My Doctor Told Me I Would Be Unable to Find Anyone to Perform Surgery Until 18 Years of Age? (photo)

I am currently 16 years old and a size 34 H . I'm 5'6 and weighed 160 lbs with a size 34 F , my breast size made it painful to exercise and I now weigh 180 lbs. I have been large since my early teens and struggle with it daily. It causes back pain, lack of exercise, and extreme discomfort. My doctor had told me I wouldn't be able to find any surgeon willing to operate. What is your professional opinion?

Doctor Answers 17

My Doctor Told Me I Would Be Unable to Find Anyone to Perform Surgery Until 18 Years of Age?

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First take a parent with you for an IN PERSON examination with a boarded PSs in your city. You will find IF you meet certain criteria you CAN have a breast reduction. Your Primary doc is either uninformed or maybe you are in a capitated health plan so it costs the doc $'s to refer you. Do it on your own! 

Find a plastic surgeon, schedule a consultation--bring your parents!

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Not only do you have large breasts at an early age, but you are already suffering from significant symptoms.I generally prefer to wait until the breasts have stopped growing before proceeding with breast reduction, but in your case, early intervention may be appropriate because of your symptoms.
I recommend consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.Obviously your parents need to be involved in the process as well. Breast reduction has significant benefits and patients who undergo the procedure at an early age experience the benefits over a lifetime.
There are downsides as well. These include the potential inability to breast feed, prolonged healing, decreased nipple sensation, and scarring.In my experience patients who undergo breast reduction at an early age not only experience relief of their symptoms, but also an improved quality of life.

Breast reduction for minor

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Breast reduction can certainly help you, and you may require a parent or guardian to accompany you during your consultation, as you are a minor. However, it is possible for you to have the procedure if it is deemed suitable.   

Breast Reduction Candidate

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There is not an age limit for breast reduction surgery. It is best to wait at least 1 year from the time that your breast finishes growing. This will allow for optimal correction, and minimizes the possibility that you need a 2nd surgery soon afterwards. In addition to being a candidate, you will need to be able to have parental consent and provide informed consent (or have your parent's provide informed consent on your behalf). When you are ready, consult in person with 3 experienced and expert board certified plastic surgeons to understand your options.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Each plastic surgeon will have his/her own level of comfort

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Thank you for the question and photo.  Many of my colleagues, including myself, have performed breast reduction on women younger than 18 years old.  It is a case by case decision based on breast size, body size, maturity, parent-patient interaction, etc.  The reality is that not much will change with your body from now until 18 years old.  The most important thing is to know what you would like to accomplish and to be treated by a very well trained board certified plastic surgeon that can show you great before and after photos.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Breast reduction before age 18

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There are two main reasons to wait until age 18 for a breast reduction procedure. One is that you can sign your own consent form and the other is that it would be fairly certain that your breasts are fully grown and will not continue to grow (although weight, pregnancy, and hormonal effects can occur). 

If the condition is deemed serious enough and the surgeon, parent, and patient are in agreement to proceed before age 18, then this is reasonable, knowing that there may be a need for later surgery.

Insurance coverage is a different issue and with paying for the procedure comes the control of whether it will be covered and how much they will pay or other requirements. You may want to consider an experienced and board certified plastic surgeon who can perform a breast reduction safely and appropriately outside the hospital/insurance system and avoid the costs and controls of the hospital or insurance/government system. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon

Breast Reduction for Teen?

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I'm sorry to hear about the physical and psychosocial problems your disproportionately large breasts are causing you. 
It is probable that 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 your frame causing  both physical and psychological distress.
In my practice, timing of breast reduction surgery is determined on a case-by-case basis. It is not too early to do your homework and learn as much as possible  about  breast reduction surgery and the potential risks and complications associated with  the procedure.  Hopefully you have the support of your parents as you do your homework.
Unsatisfactory scarring is  one of the potential complications. Make sure you also understands 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).
Sometimes breast  reduction surgery is covered through health insurance. The best way to obtain insurance coverage for breast reduction surgery involves some “hoops” to jump through. The more documentation you have (for example, from your primary care doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor etc.) the better when it comes to obtaining insurance “authorization” for the procedure.
This documentation and letter/pictures from your plastic surgeon will help you obtain authorization.
 When the time is right,  seek consultation with additional well-trained/experienced board-certified plastic surgeons.

I hope this helps.

Breast Reduction Under Age 18

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That is not an accurate opinion. With parental consent and medical indications for a breast reduction, you can have the surgery. Visit a board-certified plastic surgeon with a parent and get an accurate opinion.

Breast reduction under age 18

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There are special circumstances that breast reduction is performed on under 18 girl. Typically, the young girl presents with massively large breasts that significantly hinder her daily activities like what you described. It is important to have a thorough consultation with your plastic surgeon. It's extremely helpful to have your parents at the consultation. Your physical, psychological and most importantly, emotional maturity will dictate whether or not your are a good candidate for early breast reduction surgery. Both your parents and you need to understand the nature of the breast reduction surgery and its consequences, both positives and negatives. Be positive and keep looking for the right plastic surgeon that you trust.

Best Wishes,

Stewart Wang, MD FACS, Wang Plastic Surgery

Stewart Wang, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Breast reduction in teenagers somtimes indicated

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The risk of doing a breast reduction on a teenager is that the breasts may continue to grow, but if the symptoms are severe enough then it is not necessary to wait until age 18. With your issues i would think that it might make sense, so i would definitely recommend seeking another opinion.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 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.