Research Article| Volume 65, ISSUE 3, P304-311, March 2012

Bilateral breast reduction surgery in elderly women – A retrospective review of outcomes

  • Christopher J. Taylor
    Corresponding author. Department of Plastic Surgery, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, Mindelsohn Way, Edgbaston B15 2WB, UK. Tel.: +44 121 371 2000.
    Selly Oak Hospital, Raddlebarn Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6JD, UK

    Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Mindelsohn Way, Edgbaston B15 2WB, UK
    Search for articles by this author
  • Darren L. Chester
    Selly Oak Hospital, Raddlebarn Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6JD, UK

    Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Mindelsohn Way, Edgbaston B15 2WB, UK
    Search for articles by this author
Published:November 07, 2011DOI:



      Breast reduction surgery is successful in improving symptoms associated with breast hypertrophy. We sought to substantiate this in the elderly patient and ascertain how they regarded the outcome.


      The WHO defines elderly as 60 and over. All elderly patients undergoing BBR for breast hypertrophy over a ten-year period at a single institution were identified. Retrospective review of medical records was conducted and patients asked to complete a postal questionnaire.


      25/29 (86%) patients responded. 88% felt surgery improved appearance and symptoms. A statistically significant improvement in symptoms, appearance and confidence was demonstrated. 54% of patients voiced negative concerns regarding their surgery. One third were unhappy with final appearance. 2/24 regretted surgery.


