At what age is it recommended to have a breast reduction?
Breast reduction is a procedure that entails the removal of a part of the glandular tissue to make the breasts smaller. The procedure is performed on patients under general anesthesia and can take up to three hours or more. There is a short hospitalization period and if no complications occur, the patient can return home for the recovery period that can be of about two weeks.
When coming to the pre-operative consultation for breast reduction surgery, many patients ask if this is the right age to undergo the procedure and whether there is a recommended age for breast reduction surgery. Just like many other plastic surgery procedures, it is rarely a question of age when it comes to reducing the size of the breasts. However, there are many other factors that need to be considered and will help you decide whether this is a good moment to undergo the procedure or not.
We have underage patients coming with their parents who are overly concerned whether they should wait some more or have the procedure done now. Their reluctance to go on with the procedure is often related to the risks associated with breast reduction surgery, such as the impossibility to breastfeed and a potential loss of breast or nipple sensitivity. However, what I often tell my patients to do whenever they are unsure is to make a list of pros and cons.
Among the advantages of undergoing breast reduction surgery at an early age is relief from pain on the back, neck and shoulders, pain that can become persistent and require medication on a regular basis. Also, when the procedure is performed early in life, we can prevent abnormal body posture that can develop in some patients who are confronted with breast hypertrophy in their teenage years. If the overdevelopment of the breasts is extreme, teenage girls suffering from this condition might end up with permanent spine deformations that might be impossible to correct later on in life.
Moreover, teenage girls with overly large breasts can be bullied or oversexualized even from a very early age. This can affect their emotional development with long-term repercussions on their psyche. If the breasts are excessively big and the patient is mature enough to understand and accept the risk and potential complications associated with the procedure, the recommendation is to have the breast reduction performed as soon as possible. However, if the breast hypertrophy is minor or moderate, we advise patients to wait until their family is complete and they don’t want to get pregnant again before scheduling breast reduction surgery. Weight fluctuations and an ulterior pregnancy can affect the results of a breast reduction.
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