"Does It Work?" Reporter Tests Breast Reduction - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/26/04

"Does It Work?" Reporter Tests Breast Reduction

Every Wednesday night, Cecelia Coy tests all sorts of crazy products in her segment, Does it Work? But the one thing she's always wanted most to test... was breast reduction surgery.

"I can't help but bounce," says Cecelia. "It's frustrating and annoying so I try to buy things super tight so they'll hold me in place." But Cecelia says being overly endowed brought the obvious challenge...just finding clothes.

It turns out that Cecelia's insurance policy at NewsChannel 11 promised to cover 90% at the plastic surgery center, because for most women, breast reduction is not cosmetic, it's a prescription. This is either because of a chronic skin irritation beneath the breasts, deep indentions in the shoulder from tight bra straps, or back, neck and shoulder pain due to the weight of the breasts. "Mostly it's here across my lower back but my shoulders hurt so much sometimes that I can't pull myself up," says Cecelia.

So, Cecelia qualified, as most do, to be an outpatient for this 4 hour procedure. Under general anesthesia, Dr. Robert Schmid opted for liposuction first. "Even though it looks traumatic when you see lipo, it's a little less traumatic because we inject a local anesthetic solution into those tissues," Dr. Schmid explains.

Liposuction is used on the side of the breast, under the arm to remove excess fat there. In this case, they pumped about a pound of liquid fat out of each breast...enough to fill a soft drink can from each side.

After liposuction comes the actual reduction, and that uses a 3 part incision. First, they remove excess breast tissue from underneath, then pull together the skin from both sides cutting away the excess skin. Finally, the nipple is lifted to a higher position. "So, you're not just losing tissue," says Dr. Schmid. "You're also getting a breast lift at the same time."

Although Cecelia went home to recover that afternoon, breast reduction surgery is not a quick fix because bruising and swelling after the surgery mean it will take months before the breast settles into its new shape...and the incisions begin to fade.

But like most patients, Cecelia was back at work in a week, and as expected, the change was so gradual, others probably wouldn't notice. Unless you can compare,as we did, Does It Work? segments before surgery...and months after surgery.

So now, the question is, Cecelia, does it work? "I'm very pleased. My clothes fit better. So, yes, it does work," Cecelia says. "I give it a thumb's up."

So what are the risks? Aside from general anesthesia, there can always be complications. Ask your doctor what could happen. But understand first that it's very difficult to make the breasts symmetrical after breast reduction. And women need to know that they will probably never be able to breast feed after this kind of surgery.

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