Breast Reduction for over 600 British teenagers in last 5 years
If you read certain magazines, or watch certain TV programmes, you would be forgiven for thinking that all British teenage girls are obsessed with the idea of having bigger breasts. But the reality is quite different.
According to official government statistics, a total of 647 British girls aged between 15 to 18 have undergone breast reduction surgery in the past five years.
Their surgeries cost in the region of £5000 a time, and were funded by the NHS, which has prompted criticism from Shadow Health Minister Diane Abbott.
“An obsession with physical perfection is driving women. Society needs to debate whether scarce NHS resources are best spent on a 15-year-old who has convinced herself her breasts are too big”, the MP said.
But she presents a somewhat simplistic view. She doesn’t seem to be recognising the myriad reasons why these girls may be seeking breast reduction.
It may be that school or college is an ordeal for some of these girls. Being a teenager can be enough of a challenge, but if you throw into the mix feelings of acute self-consciousness from having very large breasts, it can have a very negative effect on a young woman’s quality of life.
And the health implications should not be overlooked. Very large breasts can cause severe back pain, and in extreme cases can make physical activity very difficult. This affects a girl’s ability to exercise, which can impact on her health – not to mention her overall enjoyment of life.
The NHS has a duty to use resources sensibly – but when large breasts significantly affect a young woman’s quality of life, breast reduction is not simply a vanity issue.