Breast Reduction for a 14 Year Old Girl

My daughter is 14yrs, she wears a DDD, she is 5'5", 150 lbs, she started her cycle when she was 10 yrs old. She has been asking for a breast reduction since she was about 12 and found out that it was possible. I told her we would discuss it when she was 16, but now she is really pressing to have procedure done. Her pediatrician said that she has pretty much finished growing,but I am reading that the breast can still grow into her 20s. What would you recommend?

Doctor Answers 15

Breast reduction at what age

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If your daughter has very large breasts it is not unreasonable for her to undergo a breast reduction. Unfortunately, as you mention, the breasts may continue to grow after a reduction and it is unpredictable in whom. But, there would be less breast tissue that could grow.

Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Breast reduction in a minor?

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Thank you for your question!  I hope that these answers help in making your decision.  You suffer from juvenile hypertrophy of the breasts, which is typically treated by breast reduction.  It is not uncommon to have the symptoms that you describe such as neck/back/shoulder pain as well as infections/rashes and shoulder grooving, especially in teenagers once her breasts begin to fully develop.  

Once one begins to have the symptoms that you state above, consideration for a surgical procedure to ameliorate your symptoms, assist with self esteem, and allow you to get back to physical activities in your youth should be done.  Given your symptoms,  you would be an ideal candidate.  You must first discuss with your parents and pediatrician, and then consulting with a plastic surgeon for evaluation and examination to assist you in deciding if this would be the right thing for you.  Your surgeon will also go over what to expect as well as the risks and benefits of the procedure - it is a safe procedure.  Overall, your symptoms should be ameliorated almost immediately and hopefully give you more self confidence and an increased activity level.  Your breasts may still continue to grow over the next several years, but it is certainly reasonable to consider this at this age with the issues that you are having.  I hope that this helps!  Good luck with your decision!

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

Breast Reduction for Teenager?

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Thank you for the question. I'm glad to hear that your daughter has your support;  this  this will be very helpful to her.

It sounds like she is 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   she thinks  about  breast reduction surgery make sure  she does her homework and understands the potential risks and complications associated with  the procedure.  Make sure she also understands 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 a procedure 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. Make sure you're  working with a well-trained/experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.

I hope this helps.

Breast reduction for a teenager?

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During puberty, the mammary glands in the breasts respond to hormonal changes by enlarging. While breasts may continue to grow into a woman’s early twenties, most women are fully developed by age 16. If a teenager is a DD cup, she’s certainly not going to get any smaller. If she is 14 and has very large breasts, breast reduction may be an appropriate procedure. Therefore, if the size of her breasts is debilitating or painful, I would suggest going ahead with a reduction. She may need a second reductive procedure down the line, but why put off something that could make such a positive difference in her life now? It's important to be sure expectations are realistic and you both have an understanding of the commitment needed for the healing process. Make sure that you understand the nature of the surgery, the recovery process, and that she feels comfortable and emotionally ready to make these changes to her body.

Michelle Copeland, MD, DMD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Breast Reduction and Teenagers

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There is no right or wrong answer.  In very difficult cases that involve teenagers or younger children there has to be considerable thought given to the risk versus benefit of the particular procedure.  If your daughter is having an extremely difficult time psychologically as well as physically then there should be strong consideration given to proceeding with the operation if you get a consensus from 2-3 board certified plastic surgeons.  

Best of Luck.

Dr. ES

Timing of Breast Reduction for a Teen

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Hi there-

There would not be an answer that would be correct for every family on your situation...

It sounds like you understand the variables to balance... Surgery sooner MAY help her psychologically and indeed physically, socially, and emotionally- BUT if her breasts do grow more she may need a second operation later on. And this operation would be more risky than the first.

It is also important to consider the fact that the average 14 year old probably does not understand the implications of surgically altering her body and the risks involved... creating the potential that because of imperfections after the surgery she is just as self-conscious as she was before- or more so.

On the other hand, no one could argue the stress of having very large breasts at such a young age.

As I say, I don't think there is an absolutely correct answer- but if she were my daughter, I would wait as long as I possibly could get her to wait before letting her proceed.

Breast Reduction in Young Teen

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You are right, breast growth can continue into the 20s. The psychologic improvement that reduction engenders, however, usually makes up for any risk of having to re-do the procedure. Additionally, we used to do this frequently at one of the country’s largest children’s hospitals and rarely reoperated on anyone.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon

Improved self-esteem with breast reduction at an early age

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There is a condition termed gigantomastia.  This is basically large disproportionate breasts.  The condition usually occurs in a teenager.   It is true that after a breast reduction the breasts could continue to grow.  The improvement in your daughters level of self-esteem would be the driving force to proceed with surgery.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

In unusual cases, breast reduction should be done in young girls.

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From your description, it sounds like your daughter would get tremendous psychological benefit with a breast reduction. This may prevent distortion of her body image.

Of course, her breasts may well continue to grow, and then she will need another procedure when she is 20. But in this case, that's probably a good trade off.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Breast reduction in teen years

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I would say 14 is  bit young to have a breast reduction. The breasts may still grow a bit, and you may want to wait a few more years.

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