Is Breast Reduction a Good Idea for Me?

I'm 17, 5'2, 108lbs and wear a 30E/DDD. My breasts have caused me extreme discomfort and very poor self esteem. I am also a very serious ballet student, and they make everything so much more difficult and sometimes painful. Would I be a good candidate for breast reduction? Also, would it be possible to aim for an A cup? I have pretty small ribcage and a very short torso and I know you can't really guarantee anything but I think an A would be most proportionate.

Doctor Answers 5

Breast reduction in a 17 year old

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Based on your bra size, height and weight, you would be a candidate for breast reduction.  However, many insurance companies will not approve surgery in patients under 18 and also require proof of conservative medical management.   There are limitations on how much the breasts can be reduced.  I would also caution that, although you may want an A cup now because of your dancing, this may not be the size you would opt for at a later date.  Similarly, your weight at age 17 is not necessarily a predictor of where it will be 10 years from now.

Breast reduction in a 17 year old

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You should get excellent relief of your symptoms with a breast reduction. You likely could be reduced to a B cup but not smaller. You would need to assume that you could not breast feed future children ( although it is fine to attempt to do so) and you need to understand that there will be long permanet scars of an unpredicable nature.

Please give this careful consideration and seek the advice of a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Ann F. Reilley, MD (retired)
Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon

Breast reduction in a 17 year old

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It sounds like you are likely a very good candidate for breast reduction surgery.  There are limits to how small you can and should go based on blood supply and aesthetics.  I would assume an A cup would be pushing it.  If you like the shape of your breasts you may be a candidate for liposuction of the breast which would have basically no scars.

York J. Yates MD, Utah.

York Jay Yates, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 185 reviews

Deciding to have breast reduction surgery

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From your description it does sound like you would benefit from breast reduction surgery. The way to tell for sure is to talk with your parents (they will probably have to sign any consents since you are under 18) and your doctor and set up an appointment with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area. He or she will be able to examine you and then discuss with you your goals, the risks and benefits of surgery and help you decide what is best for you. Most women who have breast reductions are very happy afterwards so good luck to you.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Breast Reduction Appropriate for Me?

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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 psychological 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.

Yes, breasts can be reduced to a very small cup size. The concern with the amount of tissue removed is related to blood flow to the remaining tissue;  if too much tissue is removed in one operation the blood flow to the remaining tissue (including nipple/areola)  may be compromised.   Part of the tissue that is left in place is called the “pedicle"; this segment of tissue is responsible for delivering the blood supply to the nipple/areola tissue. If the pedicle is made too small (in the effort to reduce the breasts as much as possible)  then patient will likely have problems with tissue survival.  Doing the procedure in more than one stage allows the tissues to  acclimate to the surgically decreased blood flow before  further tissue removal (and potentially further decreased blood flow)  occurs ( with the 2nd stage operation).

The other concern with overly aggressive breast reduction surgery is patient dissatisfaction  afterwards.  It is not unusual for patients who have lived with very large breasts to want to have as much as possible removed. Care must be taken to be judicious in this removal to avoid an outcome where the breasts  are too small in relation (proportionately) to the patient's other body parts.  Again, it is not uncommon, for patients'  breasts to become smaller ( after the breast reduction procedure) with time and/or weight loss-  breast augmentation may become necessary to achieve the patient size goals.

You should also consider  carefully the pros and cons of the procedure as well as the potential need for further surgery if the breasts “regrow” in size.

Make sure, when the time is right, you select a well-trained/experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.

I hope this 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.