17 yo, 120 lbs, 5'3", 32 DDD breasts, with terrible back and shoulder pain. Am I a good candidate for a breast reduction?

I am 17 years old, 120 lbs, 5'3" with 32 DDD breasts. I have have always be uncomfortable with them, they are much to big for my frame and I do whatever I can to make them look smaller. In addition to this, the cause me terrible amounts of back and shoulder pain, and make exercise a challenge. I have recently started to get curious about reduction, but i realize I am pretty young. However I think this might be something i could really benefit from. Thoughts?

Doctor Answers 8

Avoid the long term complications of the traditional reduction

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At size 32 DDD it is unlikely that insurance will cover a breast reduction because you do not have enough volume to remove. 500 grams is the usual minimum amount and would take you down to a size A. However, there is a new technique called The Ultimate Breast Reduction. This technique transfers the weight of the breast to the underlying muscle, which relieves pain without excessive reduction. This technique avoids the ugly vertical scars of the traditional technique, maintains nipple sensation and the ability to breast feed. I highly recommend this procedure to young people because of the long term complications of the traditional technique. Best Wishes, Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Candidate for Breast Reduction at 17?

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Many girls your age do get breast reductions for the same reasons you describe. It is best to be seen by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon that specializes in breast surgery for an evaluation. If you are finished developing and have parental approval you may be a good candidate.

Breast reduction at age 17

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Based upon your breast size, height, weight and your complaints, you would be a good candidate for breast reduction. It is important that your breast size be stable for at least one year prior to having the procedure performed; if they are still increasing in size at the time of surgery, there is no way to determine your final post-operative size. There are some long term consequences of the procedure, however, that I would recommend you consider strongly before having surgery:

  • The procedure is not reversible, and how you feel about your breast size may change as you get older.
  • The scarring is permanent, including the scars on the front of your breasts. No creams, gels, lasers, etc. will make the scars disappear.
  • Your breasts may change size with future pregnancies, and end up the same, larger or smaller than they are now.
  • You have to assume you will not be able to breast feed following a breast reduction.

Arrange consultations with board-certified plastic surgeons experienced at breast reduction. They will review your history, perform a physical exam, and will be able to discuss the procedure with you in detail, to help you decide whether or not it is appropriate for you at the present time.

Best wishes.

Breast reduction

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You sound like a good candidate for the procedure if your breasts have been stable in size for a year

My only concern with younger patients is they fully understand the risks if the procedure and understand the trade off in terms of scarring associated with the reduction

Teenage breast reduction

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By size alone you might be a very good candidate for breast reduction and we often see teens in our practice. The decision is based on individual understanding of the trade off such as scars, and the decreased abilty to breast feed, and the emotional maturity to know yourself well enough to be certain of your choice. We find a good time school wise is after senior year when there is a transition in friends and activities.

Breast reduction for all ages

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Breast Reduction Surgery is a highly successful procedure that removes fat, glandular tissue and skin from the breast to alleviate the physical symptoms of pain and skin irritation. However, the surgeons at Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery also endeavor to restore a woman's sense of femininity and natural beauty by restoring the breasts to a more elevated, youthful, and aesthetically pleasing shape that is balanced with the patient's body. Thus, a truly successful Breast Reduction, not only reduces the size of the large breasts, but also lifts them to a higher position, reduces the size of large areola (the circular colored part of the nipple), and provides a more youthful feminine and balanced shape.

Usually surgery is an option once the breasts have fully matured (after puberty); however, there are rare cases where extremely large breasts in young women can be reduced before full maturity. The best surgical candidates are those women who are also mature enough to understand the procedure and have realistic expectations about the results. Women who have a strong desire to breast feed after surgery are strongly cautioned that any breast surgery has a risk of altering her ability to breast feed successfully.

Christopher G. Williams, MD
Lone Tree Plastic Surgeon

Breast Reduction May Alleviate Back Pain

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Hi Lauren,

I have helped many patients of all ages with back & shoulder pain with breast reduction. This is a common complaint in patients of all ages. I would first schedule a consultation to have a surgeon examine your breasts and collect your medical history. In some cases, breast reduction can be covered through insurance.

Dr. Grasseschi

Mitchell F. Grasseschi, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Am I a candidate for breast reduction at 17?

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Thank you for the question.

Based on the description of your body type, the physical and psychological symptoms that you have experienced, the activities that you enjoy doing etc., I think you may be an ideal candidate for breast reduction surgery.

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 your frame causing both physical and (probably) psychosocial distress.

As you think about breast reduction surgery make sure you do your homework and understand the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure. Unsatisfactory scarring is one of the potential complications. 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).

Sometimes breast reduction surgery is covered through health insurance. 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.

Before undergoing the breast reduction procedure it will be very important to communicate your size goals with your surgeon. Most patients wish to achieve a enough of a reduction to help with their symptoms while remaining proportionate with the remainder of their torso.

With the goal of improving communication with my patients I find the use of photographs of “goal” pictures (and breasts that are too big or too small) very helpful. I have found that the use of words such as “natural” or “C cup” means different things to different people and therefore prove unhelpful. Also, as you know, cup size varies depending on who makes the bra; therefore, discussing desired cup size may also be inaccurate.

I hope this, and the attached link, helps.

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.