A recent University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) paper shows teens that get breast reduction surgery receive the same health and psycho-social benefits as adults, potentially to an even greater degree.

Adolescents with very large breasts can experience severe neck, back and shoulder pain. They can develop skin infections, have trouble participating in sports and develop deep grooves in their shoulders from the weight on their bra straps. In some cases, the problems can be so severe that it can be difficult to breathe and may cause spinal curvature. Additionally, they can have social problems due to the condition.

“These are not insignificant problems for these young women to endure,” said John Girotto, MD, associate professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Neurosurgery and Pediatrics. “This publication shows that they benefit greatly from the surgery. Why should we make them wait 20 years to relieve their physical and emotional pain?”

The paper, published in the International Journal of Surgery, examined 76 patients younger than 18-years-old who had breast reduction surgery at URMC. The average age of the patients was just older than 16, the average cup size was DDD, and all operations were covered by insurance. Sixty-five percent of the patients were obese but none were given the procedure before weight loss was first attempted through nutrition guidance and exercise.

“One of the interesting findings in this study was that cup size was not directly related to BMI,” said Peter Koltz, M.D., a plastic surgery resident at URMC and first author of the paper.  “This indicates that breasts are not necessarily in proportion to the patient’s body size and shape.”  He also noted that it can be very difficult for this population to exercise before the surgery because they can be, essentially, disabled.


[Source: University of Rochester Medical Center]