Content warning: this post contains nudity.
Actress Ariel Winter had one, as did Queen Latifah, Drew Barrymore, Patricia Heaton and Jeneane Garofolo. Each said it changed their lives for the better physically and psychologically, that a weight was lifted.
That weight was lifted courtesy of a procedure thousands of Australian women are getting every year: breast reduction.
As blogger/author/Queen Constance Hall put it on Instagram just this week, “I felt so free.” And, unlike breast augmentations, the cost of that freedom doesn’t have to come out of your own pocket.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that in the 2016-17 financial year, Medicare claims were made for the reduction of 10,473 individual female breasts – more than 2000 greater than five years ago.
It puts the procedure among the most commonly carried out cosmetic surgeries, with 2546 surgeries in 2016-17 performed on women between the ages of 45-54, and 1476 carried out girls aged 15-24.
So, how are so many women claiming plastic surgery via their Medicare card?
As well as being linked to lower self-esteem and emotional wellbeing in teens, large breasts that are deemed medically abnormal – known clinically as macromastia – can lead to back and neck pain, skin irritation and can often, in extreme cases, interfere with a woman’s ability to lead an active lifestyle.
For this reason, breast reduction is listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule under item number 45520, which means it can be considered a necessary medical procedure, and not simply a cosmetic one.