Will Getting A Breast Reduction Relieve Back Pain?

I am a 52 year old women who is 4'10", weight of 135 lbs, with size 38DDD very fatty breasts. I recently found out that I have spinal stenosis. Do you think getting breast reduction would help with my back and leg pain? Do you think health insurance would pay for the surgery? Thanks

Doctor Answers 9

Breast Reduction & Back Pain

Although breast reduction seems to lead to more improvement in upper and mis-back pain, I do see significant improvement in lower back pain also.  I have actually had patients tell me that they feel improvement in their symptoms in the recovery room!

Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Breasts and back pains

Spinal stenosis will not be helped by a reduction.  However, other issues in your life could benefit from this.  If you wonder if a reduction will help, hold your breasts up with your hands and see how it makes you feel.  If you feel instant relief, there is a great chance a reduction will help.  But as for helping spinal stenosis, I am not aware of any effect breasts have on that problem.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

A breast reduction often times helps back pain.

One of the reasons to get a breast reduction is to improve the symptoms created by excessively heavy breasts. This includes shoulder and back pain as well as neck pain. Most women who seek breast reduction do so for functional rather than cosmetic reasons.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Breast Reduction Relieving Back Pain?

Based on your description of body type and breast size, you may be an excellent candidate for breast reduction surgery. Whether or not your symptoms related to a specific anatomic problems such as spinal stenosis will improve is doubtful.

Your “spine doctor” will likely be able to give you a better idea of whether breast reduction surgery will be helpful in your case.

 Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Breast Reduction can Help Alleviate Back Pain

  • It sounds like you have a fairly small frame and very large breasts.  Therefore, it is likely that insurance would cover the operation, but all insurance companies have their own criteria.
  • A breast reduction would likely help alleviate any upper back, neck, or shoulder pain that you may have.  Your spinal stenosis may be causing you to have leg pain, and it is unlikely that a breast reduction would help with that discomfort.
  • Meet with a board certified plastic surgeon to find out more!

Joshua Cooper, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Breast Reduction Relieving Back Pain

Spinal stenosis can be caused by various things such as, aging, herniated disks, arthritis, etc., occurring when something happens to reduce the amount of space available within the spine. Having a breast reduction may help alleviate the pain. You should be a good candidate for insurance coverage, but each policy has it own requirements. Your best bet is to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in breast reduction and have him/her submit pre-authorization request  for you. Good luck!

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Breast reduction, back pain, and insurance

One would think that having a breast reduction that relieved back pain would be covered by insurance but that is not predictable. I have had patients that I would bet insurance would cover (one had 1000 gms. removed from each breast) but didn't and others that had minimal reductions that insurance did cover. There a number of criteria that must be present such a pain, skin ulcers, shoulder grooving, etc but also conditions that exclude coverage such obesity.

One test to see how your pain would be affected by a reduction is to cradle your breasts in your arms without a bra when you have the pain and see if the pain is alleviate. You can also spend some time walking around cradling your breast to see if this reducing the onset of pain.

Robin T.W. Yuan, M.D.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Breast reduction and back pain

It is hard to know for sure if your back and neck pain will be totally relieved following a breast reduction but large breasts are a common cause of neck and back pain.  Your plastic surgeon should be able give you more information.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Breast reduction and neck and back pain

It is quite possible that a breast reduction may improve your back and neck pain. Howver, it does not always do so. As for coverage by insurance, it is best for you to contact your insurance company to see what their requirements are.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 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.