Wait to Lose Weight Before Breast Reduction?

I use 42DDD bras. I want Breast reduction but I want something like a D. I have Medical. Will Medical cover it if I just want a D?

I'm overweight. Would it be best to wait to loose the weight before I get a reduction?

Doctor Answers 18

Weight loss before breast reduction

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Patients should always try to be at a stable weight before any surgery, especially if their weight might affect the final result.

Most doctors ask the patient to do what is reasonablly possible, not get down to some impossible weight.

My colleagues are absolutely correct that after breast reduction many patients become more active and lose even more weight.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Weight loss before breast reduction

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Although breasts are comprised partly of fat, even drastic weight loss won't result in significant shrinkage in that area (and even then, the breasts will still be saggy). Many doctors ignore a crucial dilemma: When your breasts are so large, exercise is a miserable, if not impossible, option. Being overweight doesn't exclude you from having breast reduction surgery. In fact, it will motivate you to lose weight by improving your body image and freeing you to exercise with minimal bouncing and flopping.

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

Lose weight prior to breast reduction

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It is better to lose the weight prior to undergoing breast reduction because your breasts may further decrease in size with ongoing weight loss. Therefore if you become a D and lose weight your D cup could become a C cup.

In regards to medical, I would contact one of your local physicians. In many instances state agencies will not accept predetermination of benefits letters. In this instance coverage may be determined by the amount removed.

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

Losing weight before breast reduction

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This procedure is commonly covered by insurance though insurance criteria are becoming more and more restrictive. Although we do not accept insurance, our staff will assist you in obtaining pre-authorization so that you can attempt to be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses
Large breasts (macromastia) or breast hypertrophy can occur in a variety of conditions (family trait, post pregnancy, excessive adolescent growth). In general when the excessive breast size causes functional problems, insurance will generally pay for the operation if more than 400 – 500 grams are removed from each breast dependent on your individual insurance company requirements. These problems may include neck pain, back or shoulder pain, hygiene difficulty, and breast pain. Other problems which are less likely to be covered by insurance include skin irritation, skeletal deformity, breathing problems, psychological/emotional problems, and interference with normal daily activities. Pre-authorization by the insurance company is required prior to surgery, and the process takes approximately one month. Each insurance policy has different guidelines and exclusions.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Surgical Results Best When Patients Are Close To Ideal Weight

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The results of breast reduction surgery are better when patients are near their ideal body weight.When patients are overweight they may have higher complication rates as well.
When patients are overweight they’re encouraged to lose weight prior to surgery, unfortunately the majority of patients are unsuccessful at dieting.Despite this, patients who are overweight still derive significant benefits from breast reduction.Many have increased exercise tolerance following reduction and are able to lose weight elsewhere.For these reasons, we don’t view excess weight as an absolute contraindication to breast reduction surgery.
Ocassionally patients lose weight after breast reduction.When this happens the breasts can lose additional volume and develop breast sag.When this situation arises, secondary surgery may be necessary.In some cases, either a breast lift or secondary breast reduction surgery maybe indicated.Even when secondary breast surgery is necessary because of continued weight loss, breast reduction patients report high satisfaction rates.
For these reasons, it’s extremely important to discuss these issues with your plastic surgeon prior to surgery.Your plastic surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses your anatomic findings and achieves your aesthetic goals.

Better to be at stable ideal weight

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It is always better to be at a stable ideal weight before pursuing surgery, preferably within a normal BMI. This improves surgical outcome as well as reduces the risks associated with surgery. You may find that losing weight also reduces the size of your breasts naturally.

Depending on your situation, insurance may be able to subsidize the cost of breast reduction. Some breast reduction coverage requirements where I practice in Ontario include your current cup size, the amount of breast tissue removed during surgery, unsuccessful experiences with alternative treatments and medications, as well as recommendations for breast reduction from other specialists, such as chiropractors and neurosurgeons.

Please see an experienced board certified plastic surgeon to find out whether you are a suitable candidate for breast reduction first. Best of luck. 

Insurance coverage

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Breast reduction may be covered by insurance if you meet certain critera, specified by your insurance coverage.  Often times, insurance company will need documentation of back pain, shoulder pain, photos, your height and weight, size of your breasts and proposed weight of breast tissue that would be removed.  If you do not meet the criteria set by your insurance coverage, you will need to undergo breast reduction by self-pay.  Your self-pay breast reduction cost will differ depending on your surgeon's fee, facility fee, and anesthesia fee.  There is a geographic difference as well.  It will vary from $8000-$10,000.  Please visit with board-certified plastic surgeons to discuss the overall cost as well as potential risks, alternatives, and benefits.  Good luck to you.

Weight loss and breastreduction

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Weight loss is always good to reduce surgical complications. Reductions can be done as early as 15 with parental consent, a proper medical clearance and breast growth that has stopped. Insurance coverage is a hit or miss depending on the carrier.  Usually having symptoms related to breast size is necessary for insurance coverage. Getting it covered though is very difficult. Insurance companies wont tell anyone how much tissue needs to be removed to qualify for coverage. Then if the surgeon is 1gram off they deny coverage after the fact. Insurance companies make money by denying coverage. For that reason most plastic surgeon will likely ask for payment up front.  Breast reductions are the most gratifying operations because years of neck, back and shoulder pain are gone within days.  The final size result depends on your starting size. If you start larger then you will likely end larger. It is not possible to choose a size with any real accuracy. The main reason is that the procedure removes breast tissue but leaves enough tissue to preserve the blood supply to the nipple and areola. Thus more tissue needs to be left behind to ensure nipple viability. The nipple and areola is constantly being accessed during the operation. See a board certified plastic surgeon for specifics on your treatment.


Weight Loss before Breast Reduction?

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Thank you for the question. Congratulations on your decision to proceed with breast reduction surgery. It is one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform.

The ideal situation is for you to lose  weight and be stable in regards to weight prior to surgery - that will give you the best chances of  long-term results  you will be happy with.  If you,  for example, have the surgery and then lose 20 more pounds, you may need to have another surgery because there may be additional loose skin to be removed  or you may be displeased with the ultimate breast size.

Although I understand insurance coverage issues that  exist,  I hope you do not compromise the quality of your breast reduction results.

I hope this helps.

Weight Loss Before Breast Reduction

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First, I would recommend losing the weight prior to having breast reduction surgery. Significant weight loss after surgery will affect your cosmetic result from the breast reduction.

Second, your surgeon would need to get an authorization to see if your insurance company would cover your surgery.

Hope that helps.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 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.