Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: breast | reduction | back | pain

Will Breast Reduction Ease My Back Pain?

Friday, 03 August 2012 09:25 AM

Question: I am a woman in my 40s who has long suffered from back pain because of two bulging disks. I have been getting cortisone injections and pain medications. I am now considering getting breast reduction surgery. Do you think this would help me?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
Exacerbations in muscular neck and upper back pain may occur in women with large breasts, but breast reduction surgery may not necessarily be the best for you especially since you have documented disk disease seen as the cause of your back pain. True, breast reduction criteria may include chronic neck and upper back pain, but bulging disks are not prolapsed or protruded disks, and the treatment paradigm for cervical disk disease does not include breast reduction surgery.
Also remember that many times bulging disks may be normal variants, and not necessarily the cause of back pain symptoms, Be careful with your interpretation of your doctors words.
Your breast size has not caused your bulging disks. Regardless of your neck, if your breasts are giving you physical or psychological problems because of their large size, or your bra straps are digging in to your shoulders, by all means have a reduction performed
Large breasts may cause muscular strain, but do not CAUSE disk disease or spinal cord changes.
Losing weight and pain medications are most often advised initially. If breast reduction is desired, we will usually accomodate your wishes, but your insurance will often try to label this as cosmetic unless you take the effort to get your documentation in line. While there is ample data suggesting women who have had breast reduction reported satisfaction with their improvement in back and neck pain, that doesnt always translate to insurance approval. This is a relatively safe procedure with a fast recovery. The surgery involves removal of a pound or more of tissue and fat cells from each of your breasts, and then cutting away the resulting excess skin. Minimal scarring may result after the operation, and most women experience only a mild discomfort for a day or two after surgery, and most go back to work within several days if not the next day. In as little as two weeks, you can be back to all normal activity, including gym workouts. These advantages may be useful to alleviate your pain and discomfort, but discuss this with your doctor first.

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Large breasts are not the cause of bulging disks.
Friday, 03 August 2012 09:25 AM
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