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Sunday 7 June 2020

Gigantomastia: Woman undergoes successful surgery

A 56-year-woman suffering from gigantomastia (excessive breast growth) underwent a successful surgery at a hospital here to reduce the weight by 11 kg

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New Delhi: A 56-year-woman suffering from gigantomastia (excessive breast growth) underwent a successful surgery at a hospital here to reduce the weight by 11 kg, thus providing her relief from chronic back and shoulder pain.

The patient suffered from the rare condition called gigantomastia, which is characterised by excessive breast growth, said Dr Ajaya Kashyap, Medical Director, KAS Medical Centre and MedSpa. In such cases, breast reduction is usually the best treatment option, and her preliminary assessment backed the same. Left untreated, she would have developed degenerative kyphosis, a condition in which a person’s spine curves forward, forming a hump or hunchback.

While kyphosis itself is a painful and physically limiting condition, its progression could further lead to shortness of breath due to lung compression. Moreover, if the nerves running through the spine become compressed or pinched due to its bending, the nerve signals could get disrupted and cause numbness or weakness in the limbs, problems with the sense of balance and even loss of normal bladder or bowel control, doctors said.

Dr Kashyap said, “According to guidelines, breast reduction surgery with or without hormonal therapy is usually the first line of treatment for gigantomastia.” “The patient came to know about the surgical option only two years ago, that too from a friend who herself underwent the procedure,” he said.

The surgery was performed on 27 August.

The procedure used was ‘Wise Pattern Breast Reduction’ with a free nipple-areola technique. Liposuction was also done on the sides to contour. She was discharged after two days. “There was no complications and minimal blood loss. She is fine now and able to move freely without any problem,” the doctor said.

Explaining the condition, the woman said, “I spent my entire adult life struggling to find the right bra and clothes in which I can fit in without looking awkward. A constant back pain, deep depressions in my shoulders due to bra strap, strange posture and of course extremely low self-steam — a life with abnormally big breast is certainly hard to describe.” She added that for years she had undergone physiotherapy and taken painkillers, but nothing helped.

Despite being a psychologically and physically disabling condition, gigantomastia remains undiagnosed in most cases. This is basically because there is still no universal classification or accepted definition for this condition. Furthermore, often women themselves do not know or acknowledge that they have disproportionately large breasts and therefore fail to seek medical help.

Dr Kashyap said anyone suffering from pain in the breasts, shoulders, back or neck or having redness, itchiness and warmth on or underneath the breasts might be having gigantomastia. “Depending on the degree of breast enlargement and personal pain endurance, one can decide the treatment they want to take. However, it is important to know that in case of gigantomastia, breast reduction surgery offers a very safe and effective solution and does not lead to any other complications,” he said.

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