Breast Reduction Candidate? What Would An Appropriate Size Be?

I am a 35 year old female that is 5'7" and weighs approximately 150 lbs. I currently wear around a 36DDD depending on the bra manufacturer. I went for a consultation 3 years ago and my insurance at that time would only cover the surgery if I had 400cc removed from each breast. After a lot more painful symptoms and an insurance change, I am considering the option again. Can someone please tell me what an appropriate removal from my size would be???

Doctor Answers (6)

Breast reduction candidate? What would be an appropriate size?

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Hello! Thank you for your question.  It is a safe procedure, in which your plastic surgeon will reduce the amount of breast tissue, reshape your breasts, raise the nipple-areolar complex to its appropriate position (possibly making the size smaller, if needed), and ultimately ameliorate the possible complaints that you do have for the reason that you are having this procedure (e.g., neck/back pain, migraines, rashes/infections, shoulder grooving, etc).

It would be in your best interest to have a mammogram prior to the procedure for screening prior to this procedure, as the architecture imaging of your breast will slightly change afterwards. Well known data exists that having a breast reduction will in fact lower your chance for developing breast cancer, simply because the amount of tissue will be less.

Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who will discuss the procedure with you, examine, and assist you in determining if this is the right procedure for you.  Voice your complaints - your insurance will likely require a detailed description of your history and complaints as well as photo and an estimate of how much tissue will be removed - the amount varies amongst insurances.  You should give a description of the therapies that you have done to ameliorate your complaints thus far.  Any other notes from other physicians is helpful.  It would also behoove you to discuss your issues yourself with your insurance carrier.  Hope that this helps!  Best 


Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Result should be proportionate to body size

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Breast reductions are covered by insurance companies based on 2 criteria.  First, you must have symptoms related to the large breasts such as neck, back and shoulder pain or rashes.  Second, you must meet their weight removal requirement.  The weight removal requirement is determined by your height and weight, which determines your body surface area.  At 5'7 and 150 lbs your body surface area is 1.79 meters squared.  If your insurance was Aetna they would require 645 grams removal.  645 grams would correspond to 3 cup size reduction and you would be approximately a C.  It is possible that it may be disproportionately small for your body size.  If that is the situation then you should have the amount removed your desire but you would have to pay for the breast reduction yourself.  There is a new technique called The Ultimate Breast Reduction.  This technique avoids the vertical scar of the Wise pattern that was developed in 1956 and relieves breast pain by transferring the weight of the breast to the underlying muscle.  This allows the patient to choose the size proportionate to their body without excessvie reduction yet achieve pain relief.  This is an alternative you should consider.

Best Wishes,

Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 119 reviews

36DDD Breast Reduction

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This is a question that can only be answered during an in-person consultation.  Every insurance company is different, and we have good success getting health insurance companies to cover breast reductions performed at our facility.  Sometimes we enlist the help of other doctors that can help show that a reduction in the size of your breasts would decrease pain in your back, shoulders, etc.  We can discuss this at your consultation as well as which surgical technique would serve you best.  We specialize in short-scar breast reductions, also called the lollipop technique, which gives patients excellent results, more lift, less scarring, and usually a shorter recovery period.  Hope this helps and good luck!

Norman M. Rowe, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

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Breast reduction candidate

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Without photos it is impossible to estimate the amount of tissue which would be removed. Your new insurance carrier probably has similar requirements regarding the amount of breast tissue to be removed from each breast.  However, your new insurance carrier may have a mandatory waiting period before they will cover the procedure.  You should call your new carrier and find out what the policy is.  Good luck!

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
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How much to remove in a breast reduction

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Without photos and an in person exam it is impossible to make a valid recommendation for you. You should have a consultation with a plastic surgeon in your area certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery who will be able to make appropriate recommendations for you. He or she should also be able to find out if your current insurance has requirements about how much must be removed. But it sounds like you would benefit from a reduction so good luck to you.

Margaret Skiles, MD
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Breast Reduction Candidate?

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Thank you for your question.

Based on your description, you may be an excellent candidate for breast reduction surgery. Unfortunately,  no online consultant will be able to provide you with precise enough advice in regards to the amount of tissue that would need to be removed in your case. Your best bet would be to do your due diligence and select your plastic surgeon carefully; ask to see lots of examples of work performed.

During your consultation, communicate your goals clearly.  This communication will help your plastic surgeon determine what size you would like to remain after the breast reduction surgery and how much tissue would likely need to be removed in order to achieve your goals.

 Based on your description, I would encourage you to proceed;  breast reduction surgery is one of the most patient pleasing operations performed. It is likely that your only regret will be not having  undergone the procedure earlier.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 680 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.