Is getting a breast reduction the right thing for me?

I'm 5'9, 185 lbs and 20 years old. I think I am currently a size 36DD... but I could be wrong. In high school, I gained quite a bit of weight. So with the weight gain and pubertal hormones, my breasts grew. I have recently lost about 15 pounds, but my breasts haven't changed size. I have neck and upper back pain/tension that I thought was stress related... now I'm rethinking. Help!

Doctor Answers 8

Is getting a breast reduction the right thing for me?

The symptoms that you describe make a breast reduction sound like an appropriate solution AFTER you've stabilized your weight at a healthy and maintainable level.  If symptoms persist at that point you should seek an evaluation with an ABPS Bd Certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options.  Best wishes,

Jon A Perlman MD FACS 

Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery 

Extreme Makeover Surgeon ABC TV

Best of Los Angeles Award 2015, 2016 

Beverly Hills, Ca

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews


Thank you for the question and would get down to a stable weight for your height and the re-evaluate. If your breasts are still too large and causing back and neck pain then consider surgery

Dr Corbin

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Is breast reduction right for me?

Thank you for your questions.  It is impossible to absolutely determine without performing an exam, but if you are experiencing the symptoms that you mentioned and have large breasts, you would likely get a great result and relief from those symptoms after a breast reduction.    

I would encourage you to schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area who has experience with breast reduction and who has multiple before and after photos of breast reduction photos that you like.  Take your time, speak with several surgeons, review your treatment options carefully, and most importantly find a surgeon that you are comfortable with.  

Best wishes!

Dr. Brown

Daniel Brown, MD, FACS
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Breast reduction


Thanks for your question. Breast reduction is a great operation and can greatly relieve the symptoms you mentioned. Seeing a plastic surgeon in your area can help to determine if you're a good candidate, but it sounds like you are from what you are describing. Many times your insurance will cover this procedure. 

All the best,

Dr. Blagg

Austin, TX

Ross Blagg, MD
Austin Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Is getting a breast reduction the right thing for me?

Thank you for the question and pictures. Based on your description, you may be an excellent candidate for breast reduction surgery at some point. “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. When a breast reduction is performed, a breast “lift” occurs as part of the procedure. 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 ( as you are doing).  In doing so, there is an "improvement" in the safety of the procedure and the need for further surgery ( in the event of weight gain/loss after the breast reduction procedure) is minimized.  Breasts may change, unpredictably, after pregnancy.  Often, changes seen with pregnancy include a decrease in size and/or change in position.

Some of the risks/potential complications associated with breast reduction surgery include:  infection, bleeding, seroma, hematoma, wound healing problems, abnormal scarring ( hypertrophic or keloid),  loss of sensation, inability to breast-feed, breast asymmetry, necrosis of tissue or skin,  unsatisfactory cosmetic results, unpredictability of exact cup size postoperatively,  recurrence of the breast hypertrophy, and the potential for further surgery.  Other risks  related to surgery in general, include deep venous thrombosis (clots),  pulmonary embolism, pneumonia  and even death.

Fortunately, the majority of patients who undergo this procedure by well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons and board certified anesthesiologists do very well and complications tend  to be relatively minor and treatable. The severe complications are rare.

When the time is right,  seek consultation with well-trained/experienced board-certified plastic surgeons. Ask to see lots of examples of their work and communicate your goals clearly.  I suggest that you do not communicate your goals in terms of achieving a specific cup size. For example, a “C cup” may mean different things to different people and therefore may be a source of miscommunication. In my practice, I ask patients to communicate their goals with the help of goal photographs. I hope this, and the attached link, helps.  Best wishes as you work towards your goals.

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

Is getting a BR the right thing for you?

Far more important than the technique is the skill and experience of your plastic surgeon. Choose your surgeon rather than the technique and let them explain why one technique may be better than another. 
See the below link on some suggestions on finding the most qualified Plastic Surgeon for a BBL Always insist on a board certified plastic surgeon.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Breast Reduction Candidate?

Large, heavy breasts often cause symptoms including pain in the neck, upper back, and shoulders, and many women develop rashes beneath the breasts.  Published studies have shown women with these symptoms and large breasts may benefit from removal of as little as 150 grams of tissue per breast.  Most insurance companies, however, require at least 500 grams to be removed from each breast.  So how do you know if your breasts are large enough for that?  One way is to do a simple measurement.  This measurement, by the way, is not exact and does not absolutely mean a woman IS a candidate and definitely has 500 grams per breast to remove, but the measurement is an easy way to see if a woman is even "in the ballpark" in terms of amount of breast tissue.  Take a tape measure and measure from the notch between the inner ends of the collar bones (the sternal notch) down to each nipple.  If that distance is 28 cm or more, a woman MIGHT be a candidate for a breast reduction that MIGHT be covered by insurance.   Of course, the best way to learn about whether a woman is truly a candidate for breast reduction is to visit with a surgeon who does a lot of breast reduction surgery. 

Kelly R. Kunkel, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Need for beast reduction

Thanks for your question.  From your story,  it sounds like a breast reduction may be beneficial.  Generally I would advise you to be close to your ideal body weight and be stable with your weight.  This can improve your result and minimize your complications.  The vast majority of women who have breast reductions will get symptomatic relief and would do it again in a heartbeat.  Best to get a few consultations from board certified plastic surgeons in your area and look at their before and after photos.  Good Luck.

Matthew H. Steele, MD
Sioux City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 86 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.