Therapy Vs Breast Reduction for a Teen?

I am 14 and I have a 36D breast size and am 135 lbs. I have,in the past,had minor back problems and has gotten increasingly worse. I also get teased at school for being thin and having big breasts. I have done all that i could to make my breasts smaller. But my mom doesn't think breast reduction is a good idea and thinks i should go to therapy to learn to accept my breasts, but therapy can't cure back pain. I think that a breast reduction will help but is it a good idea?

Doctor Answers 11

Therapy vs breast reduction for a teen?

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Thank you for your question!  I hope that these answers help in making your decision.  You suffer 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.  Therapy may help alleviate some of your pains, hopefully, but usually doesn't help for long.  The underlying issue, of your breast size, will likely need to be addressed if your problems continue.

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 your symptoms,  you would be an ideal candidate.  You must first discuss with your 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 you.  Your surgeon will also go over what to expect as well as the risks and benefits of the procedure.  Overall, your symptoms should be ameliorated almost immediately and hopefully give you more self confidence and an increased activity level.  Your 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 you are having.  I hope that this helps!  Good luck with your decision!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Juvenile Breast Reduction

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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 the frame causing  both physical and psychological distress.
You may be a good candidate for the breast reduction procedure and 1 to 2 years. This will give you time to do your homework and understand the potential risk and consultations associated with breast reduction surgery. You should 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).
I would suggest an in-person consultation with a well-trained/experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Breast reduction at 14?

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I think that you are a bit young to get a breast reduction at 14. You probably are still growing so give it some time before you consider a reduction, and you would need parental consent.

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

Breast reduction at 14? Mom not on board

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I am not sure if your mother intended psychological therapy or physical therapy but the latter could help ease the discomfort on your back, shoulders and neck from the weight of the large breasts. I am sure your mother has your best intentions at heart. It may be wise to wait until your growth spurt has stabilized and your breasts have achieved their adult size. Doing surgery prior to this may result in the need for a secondary reduction if performed too early in life. Consider Physical therapy for now and re-visit the issue in 6 months.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Breast reduction in teens

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Emnoah, you fully realize why excessively large breasts are not always a blessing.  I have had teen breast reduction patients who were "ideal body weight" and above average motivation who were referred by their pediatricians for consultations.  Some elected surgery, others didn't.  Like the other consultants, I agree that there are some risks of any surgery, which include the need for general anesthesia, scars, infection, asymmetry, possible interference with lactation.  As a minor, your parents have to accept these on your behalf and that may be part of why your mother is reluctant to expose you to these risks.  Another trend that I have observed in young breast reduction patients is that early and ample breast development can recur, after breast reduction, when there is significant hormonal fluctuations, i.e. pregnancy, weight gain, menopause.  If you can accept that the surgery will improve your musculoskeletal load, dermatological (rash) problems and improve your proportions, but that you may have to repeat it, then discuss this with your mother and pediatrician and interview several PS, before you make a choice.

Lavinia K. Chong, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Breast Reduction for a Teen

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I, we, all feel for you, but I can not walk in your shoes. Remember you are only 14 so your parent has final say concerning surgery. Why do you not make a bargain with Mom? Try therapy for 6 months and if still very unhappy than she should let you preceded with a breast reduction. Try this at least. From MIAMI Dr. B

Virginal Breast Hypertrophy

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Dear Em,

From your question, you sound like a very intelligent and mature 14 year old who has given some serious thought to a condition that may be causing real symptoms.  I would recommend that you and your mom visit a plastic surgeon in your area for a discussion about breast reduction including risks and the chances of your breasts continuing to grow after surgery. Good luck!

Getting a Parent to UNDERSTAND theImportance of Breast Reduction in aTeen

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If you had a bulging hernia that compromised everything you did - wouldyour mother still insist you had to "psychologically come to terms" with it instead of getting it surgically repaired? If SHE had painful bleeding uterine fibroids would she purse psychological therapy instead of removing the fibroids? Your mother is just not educated on Breast Reduction and its importance. I would discuss just how physically and emotionally painful heavy breasts are with your school nurse and your family doctor. Ask them to speak with your mother and educate her on how a breast reduction can literallytransform your life for the better. Further resources may be found on the website of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Good Luck. Dr. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Take your Mom to see a Plastic Surgeon

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You and your Mom should go in together and speak with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.  He or she will be able to tell you in great detail about the appropriate timing and reasons for a breast reduction.

While physical therapy is usually beneficial for any type of muscular pain, if the pain is the result of overly heavy breasts, it won't cure things by itself.

Good luck!

Breast reduction in a 14 Year Old

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A reduction is a big decision, because it results in permanent changes to your breast, and has risks (although very low) such as scars, possible decreased feeling or inability to breast feed. 

Talking things over with your mother, doing research together, and seeing a doctor for a consultation to answer your questions will get you both infrmed, and might help make the decision easier.

John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 276 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.