Is 56 to Old for Breast Reduction Surgery? I Am 5'2', 125 Lbs, 38DD?

My breasts have always been too big for my frame. clothing is doesn't fit correctly, and I've tried every bra on the market. More importantly, as i age, there are new issues. I have moderate full spine stenosis, which I have managed with exercise and epidural injections. I will not ever have spinal surgery. My breasts have made it difficult to exercise the way I want to and are no doubt contributing to back pain.

Doctor Answers 11

No age limit for breast reduction

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56 is not too old for breast reduction but you will need to have a medial clearance for general anesthesia.  Since you are only a size 38 DD, the amount remoed will not be excessive.  There is a new technique called The Ultimate Breast Reduction.  No vertical scars are required and incisions are hidden around the areola or in the inframammary fold.  Pain is relieved by transferring the weight to the underlying muscle.  Areola sensation is often improved and upper breast fullness enhanced.

Best Wishes,

Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 230 reviews

Breast Reduction and Age

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As long as you are healthy and had no major medical risks a breast reduction can be performed at just about any age. Physiological health is more important than chronological age. Please see a certified plastic surgeon for a consultation and discuss this with your spine specialist to see if you have addtional risks for surgery. It is possible that removing extra weight from your breast may help certain spine problems. 

Is 56yo too old for breast reduction surgery? I am 5'2", 125#, 38DD.

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Hello! Thank you for your question! Age alone is not a contraindication to a surgical procedure. There are a few medical comorbidities that contribute to a higher risk during any surgical procedure including infections, wound complications, delayed wound healing, bleeding, anesthetic risks, etc. Factors such as diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, heart problems, lung problems, etc are more common in the elderly. However, if you are healthy, or these conditions are well-controlled, you would certainly still be a candidate for a surgical procedure. If your complaints or desires are great enough to consider the surgical option, I would seek a consultation with a plastic surgeon to discuss your complaints and go over the options as well as risks and benefits of the procedure.

You should obtain medical clearance from your primary care physician that you are at an acceptable risk for undergoing a surgical procedure. For elective or aesthetic procedures, your surgeon may want to get you to a reasonable health status prior to consideration for a procedure. Discuss all of your medical comorbidities and medication with your surgeon prior and discuss these risks. Also, discuss this with your anesthesiologist as proper monitoring and medications will be watched closely. This procedure should still be very safe for you and hope for an uncomplicated course with an excellent result! Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Too old for breast reduction/lift?

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Thank you for your post. Age is not a contraindication to surgery. Poor health is. If you are a healthy adult, and interested in a breast reduction or lift surgery, meet with a board certified plastic surgeon. He or she will assess you as a patient for any risks you might have. The biggest risks are heart disease, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, and previous history of deep venous thrombosis. If you are having back pain, neck pain, bra strap grooving, rashes under the breast fold, or just desire a breast lift, meet with a highly qualified surgeon.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Breast reduction after age 50

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Breast redcution patients are some of the happiest patients that plastic surgeons see.  The most common comment that I hear after breast redcution is " I wish I had done this sooner"!    Before your reduction your doctor will require you to get medical clearance ( a physical exam by your primary care doctor , labwork including a chest Xray and EKG as well as a mammogram).  In healthy patients   this is a very succesful surgery and the improvement in neck and shoulder pain is almost immediate.

Susan E. Downey, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Breast Reduction Surgery in Your 50's.

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The short answer is, no, you are not "too old" to have a breast reduction procedure.  A person's overall health is much more important than their age when it comes to being a plastic surgery candidate.  A consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is very important as you will not only discuss the details of your procedure but also its inherent risks.  A lollipop incision breast reduction may be a good fit for you, as this short-scar procedure generally gives the patient a shorter recovery time in addition to minimizing scarring from the surgery.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions, and good luck!

Norman M. Rowe, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Overall health is key to safe surgery

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You are absolutely not too old for breast reduction.  I have many patients who have had breast reduction surgery in your age group.  The question is are you in good health and without medical problems that would make you a higher risk for surgery.  Spinal stenosis itself does not preclude you from surgery.  Most patients feel significantly better after breast reduction.  Please have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.  If you are a  good candidate for the reduction surgery, a responsible surgeon will send you to your doctor or a doctor they recommend for medical clearance.  That doctor will give a physical examination, check your bloodwork and EKG and preform other tests, if necessary, to make sure you are healthy for surgery.  Good luck.
Tracy M. Pfeifer, MD, MS

Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Is 56 to Old for Breast Reduction Surgery? I Am 5'2', 125 Lbs, 38DD?

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In considering surgery and it's risks, calendar age is of only minor importance. Your general health is definitely more important. If your health is good you should be an excellent candidate for the procedure.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Is 56 "TOO OLD" forPlastic Surgery?

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As surgeons we should be first and foremost concerned with safety. Although age is SUGGESTIVE of your health status it is NOT the definitive criteria based on which we decide our patients suitability for surgery. Your overall health status after age 35 as determined by your weight, associated medical conditions, medications and supplements you may be taking are MUCH more important. When we are in doubt, we would ask evaluation and clearance by a Cardiologist (which may involve a Carsdiac Stress Test which may show your risk for heart disease).

It sounds like you may benefit from a Breast Reduction. I would suggest you discuss it with your Internal Medicine physician and then see several Plastic Surgeons. Be aware that while you may pay for the operation out of pocket, your insurance may refuse to do so and put the surgeon you choose through a major run around. This is commonly the case despite your having large and painful breasts.  But - your first step is to find out if you are a candidate.

Good Luck with your procedure

Peter Aldea, MD

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Breast reduction at Age of 56?

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 Thank you for the question.

Assuming you are in good health you may be an excellent candidate for breast reduction surgery; it is one of the most patient pleasing operations performed, regardless of the patient's age.   In your case, you may want to see your primary care or internists prior to consultation with a plastic surgeon. Ask for a medical workup ( history, physical, EKG…) and make sure that you are medically “optimized".

Then seek consultation with well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons. Ask to see lots of examples of their work and communicate your goals clearly. I prefer the use of goal pictures in this communication process.  Most patients seeking this operation wish to have their breasts reduced enough to help decrease/alleviate symptoms but retain enough breast tissue to  retain upper and lower body proportionality.

Hopefully your only regret after this operation will be “I wish I had done it sooner”.

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.