SAN FRANCISCO – Many women suffer from uneven breasts, also known as breast asymmetry – a relatively common condition that is often not discussed. The embarrassment can affect their daily lives, sexuality and confidence, but for those with significant asymmetry, breast surgery can considerably elevate quality of life and self-esteem, according to a study presented today at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2006 conference in San Francisco.
"All women have some degree of breast asymmetry, but for those with a noticeable difference, the embarrassment often keeps them from seeking help," said Walter Erhardt, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and Public Education Committee chair. "Even if breasts differ by less than a half-cup size it can be very noticeable. The condition is talked about so infrequently that many are unaware there are surgeries that can correct the problem."
Breast asymmetry occurs when a woman's breasts differ in size or shape. For example, a woman's left breast may be a B-cup and the right, a D-cup. On the other hand, a woman may have one breast that significantly droops, and the other does not, making the woman's breasts appear unbalanced.
Breast augmentation, breast lift, and breast reduction are commonly used to correct breast asymmetry and create balance between the breasts. Depending upon the type and degree of asymmetry, plastic surgeons may utilize one or all of these procedures.
In the study, the authors measured how breast asymmetry surgery impacted quality of life and self-esteem in 35 patients. Six months after undergoing surgery, all patients had statistically significant improvement in vitality, mental health and self-esteem.
"Breast asymmetry can be emotionally devastating for women," said Dr. Erhardt. "Women need to know this condition is extremely common, and there is nothing to be ashamed of in getting help that will improve their quality of life and self-esteem."
For referrals to ASPS Member Surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, call 888-4-PLASTIC (475-2784) or visit www.plasticsurgery.org where you can also learn more about cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. With more than 6,000 members, the society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Note: The study "Quality of Life and Self-Esteem after Breast Asymmetry Surgery" is being presented in electronic format, Sunday, Oct. 8 – Tuesday, Oct. 10, at the Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco. Reporters can register to attend Plastic Surgery 2006 and arrange interviews with presenters by logging on to www.plasticsurgery.org/news_room/Registration.cfm or by contacting ASPS Public Relations at (847) 228-9900 or in San Francisco, Oct. 7-11 at (415) 905-1730.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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