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I'm 17 years old and wear a size 38C bra. I've always felt awkward having large...

Q:

I'm 17 years old and wear a size 38C bra. I've always felt awkward having large breasts. I do experience some back pain. In general I feel self-conscious about them and try to hide them as much as possible. I know I would lose quite a bit of weight if I felt better about them and myself. Am I too young for breast reduction surgery? Would I be able to go back to school without everyone knowing?

A:

Many young women undergo breast reduction surgery. Your age is less important than your history of breast development. If your breast size has remained stable for six months or more, you may be a good candidate for breast reduction surgery.

You indicate that you feel you are overweight. Ideally, it would be best to lose some weight before considering this surgery. However, it is not uncommon for women to complain that even with weight loss, their breasts do not reduce significantly. If this has been your experience, or you simply cannot lose weight, you can still undergo breast reduction surgery. Many woman find that the surgery actually gives them the incentive to lose weight.

Finally, you asked about going back to school without anyone knowing that you had this surgery. I think this would depend on the type of clothing you wear when you return to school. Comfortable, loose fitting tops would be less "revealing" and your schoolmates might be less inclined to notice the change in your breast size. Over time, you should feel less self-conscious and begin to enjoy your new breast contour.

The most important thing that you can do if you are considering breast reduction surgery is find a board certified plastic surgeon who is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Make sure that he or she is experienced in breast reduction surgery and ask lots of questions when you go for your consultation.

Robert W. Bernard, M.D., FACS
Carefree, AZ

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