Breast Reduction for a 16-year-old Girl?

Can breast reduction be performed for a 16-year-old girl? Overall I am not huge, but I am trying to lose some weight, and my 38G breast size makes exercising difficult. I have lost some weight, but none of it has come from my breasts. Is surgery a good option? I feel like I have tried all the other recommendations, and I am in a lot of pain as well as constant discomfort. I have done a lot of research on this subject, and I am seriously considering it. Thoughts?

Doctor Answers (17)

Breast reduction for teenager

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Breast reduction can certainly help you, however you should see an experienced board certified plastic surgeon for a medical consultation to find out if this is right for you. During the consultation, you'll discuss the risks associated with the procedure so you can make an informed decision. You will also require a parent or guardian to accompany you during your consultation, as you are a minor.


Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Breast reduction for a 16-year-old girl?

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Thank you for your question!  I hope that these answers help in making your decision.  You suffer from juvenile hypertrophy of the breasts, which is typically treated by breast reduction.  It is not uncommon to have the symptoms that you describe such as neck/back/shoulder pain as well as infections/rashes and shoulder grooving, especially in teenagers once her breasts begin to fully develop.  The decision for the procedure will ultimately be yours.

Once one begins to have the symptoms that you state above, consideration for a surgical procedure to ameliorate your symptoms, assist with self esteem, and allow you to get back to physical activities in your youth should be done.  Given your symptoms,  you would be an ideal candidate.  You must first discuss with your parents and pediatrician, and then consulting with a plastic surgeon for evaluation and examination to assist you in deciding if this would be the right thing for you.  Your surgeon will also go over what to expect as well as the risks and benefits of the procedure.  Overall, your symptoms should be ameliorated almost immediately and hopefully give you more self confidence and an increased activity level.  Your breasts may still continue to grow over the next several years, but it is certainly reasonable to consider this at this age with the issues that you are having.  I hope that this helps!  Good luck with your decision!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Wait Until Your Breasts Have Stopped Growing Before Breast Reduction Surgery

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         Not only do you have large breasts at an early age, but you’re already suffering significant symptoms. I generally prefer to wait until the breasts have stopped growing before proceeding with breast reduction, but in your case, early intervention may be appropriate because of your symptoms.

 

         I recommend consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon. Obviously, your parents need to be involved in the process as well. Breast reduction has significant benefits and patients who undergo the procedure at an early age experience the benefits over a lifetime. There are downsides as well. These include the potential inability to breast feed, prolonged healing, decreased nipple sensation and scarring. In my experience, patients who undergo breast reduction at an early age not only experience relief of their symptoms, but also an improved quality of life. 

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Breast surgery for 15 year old

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Reductions can be done as early as 15 with parental consent, a proper medical clearance and breast growth that has stopped. Insurance coverage is a hit or miss depending on the carrier.  Usually having symptoms related to breast size is necessary for insurance coverage. Getting it covered though is very difficult. Insurance companies wont tell anyone how much tissue needs to be removed to qualify for coverage. Then if the surgeon is 1gram off they deny coverage after the fact. Insurance companies make money by denying coverage. For that reason most plastic surgeon will likely ask for payment up front.  Breast reductions are the most gratifying operations because years of neck, back and shoulder pain are gone within days.  The final size result depends on your starting size. If you start larger then you will likely end larger. It is not possible to choose a size with any real accuracy. The main reason is that the procedure removes breast tissue but leaves enough tissue to preserve the blood supply to the nipple and areola. Thus more tissue needs to be left behind to ensure nipple viability. The nipple and areola is constantly being accessed during the operation. See a board certified plastic surgeon for specifics on your treatment.

Raj S. Ambay, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Teenage Breast Reduction

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-Surgery is often a very good option for women who have discomfort related to their large breasts.  Teenagers with very large breasts, such as you have, may consider a breast reduction.

-Having very large breasts as a teenager can be troubling for many reasons. In addition to back, neck, and shoulder pain, some young women also suffer emotionally as well.  Having the largest breasts in one's junior high school/middle school can negatively impact self-esteem.  Playing sports such as volleyball or running track is also really difficult and can be uncomfortable.

- The youngest patient I have performed a breast reduction on was 15 years old. Her parents and pediatrician were very supportive of her decision, and after her breast reduction she was able to more easily enjoy the sports at school that she was so fond of.  Additionally, she was a lot less self-conscious after her operation.

-Our biggest concern with performing a breast reduction on a patient as young as yourself is the possible need for another breast reduction down the road.  It is possible that your breasts will continue to get larger, and you may desire another breast reduction in the future. 

 

Definitely meet with a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area to discuss the operation in detail.  

Best of luck to you!

Joshua Cooper, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Breast Reduction for Teenager

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It sounds like you are dealing with juvenile breast hypertrophy along with the physical and psychosocial consequences of this diagnosis. In other words, the breasts are too large for the frame causing  both physical and psychological distress.
It sounds like you have done your homework and understand the potential risk and consultations associated with breast reduction surgery. You also understand that further surgery may be necessary in the future (for example if the breasts were to grow in size again).

On the other hand, breast reduction surgery is one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform and I think that for the right teenager (enough symptoms) it may be an excellent option (regardless of the age).
I would suggest an in-person consultation with a well-trained/experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 794 reviews

Breast Reduction Surgery in Teens

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There is not an age limit for breast reduction surgery. It is best to wait at least 1 year from the time that your breast finishes growing. This will allow for optimal correction, and minimizes the possibility that you need a 2nd surgery soon afterwards. In addition to being a candidate, you will need to be able to have parental consent and provide informed consent (or have your parent's provide informed consent on your behalf). When you are ready, consult in person with 3 experienced and expert board certified plastic surgeons to understand your options.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Breast reduction for young patients

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Patients today have many great options in breast reduction surgery. Young patients should understand that their breasts will continue to grow and change at least until their early 20s. For this reason and to make sure that the patient understands the seriousness of the surgery, it is not recommended to perform a breast reduction surgery before the age of 18. Your best bet is to work with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has a great deal of experience in breast reduction and will be able to assess you and help determine what procedure will help you meet your needs and help you obtain a long-lasting results. Remember that you are quite young and the decisions that you make regarding surgery at this age you will live with for the rest of your life.
 

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

OK to have breast reduction at 16.

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Hi.

1) In New York City, we see a number of girls like you, and I know how much distress you are in. You really have 2 choices.

2) You can have a breast reduction now (which I probably recommend). But then it is likely that you will need another one when you are in your twenties if your breasts are still growing.

3) Or you can wait until your breasts have stopped growing for sure, and then you will need only one operation.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Breast reduction in a teenager

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I have performed breast reduction surgery in teenagers before and the youngest was 14. That girl came to me from London, with among the most enormous breasts I had ever seen.

The public health service there would not allow her to have surgery because of her age but this yound lady had a severe medical (and psychological) problem because of the size of her breasts. Like you, she could not excercise etc.

So in summary, you should discuss your concerns with your sugeon who can evaluate you and make an appropriate recommendation. Remember, the most important part of getting a good result from plastic surgery, is the surgeon that you choose.

Darrick E. Antell, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.