Amy was 18 years old, attractive, a good student and about to enroll in the college she always dreamed of attending. She was also miserable.

For a young woman with a size six body, Amy had unusually large breasts. That condition made her extremely self-conscious throughout high school. People would stare at her; boys would leer and make suggestive comments. Other girls would taunt her or just simply ignore her. She dreaded having to go through all of that again at college.

Even worse, Amy’s breast size caused her neck and shoulder pain, even at her young age. Luckily for her, an aunt suggested she consider breast reduction surgery. Despite her fears about pain and scarring, Amy decided to go ahead with the surgery. She now says it was the best decision she ever made. Today, she looks normal and is three cup sizes smaller, better proportioned and enjoying her college experience the way she should.

For many women like Amy, breast reduction surgery can be life-changing. There are no good reasons why anyone should have to endure the problems Amy faced when a safe and effective solution is possible. Once a girl is physically and emotionally mature — usually, by her mid-to-late teens — breast reduction surgery can be a viable solution to alleviate a number of physical and emotional issues.

As Amy discovered, fears about pain, drainage and long recovery times are unfounded. Surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure typically takes 1-1/2 to 2 hours, scarring is minimized and most patients can resume normal, light activities within 24 hours. Best of all, the procedure is largely pain-free, since there is little or no manipulation of the underlying muscle.

As a plastic surgeon, I enjoy working with patients to help them look more in tune with how they feel. Unusually large breasts can often make a woman look and feel like someone she is not. So it is reassuring to hear, time and again, my patients say, “Breast reduction is the best thing I ever did,” and “I wish I had done this sooner.”

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