Breast reduction surgery, technically referred to as reduction mammaplasty, is usually performed on fully mature women whose breasts are overly large. Mature women may wish to have breast reduction surgery to alleviate back and neck pain, rashes or infections under their breasts. Teens with overly large breasts may have their own particular reasons for wanting to have breast reduction surgery.
There are risks involved with breast reduction surgery, whether the patient is an adult or a teenager. This type of cosmetic surgery procedure typically involves a general anesthesia to which some individuals may have an adverse reaction. Other risks include the possibility of infection, changes in nipple sensation and in rare cases the loss of the nipple altogether. Teens who have had breast reduction surgery may not be able to breastfeed later in life. There is usually some scarring involved and there is no guarantee the breasts will be the same size and shape after surgery. Breast reduction surgery is frequently considered cosmetic in nature and may not be covered by insurance.
Teenagers who have overly large breasts may suffer from physical, psychological and social problems. Overly large breasts can cause ongoing back pain, skeletal deformities, deep shoulder grooves from bra straps, breathing problems and skin rashes and infections beneath the breasts. Overly large breasts on teen girls can draw unwanted attention and even ridicule. Young women with excessively large breast may have difficulty finding clothes that fit properly and may not be able to participate in certain activities, including many sports.
Breast reduction surgery is a procedure that requires the consent of a parent for teens under 18. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons does not maintain a formal position on breast-reduction surgery for girls younger than 18, but it does note that the best results from this type of surgery are usually obtained after the breasts have fully developed, generally between ages 18 and 22.
Breast reduction surgery for teenagers is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The patient is placed under a general anesthesia during the procedure. The surgery typically involves an incision that allows access to the fatty tissue of the breast. Fatty tissue, some glandular material and excess skin is removed. The nipple is repositioned to give a more natural appearance and the incision is stitched back up. This type of surgery inevitably involves some scarring. Recovery usually involves swelling, discomfort and bruising, which can last for several weeks.
Breast reduction surgery is only appropriate for individuals who are mature enough to handle the challenges of physical and emotional discomforts involved. While teens who are younger than 18 years may benefit from breast reduction surgery, in most cases they will be better off waiting until their breasts have fully developed. The best results of teen cosmetic surgical procedures, including breast reduction, occur when the teen is the one who wants the procedure, the parents are supportive of the procedure and all parties involved have realistic expectations of the outcome, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.