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Can I Get a Breast Reduction on the NHS?

Breast reduction surgery can be a life-changing procedure for many, offering both physical and psychological relief. A common question that arises for many potential patients in the UK is: “Can I get a breast reduction on the NHS?”

Let’s delve deep into the criteria and processes associated with NHS breast reduction services.

Eligibility criteria for NHS breast reduction

To have a breast reduction through the NHS, specific eligibility criteria must be met. These typically include:

  • Physical symptoms: Chronic back or neck pain, rash or skin irritation under the breasts, and indentations caused by bra straps.
  • Psychological distress: Documented mental health impacts related to breast size.
  • BMI: Typically, a stable BMI of less than 27 for a defined period.
  • Other treatments: Unsuccessful trials of other treatments like physiotherapy.
  • Non-smoking: Smoking can increase the risk of complications.

The referral process

Your GP is your first port of call. They’ll discuss your physical and psychological symptoms with you and, if they believe you may meet the criteria, they’ll refer you to a breast surgeon for an expert opinion.

Things to consider before you go ahead

Before embarking on this surgical journey, some essential factors demand consideration.

When contemplating breast reduction surgery, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive discussion with both a GP and a qualified surgeon. This ensures you’re fully informed about the expected outcomes and understand the risks involved.

Before you make a decision, consider the following:

  • A significant reduction might drastically change the appearance and contour of your breasts.
  • Post-surgery, there’s potential for scarring and potential changes in nipple sensitivity or sensation.
  • Even after surgery, factors like weight gain or loss can cause your breasts to alter in size and shape.
  • Natural aging means breasts may sag as time passes.
  • Pregnancy can lead to an increase in breast size, and post-reduction surgery might impede your ability to breastfeed. If you’re considering having more children, this is a factor to weigh.
  • For those with exceptionally large breasts, the advantages of a reduction might be overwhelmingly positive, making potential issues negligible.

However, for individuals with only moderately enlarged breasts, the potential benefits might not outweigh the associated risks. Making an informed choice is essential.

Male breast reduction on the NHS

Yes, males can also get a breast reduction on the NHS, especially if they suffer from gynecomastia, which leads to enlarged breast tissues. The criteria for eligibility can be different and often hinges on related physical or psychological distress.

What are the reasons I can’t get an NHS breast reduction?

You might be ineligible if you:

  • Don’t meet the set criteria.
  • Have a high BMI without trying to reduce it first.
  • Are a smoker who hasn’t tried quitting.
  • Don’t exhibit significant physical or psychological symptoms.
  • I’m not eligible, what can I do?

If you’re not eligible for an NHS breast reduction, consider consultations with private clinics or exploring surgery abroad.

How To Get on the NHS Breast Reduction Waiting List?

Upon meeting the criteria and after consultations, your healthcare provider can place you on the NHS waiting list. This varies in length based on demand and regional factors.

For How Long Can You Be on the Waiting List?

This varies by region, hospital, and the current demand for the surgery. Generally, wait times can range from a few months to over a year.

If You Don’t Get on Breast Reduction NHS Waiting List, Can You Get the Surgery Privately?

Absolutely. Many individuals opt for private clinics in the UK, although this comes with significant costs.

Is it cheaper and safer to have Breast Reduction abroad?

Many countries offer breast reduction surgery at a lower cost than the UK. However, ensure thorough research on the hospital’s credentials, surgeon’s expertise, and the country’s medical standards.

Breast Reduction in Turkey: A Cost-Effective Cosmetic Surgery Hub

In recent years, Turkey has emerged as a top destination for cosmetic surgery, particularly breast reduction. Several factors contribute to its rising popularity:

Affordable Procedures

Turkey offers breast reduction surgeries at a fraction of the cost compared to the USA, UK, and many European countries. Even with travel and accommodation expenses, the overall cost often remains significantly lower.

High-Quality Medical Facilities

Turkey boasts modern medical facilities that adhere to international standards. Many are accredited by global healthcare organizations, ensuring top-tier treatment.

Skilled Surgeons

Many Turkish cosmetic surgeons have international training and vast experience. Their expertise ensures patients receive world-class care.

Comprehensive Care Packages

Several Turkish clinics provide all-inclusive packages for international patients, encompassing surgery, post-op care, and accommodation.

Cultural Attractions

Apart from medical excellence, Turkey offers rich cultural and historical sites. Many patients combine their medical trips with a bit of sightseeing.

Considering quality and affordability, Turkey stands out as an ideal destination for breast reduction surgery, blending top-notch medical care with cultural experiences.

Conclusion

While the NHS provides an invaluable service for many, it’s essential to be informed about the process and criteria for a breast reduction. Whether through the NHS or privately, always make an informed decision.

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Author:

Prof. Dr. Ethem Güneren
Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery

Prof. Dr. Ethem Güneren graduated from Istanbul University’s Faculty of Medicine in 1987. In 2003, he became one of the first Turkish surgeons to become a member of the European Board of Plastic Surgeons (EBOPRAS). More recently, in 2017, Dr. Güneren also joined the American Association of Plastic Surgeons. With more than 25 years of experienced, he is one of the most widely recognized and certified surgeons in the country.

Read More

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