Breast Reduction Surgery is NOT COSMETIC

Breast Reduction Surgery is NOT COSMETIC

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Petition to
Council of Medical Schemes and

Why this petition matters

Breast Reduction is NOT COSMETIC!

Many women in South Africa suffer from chronic neck and back pain caused by large breasts known as Gigantomastia, Hypertrophy and Macromastia and we are calling on medical aid schemes to consider breast reduction surgery as a medical surgery and not as cosmetic surgery. This has robbed many of the women that we work with from being able to undergo breast reduction surgery for medical reasons. Some medical aid schemes refuse to pay for such a surgery even in cases where a general practitioner has drafted a referral for this surgery to be done for medical reasons. We are Breast Reduction Support South Africa, a movement created to support women who are suffering from large breasts and to provide information for women who would love to get a Breast Reduction procedure.

“I had to pay cash for this medical procedure after my medical aid refused to pay for this procedure regardless of having received a referral letter from my GP outlining that I need this for medical purposes. I saved over R60 000 for this surgery for over 9 months and when I finally completed my healing process, I could not help but be emotional because my life had changed drastically. It still puzzles me how medical aids refuse to pay for this surgery. Breast reduction is not cosmetic, public hospitals do it for free, why are they declining to save us, especially since we pay high medical aid premiums just to get cover.” 

Large breasts can cause many health problems such as Spinal Cord Damage, Back Pains, Shoulder Pains, Bra scar / marks, Skin irritation / rash, Breathing problems, Numbness, Fatigue, Headaches / Migraines, etc. It can be physically disabling if not treated. Beyond the physical problems incurred, it also brings psychosocial problems for those that face this. This includes, but not limited to, a lack of confidence, emotional stress, affects one’s ability to exercise and participate in sports comfortably, creates an inability to work in their career of choice (e.g. office based careers are straining), brings challenges in finding a well fitting bra and clothing, an unproportional body affects their self esteem and brings unnecessary attention towards women that have this.

For many women battling with large breasts,  breast reduction surgery will be needed to avoid any permanent physical disability, improved livelihoods and greater psychosocial comfort. Breast Reduction Surgery for large breasted women can improve their Health and Wellbeing in so many ways. Amongst the women we support, a few have successfully gotten the procedure and have shared their story in the group but majority are struggling to get the procedure because of their Medical Aid Schemes denying them, calling it COSMETIC & EXCLUSIVE even after proving beyond reason that their case is not cosmetic but medical issue they still boldly DECLINE giving them no hope to get medical help.

We call on the Council of Medical Schemes of South Africa to:

  • Amend their medical policies to recognise Breast Reduction Surgery as a Medical Surgery that should be financed by medical aid schemes where there are valid medical reasons and not be categorized exclusively as a cosmetic surgery.


BRSupportSA Social Media Pages:

Facebook Support Group for Women and Medical Specialists/Doctors: 

Breast Reduction Support South Africa

Facebook Page: Breast Reduction Support South Africa @BRSupportSA

Twitter: Breast Reduction Support SA @BRSupportSA

52,786 have signed. Let’s get to 75,000!