After half a lifetime of discomfort due to unusually large breasts, a 37-year-old woman is enjoying a new sense of freedom after recently having breast reduction surgery at Netcare Pinehaven Hospital.
“I have always had large breasts, and since matric I have wanted to reduce the size,” says Inga Sebata, who runs her own fashion design business, StichedbyInga, from Johannesburg.
“Before the operation, I was a G-cup. I still have dark marks from the bra straps cutting into my shoulders from the heavy weight they were supporting. I am a runner and finding a strong enough support sports bra in larger sizes is near impossible, so it can be uncomfortable to exercise.
“Shopping for bras is a nightmare when you are a G-cup and if you can find a bra in that size it is never cute and pretty underwear – it’s functional and structural. I hated anything to do with bras and boobs.”
Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Brian Monaisa, who practises at Netcare Pinehaven Hospital, says many women enquire about breast reduction surgery, which has become a fairly common procedure nowadays.
|Pic: Fashion entrepreneur Inga Sebata, 37, is enjoying life after her recent breast reduction surgery.
“Women with objectively large breasts, known as hypertrophy, often present with backache and shoulder pain related to the unusual weight of the excessive breast tissue and the psychological aspects are often underestimated. In some patients, we need to remove as much as 2kg from each breast,” Dr Monaisa says.
“Breast reduction should not be considered a cosmetic procedure. Almost all of our patients report that it has improved their quality of life and psychosocial wellbeing with a high satisfaction rate of 96%. Some of the surgical eligibility factors include a healthy patient over the age of 20 with a body mass index [BMI] of less than 30.
“The breasts continue to grow until the age of 20, and so in most cases, the breast reduction is only undertaken after this age otherwise there may be a recurrence. Only in rare cases of gigantomastia, which is the most extreme form, there may be a need to perform breast reduction in the teenage years.”
Dr Monaisa adds that bilateral breast reduction reduces the number of milk ducts, which slightly reduces the amount of breastmilk the woman is able to produce. “If the woman has a baby, she can still breastfeed but the volume will be a little less, approximately 70% of her previous capacity.”
Inga says that she started considering breast reduction again in the last two years. “Now that my children are at a more independent age, I wanted to do this for myself. Although I was anxious at first, when I went to consult Dr Monaisa he was very reassuring and put me at ease.
“We discussed the reasons why I wanted the operation and the possible risks for breast reduction surgery, as well as what might be expected in terms of scars. Once I had made my decision, we booked the date for surgery. I was a bit nervous but the nurses were very welcoming and did their best to make me feel at home.
“I was admitted in the morning and discharged home the same day. The recovery takes about six weeks, and I have been for my last post-operative check-up and all has healed well. I am pleasantly surprised that already I can barely see the scars.”
Inga has yet to go shopping for bras to fit her new dimensions but is looking forward to the new avenues in lingerie the procedure has opened for her.
“It absolutely changes your confidence. I am now a C-cup, and I am sending selfies to my friends every day – I am loving my new body and I will never look back,” she says.
“For some, there is a stigma or hesitancy around consulting a plastic surgeon, or a misperception that we deal with breast augmentation to increase breast size only, however, the difference breast reduction surgery has made to the lives of so many of the women we have assisted over the years is very rewarding to see,” Dr Monaisa concludes.
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