15k women underwent breast reduction ops in India in 2021
A corporate lawyer, 31-year-old Pooja (name changed), fulfilled her 15-year-old wish when she underwent a reduction surgery in December 2022. “I always felt my body was out of shape because of my breasts, and it made me very conscious. I had developed a stoop, I lacked confidence and chose to swim only when I was the only one in the pool,’’ she said.
She isn’t the only one. In 2021, around 15,000 women across India opted to remove the fat and glandular tissue from their breasts as against double the number of women (31,608) who got breast implants. However, the picture changes on adding the number of women (11,520) who opted for ‘breast lift’.
In 2021, around 15,000 women opted to remove the fat and glandular tissue from their breasts as against 31,608 who got implants. However, the picture changes on adding the number of women (11,520) who opted for ‘breast lift’, another plastic surgery procedure that merely tightens tissues instead of removing them and results in ‘smaller’ looking breasts: the number of women seeking to ‘reduce’ their breasts is almost equal to the numbers wanting to augment them.
“In my practice in the last five years, I have done double the number of breast lift and reduction surgeries than augmentation,” said plastic surgeon Dr Devyani Barve, attached to Nanavati Hospital, Juhu. Plastic surgeon Dr Anil Tibrewala from Hinduja Hospital, Mahim, has noticed the increase in demand for breast reduction surgeries and breast lifts in the last three years.
He attributes this to two factors: “The average size of breasts in India is bigger than, say, in France. And, today’s youngsters make up their minds early on, so if a 17-year-old wants to reduce the size of her breasts due to physical discomfort then her parents are extremely supportive,”he said.
The Indian trend is quite different from the global one where, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 16.2 lakh women opted for breast augmentation as against 4.3 lakh for reduction. Another 6 lakh women worldwide opted for a lift.
Reduction, said Dr Barve, is often a necessity for some Indian women, especially those whose breast size is not proportionate to the rest of their body. “Indian women tend to have heavy and fibrous breasts. Some of my patients need to wear cup sizes such as G, H and beyond,’’ she said. These women tend to lean forward or slouch and develop lower back pain. “Many have to pull up their bra strap so tight they develop dark lines and ulcers,’’ said Dr Barve. Dr Tibrewala said, “The first symptom is usually shoulder pain.’’
In India, many spend thousands of rupees on ‘alternative options’ such as firming creams, hormonal pills and steroids as awareness about the surgical option is poor.
A patient said her breast cup size was “too big” for her five-foot frame. “ I would envy other girls who could wear tight clothes, but the worst were the neck and shoulder aches,’’ she said. A plastic surgeon recalled a patient whose 5kg breasts affected her sleep. “She felt the weight on her chest didn’t allow her to breathe while lying down,’’ said the doctor.
While reduction surgeries cost between Rs 1.5 lakh in small hospitals and Rs 4 lakh in super-specialty ones, health insurance doesn’t cover it as it is seen as a cosmetic surgery.
For Pooja, who opted for a reduction surgery after her daughter was born, the experience was liberating. “I feel confident at the workplace. I don’t know why I wasted 10 years in not doing the surgery.”
The post is published through a syndicated feed and attributed to Times Of India