Breast Reduction, also known as Reduction Mammoplasty can be defined as a surgical operation which women can undergo to reduce the size of their breasts through the surgical removal of glandular tissue, fat and skin from the breasts. The breasts are then reshaped and the nipples repositioned to provide a natural result for patients.
Large breasts can cause women a lot of physical discomfort in the form or back and neck ache, poor blood circulation, skin irritation and can even contribute to women developing posture issues.
On top of these physical issues women can experience serious psychological issues due to unwanted attention or harassment they may attract by having a larger bust. Distress can also come as a result of women not being able to wear "normal" clothes and not being able to take part in active sports as a result of their bust size.
In many cases breast reduction is not available on the NHS, because in a few cases it can be seen as something that is being undergone for purely aesthetic reasons rather than because of health issues that could possibly affect a patients life.
In order to receive breast reduction surgery on the NHS, patients will have to meet a set of unique criteria which will be determined by a number of medical professionals. This will often start with them being referred for further consultation by their local GP.
Patients will need to prove that the distress caused by their large breasts is affecting them psychologically and physically. This will take the form of a consultation with a plastic surgeon and possibly even an assessment by a psychiatrist or psychologist. These assessment's will look to prove that cosmetic surgery would improve a patients social, physical and psychological state. The final decision on whether or not patients will qualify for a breast reduction on the NHS will be taken by the local Primary Care Trust who will take in to account the results of the individual assessments and make a decision based on each individual case.
For more information on whether you qualify to receive breast reduction surgery on the NHS then patients should consult their GP or take a look at the breast reduction section of the NHS website.
Once patients have consulted and asked for their GP to give them a referral, they will first be put on a waiting list to be seen by a psychologist. If patients then pass the assessment with the psychologist they'll be then put through on another waiting list to be seen by a surgeon.
The NHS are likely to refuse a patients' request their Body Mass Index, or BMI is over 27. A GP will weigh and check a patients' height as part of the referral letter. If, after going through all these steps patients are considered suitable to undergo NHS breast reduction surgery they will be treated at absolutely no private cost.
Because funding for surgery is made by a patients local Primary Care Trust, or the PCT as they are also known, they have the final say on who is eligible for an NHS breast reduction. This is because the PCT has a budget and they have to allocate funding to where the needs are greatest. The PCT will usually take each individual case at a meeting, where they make assessments and review each individual on a case by case basis based on the assessments taken by medical professionals.
A patients' GP, psychologist and surgeon can only go as far as referring your case to the PCT, however the PCT must approve any NHS funded cosmetic procedure and will have take the final decision on whether a patients case can be funded or not.