Can I get a breast reduction at 16?

Okay, currently I am 15, and my breasts are an uncomfortable DDD. I've gotten picked on a lot for it, as well as a lot of back problems. Would it be wise to get a breast reduction later on this year, or next year, as my birthday falls on August 6th? Also, would my insurance (TennCare) pay for it; if so, what would be the proper way to go about this?

Doctor Answers 8

Breast Reduction in teens

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Yes, you can get a breast reduction at your age. I always send it paperwork to get coverage which depends on several factors. The surgery is done as an outpatient and the recovery is about two weeks.

Can I get a breast reduction at 16?

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I'm sorry to hear about the physical and psychosocial problems your disproportionately large breasts are causing. 
It is probable that 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 yourr frame causing  both physical and psychological distress.

In my practice, timing of breast reduction surgery is determined on a case-by-case basis. It is not too early to do your homework and learn as much as possible  about  breast reduction surgery and the potential risks and complications associated with  the procedure.   

As you learn about breast reduction surgery, make sure you read about the potential risks/complications associated with the procedure. You may find the attached link helpful in this regard.  For example, unsatisfactory scarring is  one of the potential complications. Make sure you 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 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.
 When the time is right,  seek consultation with well-trained/experienced board-certified plastic surgeons.

I hope this, and the attached link, helps.

Breast reduction at 17

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You certainly can have a reduction now.  You just have to realize that the breasts may continue to enlarge, particularly with weight gain later and may require an additional procedure at a later time.  Alternatively, you can wait until your breasts stop enlarging then have your surgery.

Samer W. Cabbabe, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon

Breast reduction at 16

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Hi. If you are having lots of symptoms and can't exercise/swim etc the a breast reduction is still worthwhile. If your breasts are still growing it is better to wait, but if they have stopped then you can go ahead at this stage. You need to check with your individual insurance plan as to the requirements for the surgery - start by ringing them directly, but if you are having problems then your surgeon will be able to help. Some more information on the surgery is at the link below. Regards Dr Charles Cope

Breast reduction at 16

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I have treated several young patients that have unusually large breasts for their age. If you are out of proportion to your body habitus and are having back and neck pain, you certainly can get insurance coverage. You will need to find your insurance policy and see what the exact specifications and requirements are for you. Most insurance plans will want you to document long standing back and neck pain that affects your daily activities. This can be documented by your family physician, OBGYN, chiropractor, physical therapist, etc. You should try to relieve the back and neck pain with NSAIDS, hot and cold application, use of adequate support bras, and should have a reasonable BMI. If you need to lose weight, try to do so before the surgery. There are risks with the procedure, but the benefits far outweigh the risks for most patients. Talk with a board certified plastic surgeon to see if you are a good candidate.

Can I get a breast reduction at 16?

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Breast reduction can be a life changing experience. Most of my older patients all say the same thing....they wish they had done the surgery years ago. But you need to make sure your breasts have not changed at all in size for at least 12 months and be comfortable that the surgery might cause loss of the ability to breast feed and loss of nipple sensitivity. Then you are ready for surgery if your parents agree.

Breast Reduction for Teenager

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Yes,  Breast Reduction for a young woman with uncomfortably large breasts is an immediate solution.  You need  parental permission and want to be mature to have a surgical procedure.  There are some techniques that can lessen the scar, such as the "Vertical or lollipop technique".  These techniques are very good for young women.  I do not know if Insurance will provide benefits, it depends on your company and plan. Good luck and as you know, only a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Breast Reduction at a young age

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Breast excess can be caused by many things.  If breast size is clearly larger than a person's frame, especially if symptomatic, a breast reduction can be done for the ages you described.  The decision needs to be made carefully, however, and a series of very thorough discussions need to be had between the surgeon, the young patient and the young patient's guardians. There are lifelong and irreversible effects of a breast reduction and it can sometimes be hard for a young woman to put these in to the proper perspective. The answer of when is the right time to get a breast reduction for a young woman is very much dependant upon two factors specifically.

1.  How mature is the young woman
2.  Is the breast growth complete
Both of these will be factored into a consultation.
Dr. Pyle

Jeremy Pyle, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 121 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.