Bristol Palin said she has undergone nine breast reconstruction surgeries in a recent Instagram story.
She said she had a "botched" surgery when she was 19 that resulted in complications.
A breast reduction can help improve self-image, but it also may result in unwanted scarring or loss of sensation.
Bristol Palin, former reality TV star and daughter of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, recently shared an intimate look at her recovery from what she says was her ninth breast reconstruction surgery.
In an Instagram story captured by Today, the 32-year-old wrote that she was "praying this is the last surgery needed" to resolve the lasting damage caused by a "botched" breast reduction.
"Sharing wayyyyy TMI right now, but had my 9th breast reconstruction surgery last night — yes, NINTH," she captioned an image of herself in a compression top with multiple surgical drains attached.
Palin shared that the series of surgeries were meant to correct a breast reduction she got when she was 19 years old. She wrote on Instagram that she was left with "terrible" scarring and muscle tissue damage after the initial operation.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) performed more than 100,000 breast reduction surgeries in 2020, the most recent year of data published online. Many are satisfied with the results of breast reduction surgery, but the procedure comes with some risk of complications.
Palin wrote that the damage resulting from her surgeries has made her feel self-conscious for her entire adult life.
"Trying my hardest to stay positive, hype myself up, and remind myself that I have so much to be thankful for," she wrote in the post.
Breast reduction can help with self-image and chronic pain
Although breast reduction surgery is usually considered a cosmetic procedure in the eyes of insurance companies, it offers several health-related benefits unrelated to aesthetics.
Removing extra fat and breast tissue can help alleviate chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain resulting from large breasts, as well as skin irritation under the breasts, according to Mayo Clinic.
The procedure also may offer mental health benefits for big-breasted people by allowing them to exercise, take part in activities, and fit into clothes that were not an option with large breasts.
If the patient can prove an adequate number of health issues and attempts to solve those issues prior to surgery, some insurance plans will cover breast reduction as a reconstructive procedure, Stephen Chidyllo, MD, wrote for ASPS.
Additional cosmetic surgery may increase the risk of complications
Like any surgery, breast reduction comes with a risk of complications. According to Mayo Clinic, risks include temporary bruising, scarring, trouble breastfeeding, and lack of satisfaction with the results.
Delayed wound healing is the most common postoperative complication after breast reduction surgery, according to a patient survey completed between 2005 and 2015. The survey found that advanced age, smoking, and higher breast resection volume were all linked to a greater risk of trouble healing.
A larger retrospective study of 16,812 cases found that patients who got body contouring procedures, such as liposuction or skin tightening, around the same time as a breast reduction had a greater risk of increased complications.
Palin has been candid about her previous cosmetic procedures, including a tummy tuck she got several years ago. In May 2021, she posted a video on Instagram showing off her surgical scars.
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