Am I eligible for breast reduction surgery? If so, how small can I go?

I'm eighteen years old, 185 lbs, 5'2", and according to my last romp with a tape measure I fit a 36M bra. I'm not quite sure how accurate that measure is, but last year I was professionally measured as a 38H (I don't know how much weight either of those measurements hold, but I know the 38H doesn't fit). I don't think I'm in severe pain though my neck and back crack something awful when I stretch. Am I eligible for breast reduction surgery? My mother says I'm not because of my weight.

Doctor Answers 7

Breast Lift /Breast Reduction/ Breast Augmentation/ Breast Implants/ Anatomic Gummy Bear Implants/ Silicone Implants

Thank you for the question. Based on your description, you may be a good candidate for breast reduction surgery at some point; best to achieve your long-term stable weight prior to proceeding. “Official” recommendations of course would necessitate in-person consultation. 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 (in other words, the breasts are "automatically" lifted when a breast reduction is performed). 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.   Best not to communicate your goals in terms of achieving a specific cup size; this type of communication can be a source of miscommunication. In my practice, I prefer the use of goal pictures during this communication phase; many patients wish to remove enough breast tissue to improve/alleviate symptoms while maintaining upper/lower body proportionality.
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.

Take care, Dr Schwartz  Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Director-Beverly Hills Breast and Body Institute #RealSelf100Surgeon

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Am I Eligible for Breast Reduction Surgery?

From your description, it does sound like you would be a good candidate for #breast reduction surgery. However, #weight loss does assist in a breast reduction because a stable weight allows for a more stable result. For example, if you get a breast reduction and then lose a lot of weight, you may find that your breasts are less perky or full from the weight loss. It is best to lose the majority of weight prior to reduction if you can. In addition, optimizing your weight before general anesthesia helps minimize postoperative #complications. The best place to start with with a consultation with a Board Certified plastic surgeon. They will be able to determine your needs based on your anticipated outcome. Thank you for your question and good luck!

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Am I eligible for breast reduction surgery? If so, how small can I go?

Thank you for the question.I am sorry to hear about the problems your disproportionately large breasts cause. At some point you will likely be an excellent candidate for breast reduction surgery; it will be in your best interest to reach a long-term stable weight prior to proceeding with the surgery. This recommendation is based on safety of the procedure as well as predictability/long-term outcome of the surgery. 
Before undergoing the breast reduction procedure it will be very important to communicate your size goals with your surgeon. Most patients wish to achieve enough of a reduction to help with their symptoms while remaining proportionate with the remainder of their torso.
With the goal of improving communication with my patients I find the use of photographs of “goal” pictures (and breasts that are too big or too small) very helpful. I have found that the use of words such as “proportionate” or “B or C cup” means different things to different people and therefore prove unhelpful. Also, as you know, cup size varies depending on who makes the bra; therefore, discussing desired cup size may also be inaccurate.
Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Breast reduction?

Thanks for your question.  I would encourage you for multiple reasons to get your weight down by at least 20 lbs using diet and exercise before undergoing surgery.  If this proves impossible then pending medical clearance you might be a candidate for a breast reduction.  Risks and complications are higher at an elevated BMI and please also realize that complications will be reduced if you're  thinner.  The other consideration is the fact that your breasts may not have completed their development so I'd suggest discussing this carefully with both your family and your ABPS Bd Certified plastic surgeon.  Best wishes.

Jon A. Perlman, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

How small

You are a great candidate for breast reduction surgery.  Without seeing you in person, I would say you could get down to a "C" cup, however, this depends on many factors.  I recommend an in-office examination as well as a detailed discussion with a surgeon who you are comfortable with and who is a board-certified Plastic Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Best wishes! Dr. Desai
Harvard Educated, Beverly Hills & Miami Beach Trained, Double-Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Urmen Desai, MD, MPH, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 233 reviews

Breast reduction

Each insurance company is different in terms of their criteria for approval. Best to see a plastic surgeon and get an evaluation. Best of luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Weight and breast reduction

Personally, I think you may be a candidate. Many overweight patients feel 'stuck' because they are not as active as they want to be and can't lose weight. Seek the opinion of an experienced boarded surgeon. Best of luck.

Leland Deane, MD
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 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.