Hi I Am 16 Years Old Would I Qualify for a Breast Reduction?

I'm 5'5 weigh 160 and my breast size is 36DD I get extremely bad neck aches and back aches and I find it very difficult to excersize. would I qualify for a breast reduction and would my insurance cover it?

Doctor Answers 9

Breast reduction in teenagers

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It would be best if you were able to lose some weight before committing to a major surgical procedure that will leave significant scars and likely an inability to breast feed a baby.    With weight loss, your breasts may very well shrink and your back pain improve. 

Many overweight ladies tell their doctors "my breasts don't respond to weight loss" but in fact they have never lost weight!  I do a lot of surgery on patients who have lost weight and they almost always have experienced shrinkage of their breasts and improvement in their back, neck and shoulder issues.  If your weight has been creeping up, you need to get on the path to a healthier lifestyle wagon now.

 If slimming down is not an option for you and your breast size has been stable for a year and your weight is stable, you may be a candidate for reduction.  But really, the best breast reduction in the overweight or obese patient is weight loss. 

Insurance coverage depends on the insurance company's policy.   

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Breast Reduction for teenagers

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There are two parts to your question, one medical and one insurance. I do not practice in Canada and cannot answer the insurance part. Medically, I believe that the decision to have surgery should depend more on size of the breasts in relation to the rest of the body, severity of the symptoms, maturity of the patient both physically and emotionally including the ability to understand the consequences of the surgery, for example the scars and inability to breast feed. You and your parents should meet with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area and he or she should be able to help you both with the medical aspects of the decision as well as the insurance issues. I have had several patients about your age who had breast reduction surgery and who thought it was the best thing they ever did; a truly life changing experience for them. Best wishes to you for making the right decision for you..

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Breast reduction for a teenager

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It sounds like you have the symptoms that many women with large breasts experience.  The best way to determine if you qualify for a breast reduction would be to discuss your symptoms with a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  

Insurance companies vary in their policies regarding coverage for a breast reduction.  Some insurances require that you experience a certain number of symptoms and have tried varying conservative (non-surgical) therapies; some insurance companies may also require you to wait til you are 18, but this is something that you and your family can discuss with your surgeon.  Once you meet with a plastic surgeon, his/her office should be able to help guide you -- for example, in my office, we check with your insurance company what their guidelines are and obtain pre-certfication prior to surgery verifying that the breast reduction is covered by insurance.

Anureet K. Bajaj, MD
Oklahoma City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Is 16 too young for a breast reduction?

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You might qualify for a breast reduction as long as you meet all criteria required by your insurance company. You need to document all you have done to try to deal with heavy breasts. Such as losing weight, physical therapy, good support bras, etc. The first step would be to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with your parents and get an evaluation. If your surgeon feels that you may be a candidate then the surgeon and the staff will be able to help you get pre-approval from your insurance if it is a covered procedure under your policy. Good Luck.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Am I Too Young For A Breast Reduction?

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Dear EmmaYancouver,  Thank you for your question.  Before you do anything, I would encourage you and your parents to meet with a board-certified plastic surgeon who after completing a detailed consultation can give you a better idea of what your options are regarding managing your breast concerns.  When looking at your height and weight, the first option I would suggest is to attempt to lose weight and bring your BMI(body mass index) into the appropriate range for your body build.  I would suggest you try this through a combination of diet and exercise.  For many women, weight loss alone will decrease their breast size and relieve their symptoms.  While having larger breasts can make it harder to perform certain types of exercise, there are still many other forms of exercise that you can do and will help you lose weight.  Swimming is an example of an exercise that will help burn the calories and not put much stress on the breasts. If after losing weight your breasts are still large and you are still having symptoms, then your plastic surgeon will be able to discuss with you if surgery is appropriate to address your concerns and if so, what type of breast reduction procedure they would recommend to you.  Good Luck.

Herluf G. Lund, Jr, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Hi I Am 16 Years Old Would I Qualify for a Breast Reduction?

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Best way to answer your question is take your parent or parents to a consult with a boarded PS in your area. Discuss your options in detail and have the PS send a letter of predetermination to the insurance company. 

Breast reduction in adolescents

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At 16 years old, you are still a bit young for breast reduction surgery.  However, if you are having significant problems as you have described, then you may qualify to receive a breast reduction at a younger age.  At our Adolescent Breast Center in Los Angeles, we frequently see patients with juvenile breast hypertrophy and hereditary macromastia.  The usual recommendations are to initiate a diet and exercise program to decrease your body-mass index (BMI) to more of an ideal or stable level.  We recognize that exercise can be difficult in women with symptomatic large breasts.  A breast reduction performed at this earlier age can improve your exercise tolerance and relieve some of the other symptoms related to back/neck pain.  However, you must keep in mind that your breasts are still growing and that you may require a second breast reduction in the future if your breasts enlarge and become symptomatic again.  Depending on your health insurance, breast reduction for debilitating symptoms may be covered.  Check with your insurance provider for details.

Andre Panossian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Teen breast reduction

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see if you can find someone in your area with a lot of experience in Scarless reduction. liposuction only. may not be ideal but avoids the major complications of standard type reductions.

Sherwood Baxt, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon

Breast Reduction for Teenager?

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Thank you for the question.

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.

As you are thinking about  breast reduction surgery make sure you have done your homework and understand the potential risk and complications associated with  the procedure.  Make sure 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).
 The best way to obtain insurance coverage for breast reduction surgery involves some “hoops” to jump through. The more documentation you have (for example, from your primary care doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor etc.) the better when it comes to obtaining insurance “authorization” for the procedure.
This documentation and letter/pictures from your plastic surgeon will help you obtain authorization. Make sure you're  working with a well-trained/experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

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.