Physical and Psychosocial Symptoms among 88 Volunteer Subjects Compared with Patients Seeking Plastic Surgery Procedures to the Breast

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In an investigation of the relationship between macromastia and physical and psychosocial symptoms, 88 female university students, 21 augmentation mammaplasty patients, and 31 breast reduction patients graded somatic and psychosocial symptoms. The intent of the study was to discover which complaints were most common among women presenting for reduction mammaplasty and to determine whether height/weight index and brassiere chest measurement and cup size might affect their symptoms. Both the student group and the augmentation mammaplasty patients differed significantly from the breast reduction patients. Eighty-one percent of the reduction patients complained of neck and back pain. Seventy-seven percent complained of shoulder pain, 58 percent complained of chafing or rash; 45 percent reported significant limitation in their activity; and 52 percent were unhappy with their appearance (p < 0.001 compared with augmentation and student groups). Physical symptoms were related to height/weight index and bra chest and cup sizes in each of the three participating groups. It was found that patients who present for symptom-related reduction mammaplasty have a disease-specific group of physical and psychosocial complaints that are more directly related to large breast size than to being overweight.

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