Breast Reduction, is It Worth It?

I'm a 29 year old female who has always had large breasts (DD and up). After having my second child I am now at a 38H. I'm 5'5" and 190lbs, which makes my BMI around 31, yet i only wear a size 12 in pants, so a good portion of my weight is muscular. Do you think breast reduction is for me? And do you think my insurance (BCBS) would cover to have it done? I would like to be a B cup to a C cup in size. Also, is it better to wait till I am done having children before having it done?

Doctor Answers 10

Breast Reduction can be very fulfilling

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi there-

Breast reduction can be incredibly life changing and is associated with a very high rate of patient satisfaction. 

I would definitely wait until your family is complete however.

Once ready to proceed, I would visit with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for a consultation. They will be able to advise you on whether or not your insurer will cover the procedure.

Breast reduction and coverage

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is always best to ask your insurance carrier what the criteria are for breast reduction approval.  Then I suggest you seek a consultation with a plastic surgeon.

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

Breast Reduction: Is It Worth It?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for the question.
Breast reduction surgery is one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform. By removing “excess” breast tissue, adipose tissue, and breast skin  this operation reduces and lifts the breasts to a higher position on the chest wall. By doing so, patients often find improvement in neck, back, and shoulder discomfort and find it easier to form their activities of daily living and exercise.
Timing of the operation will depend on the patient's life circumstances. In general, it is best to do this procedure ( like all other elective body contouring the stages,  when patients have reached their long-term stable weights.  In doing so, improve the safety of the procedure and minimizes the need for further surgery ( in the event of weight gain/loss after the breast reduction procedure).
If at all possible, it is best to wait until after completing pregnancies before undergoing breast reduction surgery. Again, doing so will minimize the chances that patients will require further surgery after pregnancy related breast changes. Patients who seek breast reduction after pregnancy should wait at least 3 to 6 months after they have stopped breast-feeding and when they have reached their long stable weight.  
On the other hand, if patients are not planning on having children for several years, then breast reduction surgery may be indicated;  these patients will enjoy the benefits of a breast reduction surgery on a daily basis. However, these patients should also be aware that further surgery may be necessary after completion of pregnancies.
There is no accurate way of predicting exactly how the breasts will change after pregnancy and there is not much that can be done to avoid these changes ( if they are going to occur).  Maintaining a stable weight  (under the guidance of your OB/GYN) will be helpful in minimizing breast changes that occur secondary to significant weight fluctuations.
Some typical changes seen after pregnancy include a decrease in size, “sagging" and/or the development of some asymmetry.  On the other hand, some women  experience very little change even after several pregnancies.
Ultimately, every patient must decide for herself ( after weighing the above considerations) the appropriate time to undergo breast reduction surgery.
I hope this helps.

Breast Reduction is Worth It

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Breast reduction patients are some of the happiest patients we have.  After years of walking around with heavy breast, leading the neck and back pain, patients instantly feel relief after surgery.  The recovery is minimal in most cases and you go home the same day as the surgery.  I would suggest that you visit a board certified plastic surgeon to go over your options.  As for insurance coverage, you would have to check your specific plan to see what they cover.  


Good luck.

Breast reduction is a great operation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Breast reduction surgery is a great operation and you should consider having the procedure if you feel that your breast size is out of proportion to the rest of your body. BCBS has relatively straightforward requirements for coverage which can be found at the BCBSNC reference attached below.  Basically, you need to demonstrate that you have significant back and neck pain that is not responsive to non-surgical treatments. (Or problems with hygiene in the skin underneath the breasts). Ideally, having a BMI of 27 or lower will make it both easier to get the surgery covered by insurance and will make it easier for your surgeon to achieve the best aesthetic result. Waiting until after you are finished having children is probably the best option, but not always. I certainly would wait if you have immediate plans of getting pregnant though.

Wm. Todd Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Breast reduction is a great procedure

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Breast reduction has an almost unanimous satisfaction rate. BC may cover you, notwithstanding the BMI, if you cross their threshold frommacromastia to gigantomastia. In general, it's advisable to delay breast lift or tummy tuck or lipo until you are finished with childbearing. However, I must note that insurance companies are making it more anymore difficult to get breast reductions approved. If you can be preauthorized now, it may be advisable to proceed. Additional pregnancies may increase your bra size and symptoms even more. Best of luck!

Considering Breast Reduction Surgery.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Consult a board-certified plastic surgeon in person to determine for sure if you are a good candidate, but your description makes it sound like you would benefit from breast reduction surgery.  Breast reductions have one of the highest satisfaction rates out of all the procedures I perform.  In addition, we specialize in the short-scar breast reduction technique, which reduces scarring from the procedure and usually reduces recovery time, which could be very helpful for a mother of two!

You'll have to check with your specific insurance plan, but we accept many insurance plans for breast reductions and have good results with getting them covered by the patients insurance company.  As for waiting until you're done having children, it depends on how long you want to live with breasts that might be making you uncomfortable.  If you could already breastfeed your children, you will likely still be able to breastfeed after you have a breast reduction.  I hope this helps and please don't hesitate to reach out with any other questions.

Norman M. Rowe, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Breast Reduction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

By your height and weight, you should easily have the physical criteria for a breast reduction to be medically necessary.  With BCBS, and most insurance carriers, they require more than an amount to approve the surgery.  Back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as shoulder grooving all aid in the approval process, but this is usually not enough.  The insurance companies want to know how your large breasts encumber your daily life.  Discuss this with your board-certified plastic surgeon to understand what insurance companies believe is the medically necessary criteria.

Only you can determine if a breast reduction is worth it.  If your breasts truly encumber your daily life, then go for it.  Breast reduction patients are some of my happiest patients as they literally feel a weight has been lifted off of them.  They go back to wearing better fitting clothes, their self esteem improves, and they start to take better care of themselves. 

If you plan on breast feeding after a breast reduction, you will more than likely need to supplement the hungry little child with formula, as much of the breast milk in the breast tissue will not be able to reach the milk ducts. 

Is Breast Reduction Worth it?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Only you can determine if breast reduction "Is worth it". But based on my patients that have had breast reduction, I would say it may be the procedure with the highest satisfaction rate. You need to have a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to discuss in detail all the pros and cons specifically for you. You need to be aware of the risks, even though they are low, some of them are; possible loss of nipple sensation, you might lose the ability to breast feed and you may need additional surgery after you are finished having children. However, many young women, some even in their late teens, opt for breast reduction surgery and I haven't heard of any that regretted it. Being able to get rid of back, neck and shoulder pain and wearing clothes of their choice was a huge reward. It is very possible that your insurance will cover your surgery but it depends on your specific policy with BCBS as they have different plans. Your plastic surgeons office will be able to help you get pre authorization. Good luck!

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Timing of breast reduction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for the question.  Based  on the information you provided. I think you are a good candidate  for breast reduction surgery. The timing of surgery will depend on your symptoms. Having shoulder, neck or back pain!, self esteem usually improved after reduction.  As for insurance coverage, your procedure has to  be autherized by your insurance. You have  to make sure that breast reduction is a procedure covered  by your policy. Best wishes.

Moneer Jaibaji, MD
San Diego 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.