How Old Do You Need to Be to Have a Breast Reduction

Unfortunately, there is not a “textbook” answer to this question. There are many different factors that come into play when deciding with the patient and her parents whether a breast reduction procedure is warranted, including age, but this is not the only factor. The age of a patient most commonly comes into play when considering future breast growth.  The patient’s mental and emotional maturity are also important as they relate to how they will handle post-surgery scars as well as any potential complications should they arise.  If there isn’t enough of either, then I would recommend they wait a little longer before making the decision to have a breast reduction.

An understanding of the time frame of breast development in young girls is an important first step in determining the timing of surgery. Waiting until after breasts have stopped growing is preferable to performing a reduction procedure while they are still enlarging. Breast growth typically stops around 2 years after the onset of menstruation. Exceptions do exist in which the breasts are so large before they are fully developed that they are causing significant physical and psychosocial issues for a young woman. This does present a dilemma about what to do for everyone involved (patient, parents, and plastic surgeon).

Other important things to discuss during all breast reduction consultations with any woman of child-bearing age but particularly a younger woman is that her breasts will likely enlarge again when she becomes pregnant and may remain enlarged after pregnancy. Further, breast reduction surgery can result in the inability to breastfeed. The scars that are created after a breast reduction are also important to go over. I emphasize that they are permanent. They do fade over time but that does not mean that they fade away or completely disappear. The availability of information on the internet has created many problems for doctors in managing patients but for me it has been helpful in counseling young women considering breast reduction because they have usually already read about breast reduction but more importantly have seen pictures of the scars and even video of the procedure.

The youngest woman I have ever done a breast reduction on was 13 years old. I am not sure I would consider doing a breast reduction on anyone younger but that would depend on the individual circumstances surrounding the patient. As you can imagine, large breasts in an adolescent girl can be a significant problem, limiting her ability to participate in physical activity or the sports she loves as well as exposing her to potentially hurtful comments about her appearance from other, not so, sensitive adolescents. The ability to wear the styles of clothes other teens are wearing is also a consistent source of embarrassment and frustration. Trying to cope with all these issues during this delicate time of psychological development often leads to self-esteem issues and depression.

The 13-year-old girl who I referenced had 6 pounds of breast tissue removed from EACH breast. Her parents and I were couldn’t believe t her metamorphosis just two weeks after surgery, as she went from being a shy person with low self-esteem into an outgoing young woman without the physical limitations caused by large breasts that made it difficult for her to run or buy clothes off the rack. She felt so much better about herself. You could see it not only in how she carried herself, but you also saw it in her eyes. Her true bright, happy personality blossomed. It was truly life changing for everyone involved. 

I cannot explain to you how gratifying it is to be able to do that for someone and how reaffirming it is to me personally that I am doing the right thing for them.

If you or your daughter have questions about breast reduction procedures, please reach out to us, especially if you are in Allen, Plano, McKinney, or Frisco, TX, or the North Texas area.  We would be glad to help you as well.  Call or contact us HERE.