Really bad neck and back pains - Should I Get a Breast Reduction?

I am 20 years old and my breasts are 38DD and getting bigger. I have really bad neck and back pains. When I try to workout they get in the way and causes my collarbone to hurt. I really don't know what to do. I went to see a doctor about my back and she just prescribed pain pills which didn't work.

Doctor Answers 10

Breast Reduction at 20

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Dear CoCo,
In general, breasts will stop 'growing' when all other hormone related phenomenon from puberty stop changing. Some women have early puberty and early finishing of these changes, and some women have later and a more prolonged course. However, any changes to hormone levels, such as in pregnancy, nursing, etc. can change breasts, OCP may change growth, certain tumors may affect growth, weight gain will affect size, etc. The breast is composed of the breast gland that grows related to hormone levels of estrogen and prolactin as well as other hormones, but some women's breast tissue have more 'hormone receptors' than other women's and thus are more sensitive to hormone levels. That is why the hormone creams etc do not work on someone who naturally have smaller breasts because they are less sensative to hormones. In addition, the breast is also composed of fat tissue which grows and shrinks with weight gain and loss. Not only that, but having a higher bodyfat % actually increases your estrogen production. There is an enzyme in fat called aromatase that converts pre-cursors into estrogen. So having more of this enzyme can cause your breasts to continue to grow even if your weight is stable. So there is no simple answer here. If you are uncomfortable with your size or are having back pain, neck pain, rashes under breasts etc. then you may consider breast reduction. If you continue to grow, this can be repeated down the road.
Best Wishes!
Pablo Prichard, MD

Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Breast Reduction Candidate?

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Thank you for the question.

Based on your description you may be an excellent candidate for breast reduction surgery;  It is one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform. You may want to visit with well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons to discuss the procedure,  as well as the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure.

Best wishes.

Symptoms from enlarged breasts

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You may want to see another physician for a second opinion. More supportive bras may provide short term relief. Also consider a physical therapy consult to perform exercises to improve your neck, back and collarbone pains. IF this does not produce relief, consider breast reduction.

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

Breast reduction to alleviate back and neck pain

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Breast reduction surgery has been shown to relieve back and neck pain which is due to large breasts. Your symptoms may be due to a different cause, however, and you should obtain a full physical consultation to determine if you would be an appropriate patient for the surgery. In addition, it is best to defer breast reduction until your breast size is stable, or you may need to undergo additional surgery afterwards.

Olivia Hutchinson, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

Breast reduction good if breasts have stopped growing.

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I am sure a breast reduction will help you, but wait until your breasts have stopped growing.  Otherwise, you may have to do it again.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Really bad neck and back pains - Should I Get a Breast Reductionc

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You MAY be a candidate but I need more medical info and a photo would have been helpful. See 3 boarded surgeons in your area to determine the cause of the pain in your back/neck. You may have a multiple caused issue. And maybe the breast reduction could help. 

Breast reduction for back & neck pain

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Large breasts can restrict your lifestyle and cause a variety of medical problems. Even drastic weight loss won't result in more than negligible shrinkage. Breast reduction surgery removes excess breast tissue and reshapes the contour of the breasts so that they are smaller and perkier. I commonly use a minimal incision technique (Le Jour), eliminating the need for large scars while providing a pleasing breast contour and shape that is proportionate to the patients body.

Your surgeon knows exactly how much tissue he or she is taking out, because it is weighed after removal. And breast reduction comes with an added bonus: the extracted breast tissue is always sent to the lab and examined by a pathologist for signs of cysts or cancer. Having smaller breasts can take years off your appearance!

Breast reduction is usually covered by insurance when the surgery is performed as part of a medically mandated procedure to treat neck, back, or shoulder pain or other problems related to the spine. Recently, managed care has adopted stricter standards for coverage, so these problems have to be thoroughly documented in writing by your primary care physician and plastic surgeon. They may also have to submit photographs. Even then, you may be required to seek a second opinion from a chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopedic surgeon.

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

Breast reduction and back pain

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The breast reduction may or may not improve your symptoms.  A back specialist is definitely the way to go first, and then see a plastic surgeon for evaluation as well. 

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

Breast Reduction reliably improves symptoms of back and neck pain...

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Hi there-

In patients with large breasts, breast reduction is a reliably safe way to reduce the symptoms you are describing, and so you would seem to be a good candidate (an exam would be necessary to responsibly say for sure)...

However, I am concerned that you say your breasts are still growing...

Most responsible and reputable plastic surgeons would not recommend you undergo a breast reduction before your breasts have ceased development, in order to minimize the risk of you feeling that you need another operation if they grow too much after the initial reduction procedure.

Once you are able to feel confident that your breasts are no longer growing (for 6 months to a year), visit a surgeon certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery for a consultation.

Breast reduction is among most plastic surgeons favorite procedures to do because patients are so uniformly happy afterwords- I hope you experience this high level of satisfaction too!

Back Pain & Breast Reduction

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Neck and back pain are common complaints of women who will benefit from a breasr reduction.  It sounds as if you would be a good candidate for surgery.  You should obtain a consultation with a BC plastic surgeon to get more information so you can weigh the benefits/risks.  Good luck!

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville 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.