Every year around 97 women request to have breast reduction surgery at the Royal Free Hospital when all most of them need is a correctly fitted bra.
The company Bravissimo has been working with the plastic surgery unit for six years, showing women how they can avoid the operation if they are fitted with the correct bra.
Last week the company held a mass bra fitting service attended by nearly 250 women working at the Royal Free Hospital. The vast majority of women were surprised to learn they had been wearing the wrong size of bra.
Carol Saint, a nurse who works with women who undergo breast reduction surgery, said “It was a great event. We are delighted to have helped hundreds of women find the correct size of bra.”
Dr Alex Clarke, clinical psychologist who helps women considering surgery, said “This is a tremendously helpful addition to our management of women with large breasts. Recent published research has suggested that bra fitting should be available on the NHS: here at the Royal Free we have been doing it for years.
“Women referred to the department who are considering bilateral breast reduction surgery for large breast size have the opportunity to be properly fitted by an expert bra fitter when they visit the clinic. This may be the first proper fitting they have had.
“To date, 100% of those fitted have been wearing the wrong size, overestimating the width of their back and underestimating cup size. This results in the weight of the breasts being carried by the shoulders rather than supported around the chest, and contributes to back pain.”
Amanda Binns, secretary in the dermatology department, said, “It was really useful - I think I might go and buy some new bras. “
Bravissimo’s approach is to ditch the old fashioned method of using a measuring tape and to judge by look, getting women to try on different bras. They challenge the common misconceptions that most women have and most of the major high street retailers’ methods of measuring cup sizes.
Kath Brown, a spokeswoman for Bravissimo, said: “A well-fitted bra can really transform how you look and feel about yourself and we were delighted to be able to share this with so many women. We have all had so much fun, it has been fantastic.”
Notes to editors:
1) For further information contact: Aysha Shah, communications assistant, Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, 020 7317 7590, firstname.lastname@example.org
2) The Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust has around 900 beds and sees about 700,000 patients a year from all over the world. We employ around 4,600 people and have a turnover of about £450m. Our services include a major accident and emergency service, all branches of surgery and medicine, a renal service serving the whole of north London, paediatrics, maternity services, care of elderly people, an adolescent psychiatric service and one of two high security infectious diseases units in the country. We are renowned for our specialist services including liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, renal, AIDS/HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, paediatric gastroenterology, ENT surgery and audiological medicine, amyloidosis and scleroderma. We are a leading cancer centre with a range of specialist diagnostic and treatment services in oncology and haematology and a major neuroscience base with a network extending throughout north London and into the Home Counties. There are associated internationally recognised research and training programmes.