Sept. 26, 2001 -- For women looking to reduce, not increase, the size of their breasts, liposuction appears to be a good, safe option to avoid some of the problems associated with traditional surgery.
"Over the course of my three-year experience, liposuction breast reduction has proven to be safe, effective, and a better choice than the traditional method of breast reduction, for numerous reasons," according to Lawrence N. Gray, MD.
Oversized breasts can cause significant pain. But in his study, Gray points out that traditional reduction surgery often results in poor breast shape, numbness of the nipple, prolonged recovery time, and high costs for the woman.
Gray is with the Atlantic Plastic Surgery Center in Portsmouth, N.H.
Liposuction carries with it the risks of any surgery, such as infection and complications from anesthesia, which can even include death in rare instances. But Gray says that his experience has shown it to be a better option.
His study on 204 breast reductions appears in the Sept. 15 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
"Patients are able to return to work within a week and are essentially scarless," he writes. And "liposuction breast reduction is an effective treatment ... with a lower rate of complications, a higher level of patient satisfaction, a quicker return to normal activity, and a significant savings in operating room costs."
But in a news release, the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons points out that liposuction breast reduction is not appropriate for all women, and conventional surgery is still the most widely used technique. The society states that at this point, it is unfair to imply that liposuction will replace the current breast-reduction methods.