      Although studies showing positive outcomes for breast reduction in breast hypertrophy are many, none have specifically looked at elderly patients. Most patients seek relief of functional symptoms. Cosmesis seems to be less an issue. That they achieve improvement in symptoms is reassuring, despite longevity of symptoms and possible concomitant musculoskeletal degeneration. However despite satisfaction with relief of symptoms, much dissatisfaction can be felt over less than perfect cosmesis. We feel attention to detail is key, even in the elderly undergoing functional procedures.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Gonzalez F.
        • Walton R.L.
        • Shafer B.
        • Matory W.E.
        • Borah G.L.
        Reduction mammaplasty improves symptoms of macromastia.
        Plast Reconstr Surg. 1993; 91: 1270-1276
        • Davis G.M.
        • Ringler S.L.
        • Short K.
        • Sherrick D.
        • Bengtson D.B.
        Reduction mammaplasty: long-term efficacy, morbidity, and patient satisfaction.
        Plast Reconstr Surg. 1995; 96: 1106-1110
        • Schnur P.L.
        • Schnur D.P.
        • Petty P.M.
        • Hanson T.J.
        • Weaver A.L.
        Reduction mammaplasty: an outcome study.
        Plast Reconstr Surg. 1997; 100: 875-883
        • Atterhem H.
        • Holmner S.
        • Janson P.
        Reduction mammaplasty: symptoms, complications, and late results.
        Scand J Plast Reconstr Surg Hand Surg. 1998; 32: 281-286
        • Makki A.S.
        • Ghanem A.A.
        Long-term results and patient satisfaction with reduction mammaplasty.
        Ann Plast Surg. 1998; 41: 370-377
        • Netscher D.T.
        • Meade R.A.
        • Goodman C.M.
        • Brehm B.J.
        • Friedman J.D.
        • Thornby J.
        Physical and psychological symptoms among 88 volunteer subjects compared with patients seeking plastic surgery procedures to the breast.
        Plast Reconstr Surg. 2000; 105: 2366-2373
        • Kerrigan C.
        • Collins E.D.
        • Striplin D.
        • et al.
        The health burden of breast hypertrophy.
        Plast Reconstr Surg. 2001; 108: 1591-1599
        • Letterman G.
        • Schurter M.
        The effects of mammary hypertrophy of the skeletal system.
        Ann Plast Surg. 1980; 5: 425-431
        • Rogliani M.
        • Gentile P.
        • Labardi L.
        • Donfrancesco A.
        • Cervelli V.
        Improvement of physical and psychological symptoms after breast reduction.
        J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2009; 62: 1647-1649
        • Shakespeare V.
        • Cole R.P.
        Measuring patient-based outcomes in a plastic surgery service: breast reduction surgical patients.
        Br J Plast Surg. 1997; 50: 242-248
        • Saariniemi K.M.M.
        • Keranen U.H.
        • Salminen-Peltola P.K.
        • Kuokkanen H.O.M.
        Reduction mammaplasty is effective treatment according to two quality of life instruments. A prospective randomised clinical trial.
        J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2008; 61: 1472-1478
        • Foreman K.B.
        • Dibble L.E.
        • Droge J.
        • Carson R.
        • Rockwell W.B.
        The impact of breast reduction surgery on low-back compressive forces and function in individuals with macromastia.
        Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009; 124: 1393-1399
        • Schnur P.
        • Hoehn J.
        • Ilstrup D.
        • Cahoy M.
        • Chu C.
        Reduction mammaplasty: cosmetic or reconstructive procedure.
        Ann Plast Surg. 1991; 27: 232-237
        • Birtchnell S.
        • Whitfield P.
        • Hubert Lacey J.
        Motivational factors in women requesting augmentation and reduction mammaplasty.
        J Psychosom Res. 1990; 34: 509-514
        • Saariniemi K.M.
        • Sintonen H.
        • Kuokkanen H.
        The improvement in quality of life after breast reduction is comparable to that after major joint replacement.
        Scand J Plast Reconstr Surg Hand Surg. 2008; 42: 194-198
        • Saariniemi K.M.M.
        • Kuokkanen H.O.M.
        • Tukiainen E.J.
        The outcome of reduction mammaplasty remains stable at 2-5 years follow-up: a prospective study.
        J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2011; 64: 573-576
        • Thoma A.
        • Sorague S.
        • Veltri K.
        • Duku E.
        • Furlong W.
        A prospective study of patients undergoing breast reduction surgery:health-related quality of life and clinical outcomes.
        Plast Reconstr Surg. 2007; 120: 13-26
        • Iwuagwu O.C.
        • Walker L.G.
        • Stanley P.W.
        • Hart N.B.
        • Platt A.J.
        Randomized clinical trial examining psychosocial and qaulity of life benefits of bilateral breast reduction surgery.
        Br J Surg. 2006; 93: 291-294
        • Chao J.D.
        • Memmel H.C.
        • Redding J.F.
        • Egan L.
        • Odom L.G.
        • Casa L.A.
        Reduction mammaplasty is a functional operation, improving quality of life in symptomatic women: a prospective, single centre breast reduction outcome study.
        Plast Reconstr Surg. 2000; 100: 1644-1652
        • Serletti J.M.
        • Reading G.
        • Caldwell E.
        • Wray R.C.
        Long-term patient satisfaction following reduction mammoplasty.
        Ann Plast Surg. 1992; 28: 363-365
        • Kinell I.
        • Beausang-Linder M.
        • Ohlsen L.
        The effect on the preoperative symptoms and the late results of Skoog’s reduction mammaplasty. A follow-up study of 149 patients.
        Scand J Plast Reconstr Surg Hand Surg. 1990; 24: 61-65
        • Setälä L.
        • Papp A.
        • Joukainen S.
        • et al.
        Obesity and complications in breast reduction surgery: are restrictions justified?.
        J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2009; 62: 195-199
        • Baldwin C.J.
        • Kelly E.J.
        • Batchelor A.G.
        The variation in breast density and its relationship to delayed wound healing: a prospective study of 40 reduction mammoplasties.
        J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2010; 63: 663-665
        • Pennington D.G.
        Improving the results of inferior pedicle breast reduction using pedicle suspension and plication.
        Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2006; 30: 390-394
        • Reus W.F.
        • Mathes S.J.
        Preservation of projection after reduction mammaplasty: long-term follow-up of the inferior pedicle technique.
        Plast Reconstr Surg. 1998; 82: 644-650
        • Cruz-Korchin N.
        • Korchin L.
        Vertical versus Wise pattern breast reduction: patient satisfaction, revision rates and complications.
        Plast Reconstr Surg. 2003; 112: 1573-1578