Is it normal that patients are asked to lose weight before breast reduction?

Doctor Answers 8

Is it normal that patients are asked to lose weight before breast reduction?

Thank you for the question.  Generally speaking, it is always best to achieve long-term stable weight prior to proceeding with breast reduction or body contouring surgery. Doing so, will increase the safety of the operation, will likely improve the outcome of the operation, and will decrease chances that additional surgery will become necessary subsequently. In my practice, I do not ask specific patients to achieve a specific weight prior to proceeding with tummy tuck surgery. I simply ask patients to achieve a long-term stable weight where he/she feels comfortable and does not expect significant fluctuation postoperatively.  You may find the attached link, dedicated to patients who have experienced significant weight loss, helpful to you as you consider your options. Best wishes.

Lose weight

Asked by whom? From the plastic surgeons perspective , we want you to be at a healthy weight and even more importantly, a steady wait. If you are still having symptoms related to breast hypertrophy at that weight, we would consider you a candidate to have breast reduction surgery. If you are trying to use your health insurance to cover breast reduction surgery, they often require a certain amount of tissue to be removed based upon your weight. If the amount of breast tissue that the insurance is stating must be removed is not feasible based upon your breast size, then losing the weight first is in your best interest to get it covered by insurance.

Edward S. Gronka, MD
Fayetteville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Weight loss before breast reduction

There are two good reasons that I can think of for losing weight before breast reduction surgery.  The first is that insurance companies have certain criteria for covering breast reduction surgery.  They will require that you are within a certain weight based on your height and body frame before they will commit to covering this surgery.  The second reason is simply a healing issue.  When you are closer to your ideal body weight, you will have less risk of healing problems.  .

Edwin C. Pound, III, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Being Overweight and Breast Reduction

Obesity ( having a BMI of 30 and over) is associated with a higher complication rate including breast fat death. The reason you are asked to lose weight is not only to lower your risk but to lower the amount of breast tissue your insurer dictates that must be removed from you at the time of surgery. Some insurers use a Schnur Classification which uses your weight. While others flat out use arbitrary large weights that need to be taken off and verified by the pathologist examining your tosses. Either way, the less Wright you have, the less breast tissue removal may be required and the more breast tissue you will be left with. 
Dr. Peter A. Aldea
Memphis, TN

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Breast Implants/Breast Reduction/Anatomic Gummy Bear Implants/ Silicone Implants/Breast Implant Revision Surgery

I appreciate your question. For health and safety reasons, best to be at a BMI less than 30 or within 10 pounds of your goal weight and stable at that weight for 6 months prior to surgery for optimal results,The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam. Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery. Best of luck! Dr. Schwartz Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Director-Beverly Hills Breast and Body Institute #RealSelf100Surgeon #RealSelfCORESurgeon

Is it normal that patients are asked to lose weight before breast reduction?

Depending on a persons BMI, it is normal for surgeons to ask them to lose weight before any elective surgery. Elective surgery should not be performed for anyone with a BMI over 30. 

Lawrence Bundrick, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Losing weight helps

Weight is such an emotional issue for so many of us.  It can hurt when you are told you are overweight.  But from a purely medical perspective, patients who are significantly overweight are at much greater risk of many complication after a breast reduction.  There is an increased risk of blood clots in the legs and greater risk of major healing difficulties.  If your surgeon has advised you to lose weight first, it is to try to get you the best result with the fewest number of complications.  I would take that as a sign that the surgeon is looking after your best interests.Good luck to you in your endeavor.

James D. Frost, MD
Pensacola Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Is it normal that patients are asked to lose weight before breast reduction?

Thank you for your question.  If a patient's weight is high with a body mass index (BMI) above 30, they are commonly asked to lose weight.  This would improve the aesthetic result of the surgery and reduce the risk for complications as well.  Be sure to consult with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon.  Good luck!

Zachary Farris, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 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.