Dr. Paul Vanek: Do you know that many women are unaware that their breasts do not match in shape or size. It's called asymmetry and in a research study done at the University of Texas, it showed that 88% of women studied had breast asymmetry. Astoundingly, women don't appreciate how frequently their breasts are asymmetric until it's pointed out to them in clinical exams.

Hi, I'm Dr. Paul Vanek, a board certified plastic surgeon.

According to a study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, patients undergoing surgery to correct breast asymmetry had a significant effect on their self-esteem and quality of life for those who participated. The study participants had an overwhelming increase in vitality, mental health, and self-esteem. And of course, the degree of asymmetry one has determines who wants to correct it. Small asymmetries that I see are not ever addressed surgically. Bigger asymmetries create bigger concerns and are the point of our discussion today.

My patients share with me the hassle and embarrassment of having to reposition their different sized breasts in their clothing throughout the day. Also, finding a proper fitting garment or bra is also challenging as well as frustrating because there's rarely an ideal fit. Professional women who have to be in front of an audience all day, teachers, business women, lawyers and doctors alike have shared with me their self-consciousness of different sized breasts and the difficulty of having to deal with their professional duties when they have to be distracted by clothing and appearance.

Busy mothers have to juggle their child rearing duties and issues of appearance and clothing function are a difficult challenge to their daily lives. This is the case for a patient of mine recently. You can readily see the problem facing here, a woman who wears a 38 G bra on the left side and a lot smaller breast cup on the other side. The back pain, neck pain, shoulder grooving, and rashes she experienced were a constant concern for this busy mom. She had been referred to me by her physician after back exercises and physical therapy was unsuccessful in solving the problem.

Seen here five weeks later after the surgery, she was moving great, had better clothing choices, and her back discomfort was essentially gone. She was already able to exercise and her scars were underway to fading away. I have other examples of patients like these and procedures like these on my website.

Our next patient had fewer symptoms from the size difference, but a challenging problem since fourth grade when her breasts developed differentially. She has a conical breast on the left side that is a lot smaller than on the right side. Her right breast is a lot droopier and she wanted them to match better. This is an example of beginning with the end in mind.

Here she is with a breast this size that's too big and too droopy, and this is too small and constricted. So, she wants to end up this big. That involves reducing this one so the gland size matches and then enhancing them both and lifting them both in a two-stage procedure.

So she now has the same size breast gland and the same size implants on both sides. This makes a difference over the long term to have the breasts behave the same way over time. Shown here a year later, you can imagine the improvement she feels in many aspects of her life, self-esteem, clothing choices, self-consciousness, even physical activity were reported to me to be better for her. She is very appreciative and even four years later has no problems or concerns that she once had. Mammograms are not affected by these procedures as the implant patient has them behind her muscle and differential breast reduction surgeries are still surveyed by mammograms in a routine way.

Treating and Correcting Breast Asymmerty

Breast Asymmetry is common in most women. Dr. Paul Vanek discusses corrective treatment options to improve a variety of conditions such as back pain or low self-esteem.