Hi, I'm Dr. Adam Oppenheimer and I'm a plastic surgeon in Melbourne, Florida. This question actually is several questions about a breast reduction and a breast lift in a young woman. I generally try to avoid doing any kind of breast reduction surgeries in women under 18. Anytime you're making incisions around the nipple and on the breast, you are at risk of injuring the nipple in terms of its ability to breastfeed and injuring the nipple in terms of sensation to the nipple. These two issues do have implications for younger patients and I do try to avoid or at least counsel women on the fact that they may be impaired by seeking a breast reduction.

The other question highlights some of the differences between a breast reduction and a breast lift. In reality, every breast reduction involves lifting of the breast and every breast lift involves at least somewhat a small reduction of the breast. The difference really is the difference between an insurance case and a cosmetic case. Insurance companies will cover a breast reduction if it's a large reduction, and they sometimes will have requirements in terms of the weight that you currently are and the estimated amount of breast tissue that the doctor can remove. So, if you wanted to go from a double D to a D, or even a D from a C, it's very unlikely that the insurance company would cover that as a breast reduction. It would then be a cosmetic procedure as a breast lift. Those are really the two main issues involved in this question.

Again, younger women, I tend not to try to want to put scars on the breast. If the breasts are exceedingly large, then there's something called juvenile hypertrophy of the breasts where there's a very considerable and abrupt development of the breasts during puberty, then I will consider breast reduction. But I try to make sure that women are as educated as possible about this and the risks of performing breast reduction surgery in younger women.

One of the other things to mention as well is that the breasts will change over time. If you do a breast reduction in a woman who is 18, if she does decide to have children and get pregnant, the breasts do become engorged and stretched out and the breasts can continue to develop over time regardless of whether or not you decide to have children. So the possibility is definitely there that you would need either another breast reduction or that you would want to have another breast lift.

Hopefully this helps. Make sure your plastic surgeon talks to you about all these issues, but I would encourage you to seek a plastic surgeon who is board-certified for consultation. Thanks so much for watching.

Teenage Breast Reduction: Things to Consider Before Going Under the Knife

Dr. Oppenheimer discusses key considerations for breast reduction surgery in young women who have yet to have children.