre-authorization from your insurance company.

If your insurance will not cover your breast reduction, you still have options for making care affordable. Many reputable plastic surgery practices offer patient financing through trusted third-party healthcare credit providers. While you should not pursue surgery if it will result in financial hardship, financing plans offer affordable monthly payments that are very manageable for patients.

What to Expect from Breast Reduction Surgery

Your breast reduction procedure will be performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. Depending on the size of your breasts, location of your nipples, and your target breast size, there are a number of incision techniques that may work for you:

  • Vertical or “Lollipop”—This technique requires one incision placed around the outer edge of the areola and a second vertical incision from the bottom of the areola down to your natural breast fold (in the shape of a lollipop). This is best for those who require a moderate reduction or have more noticeable breast sagging.
  • Inverted-T or “Anchor”—Three incisions are made, including one around the outer border of the areola, one running vertically from the areola to the inframammary fold, and one along your breast crease. This is ideal for women who require a more dramatic reduction in size.

As with any surgery, there will be some scarring. However, your surgeon will place incisions as inconspicuously as possible in natural skin folds and where they can be easily hidden by clothing or swimwear.

After making the incisions using one of the above techniques, your surgeon will remove excess fat, breast tissue, and skin to create a smaller breast mound and more flattering shape and contour. In most cases, the nipple areolar complex will be moved to a higher position on the breast to complement the newly reshaped breast.

Once the desired results have been achieved, your incisions will be sutured and dressed. In most cases, you will be able to return home the same day after you have recovered from the anesthesia, though you will need a designated driver and someone to give you a hand at home.

Running After Breast Surgery

For the first few days after surgery, you’ll be pretty sore—and running a marathon will be the furthest thing from your mind. Expect to spend a number of days taking it easy. Your surgeon will prescribe oral pain medication to help manage your discomfort. Many of my patients are comfortable driving and returning to a desk job after about a week, but you will need to avoid strenuous activity and lifting for at least three to four weeks—including your exercise routine.

For my athletic patients, I recommend resuming a routine of light walking around the three week mark and slowly building up to jogging and running over the course of four to eight weeks. It’s imperative that you allow your body time to recover without aggravating your healing incisions or jostling your breasts. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions and do not push your body before you’re ready, or you could compromise your results and your health. You’ll be able to regain your strength and resume your exercise routine soon enough to get back on track, better than ever.

Choosing a Plastic Surgeon in Oregon

If you are considering breast reduction surgery, one of the most important choices you will make is which surgeon you choose. It’s important to choose a board certified plastic surgeon who has vast experience with breast reduction surgery and with whom you feel comfortable.

If you are located in or around Eugene, Oregon and are interested in learning if breast reduction surgery might make running more comfortable for you, contact my office. I would love to sit down with you for a private consultation, during which I can help you understand your options and recommend how best your goals can be achieved.

About the Author: Kiya Movassaghi, MD is a board certified plastic surgeon practicing in Eugene, Oregon. He offers a full range of plastic surgery services and has a special interest in breast surgery. Dr. Movassaghi and his experienced staff are dedicated to providing friendly, high quality care in a safe and private environment. With a keen eye for detail and appreciation for physical aesthetics, Dr. Movassaghi works closely with patients to understand their specific concerns and develop an effective treatment plan.


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