As with most types of surgery, there are various reasons for breast surgery that a person might consider or be required to undergo breast surgery. Broadly those reasons will fall into two categories. The first is for cosmetic purposes and the second is to treat a medical condition that might present a threat to the health of the person who is required to undergo the surgery.

The unknown is almost always frightening, so, in order to demystify breast surgery here are some details about the common reasons it might be required.

First, there is for cosmetic purposes. For many people, the idea of cosmetic surgery that involves the breasts is to increase the size and thus the perceived attractiveness of the female breast. However, this is definitely not the only case.

For many women, having large breasts can lead to psychological issues and low self-esteem. For these people reduction mammoplasty is a welcome option.

There is also the fact that large breasts can interfere with the enjoyment of an active lifestyle and can also lead to back pain and discomfort. In some cases, it can limit clothing choices and draw unwanted attention – for many women it creates a feeling (very often justified) that their identity is defined by their breasts.

The converse is also true. Many women would prefer larger or more shapely breasts. The option of breast augmentation is one that many consider. This will typically use implants in order to both increase the size of breasts and/or alter their shape to meet the requirements of the individual.

There is also the option of using the person’s own body tissue (such as fat) to augment breast appearance. This option is one that many consider due to the fact that the body’s own tissue can provide a more natural look and tactile experience.

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It is undeniable that the female breast is an important part of self-identity for many women. In cases where full or partial mastectomies have been performed the reconstruction of the breast is an option that many will consider.

Mastectomy is often performed in cases where the breast has been affected by cancer and removing either the entire breast or parts thereof is the only option in order to preserve the health of the individual.

In cases where cancer can be isolated a ‘lumpectomy’ may be performed. In fact, such a surgical procedure is often performed in order to ensure that cancer does not occur.

There are several types of mastectomy, including simple mastectomy, where the breast in its entirety (including nipple and areola) is removed and ‘skin-sparing mastectomy’ where the tissue underlying the skin of the breast is removed and the skin itself preserved for reconstructive surgery.

Having breast surgery is an option that many women will consider for cosmetic purposes. However, as is the case with breast surgery for health reasons it is a decision not to undertake lightly.

If you notice changes in your breast such as lumps or experience pain check with your physician immediately – and ask for a thorough examination during your regular doctor’s visit.