Breast Reduction Good Even if Overweight?

I am overweight but have had a "F" cup size forever. When I weighed 120 lbs my breasts were and "F" and now that I weigh 250 lbs, I am still an "F". I have back problems all the time and indentations on my shoulders from my bras. My back hurts when I do any kind of exercise. I have been losing weight but would like to be without the back pain. Would now be a good time for the breast reduction surgery? Should I do what I can to lose weight or do the procedure so I can exercise and lose weight?

Doctor Answers 11

Breast reduction can aid in future weight loss

I did a study years ago on the benefits of breast reduction of patients. In addition to ameliorating back and neck pain, skin problems, and so forth, we found that patients often lost weight after the reduction. When we asked them how this happened, they stated that the removal of the heavy breasts allowed them to get more active and weight loss followed.

Weight loss might be accompanied by loss of breast volume so this must be kept in mind.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Achieve a STABLE weight prior to breast reduction: how will weight loss effect results of reduction?


My general recommendation is to achieve a stable weight.

  1. IF you are overweight and plan on staying that way, then go ahead and proceed with the breast reduction.
  2. IF however, you are in the process of losing weight than wait until you achieve a stable weight.
  3. IF you proceed with weight loss after having a breast reduction, your breasts could experience ongoing sagging or become undesireably small.
  4. IF you experience unanticipated weight loss due to overall well being after a breast reduction, then you may need to undergo additional procedures such as breast lift or augmentation.

The first patient in this video underwent augmentation after a breast reduction....

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

I agree to some weight loss prior to Breast Reduction

As the other posters are recommending for some weight loss prior the breast reduction surgery in your case, I agree. But only to the extent that if you are hell bent on getting the surgery 'No Matter What', then I might consider doing it with you understanding the risk/benefit ratio for a great result is limited. The reason I would consider is I would want you to be operated upon by a board certified plastic surgeon vs other doctors who are just doing it to get a payday. The dictum 'Do no Harm' comes into play. If I know you are going to a less qualified non plastic surgeon and I cannot convince you to lose weight, or at least try. Then I rather do the surgery than let you be harmed.

Best of Luck!

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Yes to Breast Reduction even when overweight

It is often very difficult to exercise with large breasts. Although there are some increased surgical risks associated with being overweight, these risks may be outweighed by the health risks of being overweight. At 250 lbs, you should try to lose some if possible, but if not possible, my recommendation is to have the breast reduction, it will make exercising much more comfortable and subsequent weight loss easier. Also, you stated that you had F cup breasts even when thin, so it is not likely that your breasts will get smaller just by losing weight.

Elizabeth Slass Lee, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Breast Reduction and Weight Loss?

As you know, it is always best to be as close as possible to a long-term stable weight prior to any type of elective plastic surgical procedure.
However, there are cases ( such as yours)  where the surgical procedure will be a potential “jumpstart” for your continued weight loss after surgery.
You will find good arguments for each approach.
Best wishes with either approach you choose.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 reviews

Breast reduction and weight

It would be ideal for you to lose weight and get to something closer to an ideal before undergoing a breast reduction. The risks go down when your weight is closer to ideal.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Lose weight prior to breast reduction?

Good job on your weight loss so far. If you can lose some additional weight prior to breast reduction, your result will be better (and somewhat safer as well). If you are unable to lose further weight, then you could proceed with surgery. However, keep in mind that if you lose a significant amount of weight thereafter, then you might lose breast volume as well and feel that your breasts are smaller than you would prefer and more ptotic (sagging) than desired. If you were my patient, I would encourage you to be closer to 200 lbs.

Michael D. Yates, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Weight loss before breast reduction?

Although breasts are comprised partly of fat, even drastic weight loss won't result in significant shrinkage in that area (and even then, the breasts will still be saggy). Many doctors ignore a crucial dilemma: When your breasts are so large, exercise is a miserable, if not impossible, option. Being overweight doesn't exclude you from having breast reduction surgery. In fact, it will motivate you to lose weight by improving your body image and freeing you to exercise with minimal bouncing and flopping.

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

Lose weight before a breast reduction

When I was in charge of a university plastic surgery service, one of my resident surgeons in training reviewed all of the breast reductions I had done and we found that the complication rate rises once you cross above 200 lbs. In addition, the cosmetic results are not as good when you are heavy. Finally, if you do lose weight later, the breasts will become very loose and lax. So lose the weight first for the best outcome.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Weight loss and breast reduction

Although some patients tell me they can not lose weight because their large breasts prohibit them from exercise, I strongly encourage losing weight before the surgery. The risk of serious complications such as a pulmonary embolism go up as your weight goes up. Also, if you lose 50 or so pounds after the surgery, your breasts will likely have a deflated look to them, I would expect you would be unhappy with this result.

Sharon Theresa McLaughlin MD
Long Island City Plastic Surgeon

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.