Breast Reduction of D Cup Breasts on a 16 Year Old?

I'm 16 years old, and I've had problems with my large breasts for years now. I wanted to know if Breast Reduction is a good option, and what kind of things do insurance companies look at for covering a breast reduction?

Right now I'm 117 pounds, and 5'3" tall. My bra size is a 36D, which feels very disproportional for my small frame. Thank you

Doctor Answers 8

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.

16 year old and breast reduction

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If you are of adult height and weight and you are having regular menses and are no longer growing you may be a candidate but you would need your parent's approval.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Breast reduction in a 16 year old girl

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You are a bit young, and although you are symptomatic, your D Cup size is not all that large.  If insurance will cover it or not is a question that your plastic surgeon can help answer.  Also, being under age, you must have your parents consent.

Breast reduction of D cup breasts for a teenager

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Please go see 3 boarded plastic surgeons in your area. They can discuss with your parents the requirements to have you approved not only medically but insurance wise also. Regards.

When breast reduction becomes necessary

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Breast reduction is covered by some insurance plans and benefits are determined by documentation of medical necessity for the reduction procedure. Medical necessity to insurance providers means the procedure is meant to restore normal health and function. The most common criteria include back pain or neck strain which cannot be corrected by 'conservative ' measures. Insurance will often make sure patients are within normal body weight ranges, and have failed other measures such as physical therapy, support garments, or use of anti-inflammatory medication. Some companies will require a certain amount of breast tissue be removed. The process can be started by a consultation with a plastic surgeon in your area, and a letter sent with supporting information to obtain a predetermination of your current insurance benefits.

We have been asked many times about breast reduction in the teenage years and you can find our responses on our profile with RealSelf and our website. Take time to understand the procedure well, both trade-offs and advantages.

Best of luck.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Is 16 too young for Breast Reduction?

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Hi there-

There are several issues to review...

First of all, at 16 it is likely you may experience some further growth of your breasts, and that if this happens after you had breast reduction surgery, that a second surgery to further reduce and improve their shape would be a more risky endeavor not likely to be covered by your health insurance.

The question of insurance coverage of the initial procedure is very much a regional one, and therefor would best be answered by a plastic surgeon in your community. Unfortunately, the insurance companies make these decisions in a very arbitrary way and there is no predictability to the process. The only way to know if your surgery might be covered is to try to get it covered... and even after you have surgery, there's no guarantee your surgeon will actually be paid (but that's another story).

My recommendation to young women like yourself is to wait as long as you can before surgery, as this is definitely one you only want to have to have once- not because it is very painful, because it usually isn't, but in order to minimize the risk of complications should a second one be necessary.

Breast reduction is appropriate at your age

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At your age, with such large breasts, it is appropriate to consider breast reduction surgery. 

You need to be examined and to have your overall health evaluated. However, in exceptional cases, I have performed reduction surgery on a girl as young as 14 with enormous breasts.

Darrick E. Antell, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Seek a Plastic Surgeon to determine candidacy for Breast Reduction

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Each company uses different criteria. BCBS, for example, uses the Shnur scale which is based on your BMI and estimated volume of reduction. Ultimately, you need to seek a consultation and have your physician compose a letter of predetermination of benefits to ascertain your level of coverage.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.