Breast “binding” refers to various methods used to flatten one’s breast tissue to create a more masculine-looking chest. For some, breast binding serves and an effective alternative to invasive surgery. For others, breast binding is only a moderately successful, short-term alternative to FTM chest surgery.
There are many methods that can be used to minimize the appearance of your chest. The type of materials used and the level of success associated with binding usually depend on the size of your chest and your overall body type and build. Some of the most popular binding methods include:
Because most binding methods involve tight compression of the breasts, they can result in pain, discomfort and physical restrictions. If the binding material you are using doesn’t breathe well, it can also create sores, rashes or other skin irritation.
When breast binding, you should always use common sense. If your binding hurts, causes difficulty breathing or cuts into your skin, it’s too tight or you’re using the wrong material. It’s also important to keep in mind that strong pressure around the chest and back can cause changes to normal spine alignment, which may result in chronic pain. Constricting the breast tissue can also cause permanent damage to the breasts, which will alter their final shape.
If you choose to bind, remember to give your chest a break here and there to breathe and relieve some of the aches and pains commonly associated with regular breast binding.
There is no evidence to suggest that breast binding can increase one’s risk of breast cancer. Whether you choose to bind or not, you should always be concerned about the health of your breasts. Until you initiate testosterone therapy or undergo FTM chest reconstruction surgery, you are at the same risk for breast cancer as women. Even after FTM top surgery, you still have a small risk of developing breast cancer.
Performing monthly self-breast exams and undergoing recommended mammograms with your physician are the two best ways to detect cancer early. If you have concerns regarding your breast health or breast binding, you should discuss them with your primary care physician.
Generally speaking, binding will not cause problems with your surgical plan. Binding over a long period of time can alter your skin’s natural elasticity, which may have some minor affects on your final cosmetic results. Dr. Mosser will be able to help you formulate realistic surgical expectations following a personal consultation.
It is important to note that if your current method of breast binding has caused skin breakdown (sores), you will need to wait until these sores have healed properly before undergoing FTM chest surgery.