Report: Some female adolescents benefit from breast reduction surgery

March 28, 2011

Report: Some female adolescents benefit from breast reduction surgery
Report: Some female adolescents benefit from breast reduction surgery

There has been much debate recently about whether or not teenagers should undergo plastic surgery. A recent paper released by the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) argues that teen girls may receive the same "health and psycho-social benefits" from breast reduction surgery as adult women.

Teen girls who have very large breasts may experience pain in their necks, backs and shoulders. They also may be at a greater risk of developing skin infections. Over-sized breasts can also prevent some girls from participating in sports, and in extreme cases, may contribute to difficulty breathing or a spinal curve.

John Girotto, an associate professor at URMC, believes that the increase in young girls who are in need of breast reduction surgery may be due, in part, to childhood obesity and earlier onset of puberty. The study is the first to examine the issue of large breasts and health risks in teen girls.

The researchers analyzed 76 girls under the age of 18 who had undergone breast reduction surgery at URMC. On average, the patients were just older than 16, and had a DDD cup size. More than half of the girls were obese, but all of those who were classified as such had attempted to lose weight through diet and nutrition prior to the surgery.

Researchers found that the girls' body mass index did not correlate directly with their cup size. In fact, it appears that one's breast size does not necessarily correspond with their weight, which supports the notion that some young women may have disproportionate breast size for their age and weight.

"Mothers who have already had the surgery often bring their daughters in [to a plastic surgery clinic.] They don't want their girls to have to wait as long as they had to," Girotto said. "Even when mothers learn it's very possible their child will have to have another 'touch-up' or revisional breast surgery later in life, they want to do it."

Another study author, Peter Koltz, urges plastic surgeons to realize that adolescents with very large breasts face the same issues as adults with a similar condition. He also reminded professionals to hold honest discussions with younger patients before the surgery, so that they have a full understanding of the procedure.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, breast reduction is the sixth most popular surgical procedure performed in the US in 2009.

The mission of the Aesthetic Society includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Aesthetic Society, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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