Would Breast Reduction Make a Big Difference in Ease of Exercise?

My teenage(16 years) daughter finds that her very large breasts interfere with her performance in athletics. She is fairly short and slender, and her disproportionate breasts make running and jumping difficult which negatively impacts her love of soccer. Would breast reduction help her regain her confidence and speed? Would the weight difference be noticable for her? Have you ever done reductions on teens or athletes, and, if so, how have their lives improved? Also, do thinner and younger women handle the surgery well? Thanks so much for any help you can offer!

Doctor Answers 12

Juvenile Breast Hypertrophy?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

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  consequences of this diagnosis. In other words, the breasts are too large for the frame causing  physical (and possibly  emotional 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 can make performing exercise easier

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Breast reduction surgery is a very popular and effective way to remove tissue that may cause symptoms such as pain or discomfort and to contour the shape and position of your breasts.
In our practice, many of our patients have told us that after their surgery they have literally felt as if a large weight has been taken off their shoulders and back. For this reason and because they have less tissue and weight, many patients have told us that it is easier for them to exercise and they also feel more motivated to do so. This is one reason why our breast reduction patients are some of our happiest patients.

Breast reduction in a teenager

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

If your daughter has very larger breasts and is of adult size and menstruating regularly, then perhaps she is a candidate for a breast reduciton. However, I will caution you that this will not likely make her run any faster or play better. There may be other reasons that she wants this done other than playing better at soccer.

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

Breast reduction for an athlete

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

If a young athlete is encumbered in her performance by large breasts, it is reasonable to consider a breast reduction.  Make sure you fully understand the scars and all the potential ramifications of a reduction and go to the best surgeon in your area regardless of insurance. 

Have breast reduction as soon as breasts stop growing.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


1)  Your daughter sounds like an ideal candidate for breast reduction, if her breasts have not grown for a year.

2)  Breast reduction will almost certainly improve her mobility and self confidence.

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

Breast Reductionon Teens

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Breast reduction patients, when properly screened and counseled have been among the most grateful of my patients. Even at age 16 your daughter should be able to comprehend all of the information that your surgeon (hopefully a board certified plastic surgeon!) would impart to both of you. You should not be afraid to ask questions of your surgeon - what is his/her experience in reduction in teens, what are the potential risks and complications, can you treat the complications if they arise, can you see photos of other women who have had reductions, maybe even talk with some prior patients, etc. The surgeon should spend a lot of time in the consultation not only describing the above but getting into your daughter's lifestyle, goals and expectations, the potential risks and complications, expected results, risks of anesthesia, limitations after surgery, types of scarring to expect, etc. Although some surgeons are uncomfortable discussing sexuality with women and teens, this should also be a part of the discussion if the patient is comfortable. It is important that the patient have a support system (mom) and perhaps her family physician. There is a lot to consider and do not rush into this. If necessary, the surgeon should invite you back for a "second" consultation. If you or your daughter are concerned, there is no reason not to get a second opinion. Also, ideally your daughter's breast growth has stabilized. the vast majority of patients with breast reductions have become more physically active, more self confident, and certainly can wear better fitting clothing and that increases self image as well.

Theodore Katz, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

Breast Reduction in Athletes

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is not at all uncommon for teens to undergo breast reduction.  I cannot tell you that a reduction will make your daughter a better soccer player, but I strongly suspect that she will be very happy with the results if she is of normal weight with very large disproportionate breasts.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

In the right patient reduction mamoplasty gives great results which make patients extremely happy.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The way you describe your daughters physical appearance, slender with disproportionate breast, she sounds like the ideal patient for reduction mamoplasty. If your daughter is unhappy with the size of her breast and they seem to limit her physical activity then i encourage you to take her to a board certified plastic surgeon who has a lot of experience with reduction mamoplasty. I feel certain that she will be delighted with the results. These are some of my happiest patients. They can exercise more and can bur cloths that fit them better and they decrease the social discomfort of people staring at their breast.. All three things are important. As alway thiner, younger and healthier patients do much better with surgery with markedly reduced chance of complications.

Carl W. "Rick" Lentz III, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Great procedure to improve activity level

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Breast reduction is a great procedure to help patients increase their physical activity. It is especially important in younger women before many of the negative effects of large breasts occur and take hold.

The surgery is safer and with less complications in women who are in shape, thinner and nonsmoking.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Breast reductions in teenagers

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Dear Julia,

I wish I had an easy answer for you but I don't. When dealing with teenagers you are dealing so much with psychosocial issues that you must be part plastic surgeon and part psychologist. Is the reason she wants to have the surgery done because of exercise or embarrassment when exercising.

If you daughter's breasts are still increasing in size then I would not recommend a standard type vertical or anchor breast reduction. In several of my patients I have done isolated breast liposuction to decrease the breast volume with virtually no visible incisions. Of course this depends on the shape of the breast, the type of tissue and the position of the nipple.

If your daughter's bra size or breasts have not changed in at least 6 months (but preferable a year) then one of the more classical type of breast reductions may be the answer. Thin patients and patients in good shape do great after surgery, don't worry about that.

If your daughter has not yet seen a plastic surgeon then definitely make a consultation for her to at least be evaluated. Ask her if she would like to see someone about this problem and see what she says. If she is not ready, she will let you know and if she is then go ahead and schedule the consultation. I will tell you that of all the surgeries plastic surgeons perform, breast reduction has one of the highest satisfaction rates among patients.

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.