Is Reduction Mammoplasty Cost Effective?
Although a relatively rare condition, macromastia can have a seriously detrimental effect on the lives of those affected.
With physical implications including migraines, neck pain, breast pain, upper and lower back pain, and psychological effects such as low self-esteem, social anxiety, and depression, both the direct and indirect costs of macromastia on the health system are considerable.
In terms of treatment, one highly effective option is a reduction mammoplasty, more commonly referred to as breast reduction surgery.
However, with complications commonplace, is this the most cost-effective treatment solution for women with macromastia?
Let’s take a closer look to try and find the answer.
What Is Macromastia?
Macromastia is a rare condition that affects only a very small percentage of women. Characterized as excessive growth of the breast tissue, macromastia causes the breasts to swell significantly in size. Although most common in adolescence, macromastia can also occur in adult women of all ages.
Patients with this condition report health issues ranging from back pain to breast swelling to skin rashes. For many women, the sheer weight of their large breasts can make daily living difficult and can result in a need for physical therapy, physiological therapy, and regular appointments with their doctor – all of which carry an economic burden on the U.S healthcare system.
While the exact cause of this condition is still unknown, it is thought that both genetics and environmental factors play an important role. That being said, in the vast majority of cases, macromastia occurs for no specific reason.
Studies into macromastia are still ongoing, with several high-profile researchers and influencers across the globe exploring why this condition occurs and how to best treat it.
Reduction Mammoplasty – Is This The Best Treatment for Macromastia?
In terms of reoccurrence, especially in adolescents who have macromastia, reduction mammoplasty has proven to be one of the most effective treatments.
However, in terms of medical insurance, this procedure is often thought of as a cosmetic one, despite the obvious physical and psychological effects of macromastia on women. Many medical insurance companies insist upon weight reduction and conservative treatments before approving reduction mammoplasty. Treatments recommended include physiotherapy, fango, massage, and acupuncture.
They may also recommend nutritional counseling to promote weight loss or psychotherapy to improve body perception. Pain relief is another common suggestion to relieve the symptoms associated with macromastia but this only masks the problem for young women; it doesn’t solve it.
However, it is worth noting that none of the above treatments have shown sufficient and long-lasting effects as they do not represent causal therapies. Therefore, the cost saving of deterring surgical treatment is not apparent.
Is Reduction Mammoplasty Cost-Effective?
Macromastia, or mammary hypertrophy, can cause an extensive range of health problems (as detailed above), and reduction mammoplasty, or breast reduction, can, in the vast majority of cases, eliminate all of these symptoms. In fact, based on recent studies, the quality of life of women who have chosen reduction mammoplasty as their preferred treatment for macromastia is significantly improved, both in the short and long term.
However, is it the most cost-effective option? Or are conservative treatments a better choice for the United States healthcare industry?
When determining the answer to the above question, there are several factors concerning a patient’s treatment that need to be assessed, including:
- Cosmetic results
How satisfied are they with the shape, size, and look of their breasts? How has this affected their mental health?
- Quality of life
Is their quality of life better after surgery than before? Are they able to go about their daily life free from pain and discomfort?
Did the patient have to miss work before surgery? Are they better able to do their job better now?
- Medical consultations
How many times did the patient have to contact their family doctor or physician before surgery? Was this reduced after surgery?
- Medical treatments
Is physiotherapy needed after surgery? For how long and at what cost? Is any other medical treatment needed before surgery no longer required post-surgery?
Is rehabilitation needed after a reduction mammoplasty? For how long and at what cost?
What medication is needed by patients who opt out of surgery vs. any medication needed post-surgery?
- Medical insurance
Is the cost of surgery covered by the patient’s medical insurance?
Although further research is needed, several studies suggest that reduction mammoplasty is the most cost-effective treatment for macromastia. These compared the cost of surgical treatment with those of conservative treatments and showed that any additional costs of surgery were recovered within a short period of time.
Moreover, reduction mammoplasty led to favorable results in the cost-utility analysis, with the costs of conservative treatments accumulating into substantial amounts over the course of a patient’s life with little positive effects on their quality of life.
Reduction Mammoplasty – Outlook
It is clear that more research is needed into the positive effects of reduction mammoplasty on treating macromastia. Both to convince insurance companies that this treatment option is not purely cosmetic but that it has a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life and to reassure women that this is a safe and effective option for them.
To find out about the latest research into reduction mammoplasty and macromastia, check out the Key Opinion Leaders Search Engine. This valuable tool provides articles from over 50 million Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) within the fields of science, technology, and healthcare. You can compare KOLs, search for your favorite influencers and enjoy a free and personalized list of Key Opinion Leaders.
Macromastia may be a condition that only affects a small number of women each year, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to have the best possible treatment to improve their overall quality of life.
Whether you are in charge of your hospital or private clinic’s budget or you make direct decisions on behalf of your patients, reduction mammoplasty is proven to be a cost-effective, long-term treatment for macromastia.