Breast Reduction for Teen Recommended? (photo)

I have a 15 yr old who, due to medications, weighs 191 and has breast size of 40 DD this weight gain has been over the past 2 yrs. She has a twin who is 110 lbs and small frame. This is causing her emotional and physical stress. Would it be recommended to look at reduction at this age? Also, would this be covered under insurance as health issue.

Doctor Answers 5

Breast reduction for teen recommended?

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Thank you for your question!  I hope that these answers help in making your decision.  Your daughter suffers 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 her symptoms, she would be an ideal candidate.  She must first discuss with her 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 her.  Your surgeon will also go over what to expect as well as the risks and benefits of the procedure.  Overall, her symptoms should be ameliorated almost immediately and hopefully give her more self confidence and an increased activity level.  Her 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 she is having.  It is highly possible that insurance would cover the procedure for the issues as stated above.  I hope that this helps!  Good luck with your decision!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Breast Reduction for Teens

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I am sorry for the tough time that your daughter is having. I am sure that you must be facing considerable stress from the situation as well. The breast reduction procedure should not be entered into lightly due to the scars involved, the discomfort of healing, and cost in both time and money. The patient must be emotionally able to handle the surgery, and many teens are not. If possible, breast reduction surgery should be delayed until your daughter is physically and emotionally mature.

Weight reduction would be the starting point which will hopefully rectify many of the physical issues. While your daughter begins efforts for weight reduction, you and she will be able to gather the necessary supporting documents in the event that the decision is to proceed with the surgical option.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Breast Reduction for Teen Recommended?

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Sorry for your and her issues. The photo does not show the breast size but it gives an indication of the excess weight. As other expert posted it is very very rare to have insurance approval for a breast reduction under the age of 18. To proceed on the course you will need to file letters from a boarded PS, the child's Psychiatrist, even from a family counselor. But to help a weight loss plan started and showing a loss is very important. Remember breast reduction surgery is not the answer to her medical and mental issues. 

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Breast Production for Teenager?

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I'm sorry to hear about the difficult time your daughter is having;  her situation must be even more challenging given that she has a twin  who is not faced with the same challenges...

Although your daughter may be a good candidate for breast reduction/lifting surgery at some point, it would be best for her to concentrate on achieving a long term stable weight prior to undergoing breast surgery. Obviously, achieving this long-term stable weight may be difficult given the medical issues/medications involved.

As  you both 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 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.

Best wishes to you and your daughter.

Adolescent breast reduction

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Unfortunately, the photo doesn't reveal much. Typically, insurance companies will not pay for breast reduction in adolescents below age 18 because they believe that they are not fully grown. Additionally, I note that your daughter is overweight and so the first step would be a weight reduction program. This should be discussed with the physician managing her medical problems. I am sorry that she is suffering emotionally, particularly in comparison to a thinner twin sister. Remember that if you proceed with surgery and pay for it out of pocket, it will not deal with the weight issue. Best of luck! Adolescence is so difficult, especially for the parents!

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.