Breast reduction: 'I should have done it years ago. . .'
The procedure can drastically improve women's quality of life, says Anita Guidera
The morning before 'Elaine' underwent breast reduction surgery, the mum of three put her bra on her head and asked her family to photograph her.
"I did it for a joke but it actually fitted perfectly on my head as a hat. I didn't realise how big I was. I kept it for a souvenir," she said.
Two years on and Elaine still cannot believe the difference the reduced breast size had made to her quality of life.
Breast reduction is fast becoming one of the most sought-after plastic surgery procedures in Ireland.
Dr Margaret O'Donnell of the Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons said that an increasing number of women were recognising that the procedure was medical rather than cosmetic, which made them more likely to seek treatment.
"Anecdotally, we are definitely seeing a rise in patients seeking this form of surgery in the past couple of years.
"There is a greater awareness that it can be done and doctors are seeing the benefits in patients who have had it done in terms of quality of life improvement and relief in neck and back pain symptoms," she said.
Dr O'Donnell, who is based at the Blackrock Clinic, said that women in their 40s and 50s were the most likely age group to seek the surgery.
"I have come across women on pain killers for years for neck pain, back pain and shoulder pain.
"I've seen depression marks in the shoulders from the weight of the straps. I've met women too self-conscious to go swimming with their children.
"After the surgery the almost universal response is 'I should have done it years ago'," she said.