Breast Reduction Can Save Your Life

Many women are surprised to learn that when they have breast reduction surgery, that tissue samples are routinely sent to pathology for diagnosis. Researchers claim that roughly one woman in ten will have abnormal breast pathology. Cells that appear abnormal under a microscope are referred to as atypical cells but they aren’t necessarily cancerous. Inflammation and infection can make normal cells appear atypical, even normal aging can make cells appear abnormal.

Men who have gynecomastia surgery (male breast reduction) have even less incidence for breast cancer than women but typically breast tissue is sent for evaluation as well.

According to Wikipedia; most symptoms of breast disorders, including most lumps, do not turn out to represent underlying breast cancer.

Breast Reduction and Cancer Awareness

But for the woman who discovers that she does have breast cancer from the results of the pathology analyzed from her breast reduction surgery, it could very well save her life. This happened recently to actress/comedian Wanda Sykes who opted for a double mastectomy when her pathology came back positive for breast cancer. Dr. Delgado has had one patient to date that had pathology results showing breast cancer, she attributes the discovery to saving her life.

In an article from May 2010 in “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery”, it was reported that the incidence of occult carcinoma identified in the reduction mammoplasty samples of the macromastia population is low.  The author of the article advises that “the cost effectiveness of routine pathologic examination following reduction mammoplasty is questionable and should be reconsidered. This is especially true in the younger patient population and the patient without prior personal history of breast cancer”.

Discussing Medical History With Your Surgeon

With the cost of health care escalating, it is unknown if breast tissue samples obtained from breast reduction surgery will continue to be routinely sent for evaluation and covered by insurance. It is important to discuss medical history and family history with your surgeon and understand all of your options.


If you are located in the Bay Area and are interested in hearing about all your breast reduction options, contact Dr. Delgado’s office.

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Dr. Miguel Delgado


Dr. Delgado, MD is a world-recognized plastic surgeon and specialist in the treatment of male breast enlargement, also called gynecomastia. He has developed new techniques and owns and operates, which has become the largest gynecomastia forum in the world. Dr. Delgado holds the two most coveted credentials; the certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgery.

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