Teenager still growing, would a breast reduction be needed again later?

What is the average rate of growth after breast reduction surgery on teenagers? Does the amount of time they have been menstruating help estimate if they would need another reduction later on in their 20's? Current age is 14, menstrating since age 11 and has very large breasts.

Doctor Answers 9

Teen breast reduction surgery

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There is no average; everyone is different, although I find that this does vary depending upon the onset of menses. Let me say first that insurance companies now preclude adolescents from having breast reduction surgery prior to age 18 specifically because they have concerns about the prospective need for re-operation. Generally, my inclination is to reduce young women smaller than women in their 30s or 40s because experience indicates that their weight at 18-20 will be lower than that later on. Undertaking a small reduction in the adolescent population sets the patient up for the potential need for reoperation later to alleviate back and shoulder pain and, again, insurers are reluctant to pay for such operations because the patient will not meet the minimum gram weight requirement they have established. It's also important that your daughter have the maturity level to participate in her own care and be emotionally prepared for surgery.

Growth rate of breasts

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It is possible for the breasts to regrow after a breast reduction, since your breasts continue to change throughout your life. The rate at which they grow is unique depending on the individual, so it would be difficult to say what it would be for your daughter. She may need to have another surgery performed to reduce her size again later on, but there is no guarantee.

Breast reduction in teenagers

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This is my guideline:  If the patients breasts have not changed size for one year and she is height weight proportionate and she is mature enough to make the decision about breast reduction, she is a candidate for the surgery.  I am reluctant to do a reduction on a young lady who is obese.  Should she lose the excess weight via weight loss surgery or lifestyle changes, she may very well end up too small. 

The youngest patient I have done a reduction on was14.  She was huge and totally miserable and was no longer growing.   She has done well and it has been about 10 years now. 

A word of caution:  Breast reduction in these young ladies benefits them greatly but it is a very, very emotional process for them.  Expect a lot of tears post-operatively.  Also, child bearing may very well change the breasts both in size and shape.  And a lady who has had a reduction will not likely be able to breast feed a baby.

Take a look at my blog about this topic.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, M.D.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Teen Breast Reduction

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I have performed this procedure on many young teens with excellent results and patient satisfaction.  Young women can have the same problems with discomfort, strain, shoulder grooving, and rashes as older women. But it has been especially helpful for those suffering from psychosocial issues related to very large breasts.  Although it is possible to have sensory and breast feeding issues, this rarely occurs.  My patients have retained their original results and have gone on to have very inconspicuous scars and breast feed successfully.  It is important to screen carefully to assure the patient is a good candidate physically and emotionally for this procedure.  Their breast development should be stable for at least a year.  

Marialyn Sardo, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Adolescent breast reduction

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Children with premature breast enlargement can sometimes develop the same problems as adult patients with large breasts or "macromastia."  These problems can include back/neck pain, headaches, shoulder grooving from bra straps, fungal infections underneath the breasts, and social awkwardness.  It is important to take all of these issues into account when recommending breast reduction in an adolescent.  Breasts can continue to grow until 21 years of age or later.  Therefore, it is conceivable that a breast reduction for a 14-16 year old will possibly need a redo when the patient reaches her 20's or 30's.  The psychosocial problems of an adolescent with large breasts can be debilitating.  In my practice, I frequently see such patients and direct them to a child psychologist in my office for an evaluation.  This is especially important if the child is not a candidate for early breast reduction and continues to have problems coping with her condition.  Also, if a child is a candidate for surgery, then she will need to be comfortable with the associated scars, which can be extensive.  In an ideal situation, breast reduction should be performed when the patient has reached her 20's and is at her optimal body weight.  

Andre Panossian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

If my daughter is still growing, would be breast reduction be needed again later?

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Best to wait til she is 16 at least to allow as much growth as possible. Seek in person evaluation woith boarded PSS in your area. 

Breast reduction, teenager

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Many girls stop increasing in their breast size in their late teen years. I have done many breast reductions on girls of that age without having to redo a reduction later. That is usually by age 16-18 for the reduction. I do make sure that their breast size has been stable for at least 12 months before doing the procedure. Before undergoing surgery the young lady needs to understand that the scars are forever and she may lose the ability to breast feed and she may loose nipple sensitivity as a result of the operation.

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

Breast Reduction in teenagers

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Breast growth is quite variable among different individuals and is probably not the most important factor determining when your daughter should have surgery. The decision for surgery should depend on such factors as how much of a problem her large breasts are for her, what sort of symptoms they are causing such as back pain or headaches, whether they are interfering with her activities and perhaps most important how she feels about herself. A decision to have surgery always involves weighing the risks against the benefits and in your daughter's case, repeat surgery would be a risk if she is still growing. However, the benefits may outweigh that risk. A board certified plastic surgeon should be able to help you evaluate the risks and benefits for your daughter and I would recommend you find one that both you and your daughter are comfortable with and who will answer your questions. The one time I operated on a patient about your daughter's age, it was a life changing experience for her and she changed from a very shy, hesitant person into a very happy, vibrant and confident one. Good luck to you both.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Juvenile Breast Reduction

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Thank you for the question.

It is extremely helpful that your daughter has your support in dealing with what sounds like juvenile breast hypertrophy along with the physical and psychosocial consequences of this diagnosis. In other words, the breasts are too large for her frame probably causing  both physical and psychological distress.

Although it may be early (by a year or 2)  for the breast reduction surgery  she can use this time to do her homework and understand the potential risk and complications associated with breast reduction surgery. She should also understand that further surgery may be necessary in the future (for example if the breasts were to grow in size again).

On the other hand, breast reduction surgery is one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform and I think that for the right teenager (enough symptoms) it may be an excellent option (regardless of the age).
I would suggest an in-person consultation with a well-trained/experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

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.