What breast size after reduction?

I'm 5'1", 165 lbs & have had many back surgeries and possibly facing another due to upper back pain. Insurance has authorized a breast reduction. I'm a 38DD-40DD and 55 years old. I'm having a difficult time deciding whether to try yhe breast reduction in hopes of relieving some back pain & avoiding another back surgery and ttying find an appropriate breast size if I go with the reduction. Any suggestions appreciated!

Doctor Answers 7

Breast reduction and back pain

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Breast reductions very often lead to a  significant lessening of upper back pain,  neck pain, and shoulder pain if those things are due to having large breasts. 

It sounds like for you, large breasts are one factor in your back problems and pain.  It is impossible to say whether or not  having smaller breasts will prevent you from requiring another back surgery. However, you are likely to experience some improvement in your upper back, neck, and shoulder pain if your breasts are smaller and your posture is improved as a result. 

If insurance authorized your breast reduction, it means that they deem it "medically necessary". When going through insurance, their criteria tend to be particular, meaning that the surgeon will be required to take at least a certain amount of breast tissue. This means that you do not have that much say regarding your size, unless it is within the parameters of what the surgeon is required to remove.  In addition, unless you have a profound reduction in the size of your breasts, your back symptoms are not likely to be affected much.  This is why the insurance has authorized it for you, so that it will hopefully make a difference.  That being said, women who have breast reductions seldom end up having very "small breasts". You may end up being small compared to what you are used to, but compared to someone who does not need a breast reduction, you still end up with breasts  that are average or larger. 

I recommend that you discuss this with a board-certified plastic surgeon within your insurance plan.  

If you are more concerned with the size of your breasts and having a smaller breast reduction instead, then it is more cosmetic in nature and  could have less of an impact on your  upper back, neck, and shoulder pain.  For that, you can see any board-certified plastic surgeon and it will be elective surgery ( not covered by insurance). 

Recommend a consultation to find out what is right for you and to clarify what you really want  before going forward. 

Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Back Pain and Breast Reduction

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Women that experience complications related to excessive breast size, struggle with the same questions. Many problems can arise from changes in the normal body structure caused by the excess weight in the breasts.

As women get older and heavier, their shoulders naturally roll forward, which in turn can put compression in the thoracic outlet (the area where the ribs, shoulder blades, and nerves come through a narrow triangle). That rolling forward, combined with the changes in the back, compresses nerves. The larger your breasts are, the more you will pull forward, and the more compression occurs. Over time this can lead to some significant discomfort.

Breast reduction can accomplish several things in one procedure. The surgeon can reduce the size of the breasts, make them symmetrical (same size and shape) and complete a lift. By including a lift with the procedure, your surgeon can also assure correct nipple placement and appropriate areolar size. When you reduce the size of the breast tissue, you can eliminate some of the medical complications frequently experienced by women with large breasts including:pain reduction, better sleep, increased likelihood of finding clothing that fit and improved self image. Ultimately the size you choose to reduce your breast to, is up to you and your surgeon. However, if you are removing enough breast tissue to decrease your cup size several sizes, you should notice a significant difference. Thanks for the question and good luck!

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

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

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I appreciate your question.

It depends on your chest wall measurements and existing breast tissue as implant size does not accurately correlate to a bra size.  It also depends on the brand and style of bra you wear as size varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

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 breast surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon



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Breast Reduction

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If you have back, neck, or shoulder pain from heavy breasts, breast reduction is a miracle in alleviating those symptoms. But if you have back pain from other problems, such as back disease, breast reduction will be of no value. You need to see a consultant for an examination before an answer can be given.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews


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Thank you for the question and most women immediately notice a reduction in back pain even in the recovery room following a reduction mammoplasty.  I help patients to determine how much breast to remove by comparing their breast size to smaller implants of a volume they might like removed.  It gives them an idea of the weight to be removed and final volume.  So see some surgeons that use this technique

Dr Corbin

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

What breast size after reduction?

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Thank you for your question.

Congratulations on your decision to proceed with breast reduction surgery; this procedure is one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform.   

 My advice for patients seeking breast reduction surgery: careful selection of plastic surgeon and careful preoperative communication are 2 keys to success with any type of breast surgery.   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.  The use of computer imaging is also becoming more helpful when it comes to the communication process.

 For example, 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. Again,  the use of computer imaging is becoming more helpful.

The attache website link is dedicated to breast reduction surgery. The video link below may be helpful as you continue to do research. 

Best wishes for outcome that you will be very pleased with.

Breast reduction and back pain

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I am sorry for your back pain. One of the primary symptoms of large heavy breasts is neck and upper back pain. In my practice a high percentage of my patients complain of this pain which is relieved with breast reduction surgery. If you pain is primarily from spinal issues, breast reduction can still help alleviate some of the pain caused by the heavy breasts even though all the pain may not be relieved. Good luck.

Eric E. Wegener, MD
Jackson Plastic Surgeon

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.