Macromastia as an Etiologic Factor in Bulimia Nervosa: 10-Year Follow Up After Treatment With Reduction Mammaplasty

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Patients with psychologic diagnosis such as eating disorders have been automatically disqualified as candidates for plastic surgery. We have previously reported on a cohort of women with bulimia nervosa who presented with symptomatic macromastia. All patients reported that dysfunctional eating habits where in part the result of breast enlargement. Five patients underwent reduction mammaplasty and postoperatively reported relief of physical symptoms and improvement in psychologic well-being. Symptoms of eating disorders were completely eliminated or greatly reduced. The aim of the current study is to evaluate the degree of long-term postoperative satisfaction and recovery from eating disorders. Patients participating in the original study were contacted for long-term follow-up telephone survey. Data regarding current physical symptoms, body dissatisfaction, and eating attitudes measured by the Eating Attitude Test-26 (EAT-26) questionnaire was obtained. A statistical analysis was performed. Data was obtained from 4 patients. All patients maintained consistent recovery from their eating disorder. A statistically significant improvement in eating attitudes was found when comparing pre- and postoperative data obtained from the EAT-26. Comparing body dissatisfaction, pain, and physical symptoms, we found an overall consistent improvement in subjective scoring. Macromastia can produce a distortion of body image and become a secondary cause of eating disorders. Surgical correction of macromastia can correct physical symptoms, improve body image, and lead to permanent amelioration of associated eating disorders. This could, in part, represent a surgical treatment of a psychologic abnormality. Consequently, the presence of an eating disorder should not automatically exclude a woman from surgical consideration.

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