Breast Reduction Surgery for a 16 Year Old.

Updated on January 20, 2015
H.T. asks from Oostburg, WI
28 answers

About a year ago my daughter started talking a lot about having back pain. She was a fairly active girl and I assumed it was probably just from a long volleyball season and a cold winter. We treated it with hot baths and Advil. This was fine up until the end of February, The pain was a constant thing by then and it was starting to prevent her from sleeping. She got irritable because she could never fall asleep and if she did fall asleep and happened to roll over onto her side she would wake up with pain so terrible she would just lay in bed and cry.

We saw a doctor for this in March. After a full physical it was determined that the cause of this is that my child is fairly busty while being petite and it was causing a lot of strain on her back. He recommended Physical and Massage Therapy but he did warn us that in the long term she would probably have to have reduction surgery. My daughter refused and said that in her eyes that would never be an option. She was 15 so we were holding hope she could grow a bit more and that might help.

Here we are 9 months later and we spend about $500 a month between the therapies and pain killers for her back. While she is sleeping through the night and it isn't as bad as it was the doctors say stopping the delicate balance she has going on to manage the pain would allow it to get terrible again. I have just been cut to part time hours again and we really need to start cutting back to save money and this one thing is eating up 45% of our monthly budget. I am sure I sound heartless but at what point do I force her to get the surgery? Her father refuses to have an opinion because it's a woman's issue. My mother just blames me and says it has to be my fault for feeding my kids bad food. She isn't fat. She 120lbs and five feet tall. She is simply busty.

I need not only advice but to know what you would do in my shoes. I hate that my child's health has come down to a budget issue but that's the truth of the matter. Please help me.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Atlanta on

Get her properly fitted for a bra. Victoria's secret doesn't count. A specialty lingerie store, Nordstroms, Lord and Taylor, Dillards. I'd bet she's in the wrong size bra to start with. And then get a GOOD supportive bra. That will make a world of difference.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

"Fairly busty"? What does that mean?
I'd think she'd have to be extremy "busty" for this to be causing her pain.

5 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Atlanta on

What would I do in your shoes?

I would take my daughter to a professional bra fitter.
I would buy my daughter the best bras I could.
I would make sure that my daughter has a sports bra to wear at night in bed. This is what I buy. They aren't cheap, but the keep me from having my big boobs flop all over the place.

I am a 36DDD/F. I'm 5'9" tall and weigh just over 160 lbs...not "fat" but not "skinny". I have BIG breasts. What saves me from back pain? A GREAT bra. I don't think I'm EVER without a bra. Even sleeping, I wear a sports bra.

Not a Victoria's Secret bra. She needs to be professionally fitted for a bra. AND she needs a VERY GOOD mattress.

There is NO way on God's Green Earth I would force my child to have a surgery she does NOT want to have because I can't budget better.

Have you not called your insurance company and find out why these prescribed treatments are not being covered??

I would also be VERY concerned about the prescription drug use. Has she been seen by a chiropractor? Does she have scoliosis? Has an x-ray been taken of her back? Has she been thoroughly examined? I don't get the rush for prescription medication if they haven't truly diagnosed what is wrong with her. Find out what is wrong. Then TREAT THE PROBLEM! Don't throw drugs at it and blame having big breasts for the pain.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

ETA: I'm sorry - I forgot to add, I'm a DD cup...and like others have stated, a well-fit bra - makes all the difference in the world!

welcome to mamapedia!!

So you're telling me that you are going to force your child into having a surgery because you can't afford the therapies the doctor recommended???

Check with your insurance...since these are things the doctor is prescribing? It might be covered...

but NO - you do NOT force your daughter to have a surgery she does NOT want.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Professional bra fitting would be the first start. When you are busty you can't just walk into walmart and buy something cheap. You need a bra that supports well especially during activities. She'll also need special sports bras that offer the correct support. Trust me on this one. With good support most of the physical problems should correct themselves.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Personally, I would get a 2nd opinion before I would even consider the surgery. Has scoliosis been ruled out? Is it upper back pain or lower back pain? Poor posture can cause severe back pain. I've dealt with upper back pain for years, probably because of poor posture. Is she carrying a really heavy backpack or purse? Does she spend a lot of time working on a laptop or even desktop computer? If she is using a laptop and sitting it on her lap that can cause back pain. There could be a lot of other factors besides being busty. I'd try another doctor.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Lancaster on

Your poor daughter. I feel the pain. I'm anywhere between a G and H cup. I used to have the same back/neck/shoulder pain your daughter has. What really helped me was switching to the Enell Sports bra. I wear it every day and it changed my life. It holds you in tightly and the weight of your chest is balanced across your entire back, not just your shoulders. The bra isn't pretty, but under clothes, nobody can tell. It also makes you appear at least 2 cup sizes smaller. I can't say enough about how much better I feel in this bra.

Goodle Enell sports bra (it used to be called the Oprah bra). Best of luck.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Both of my daughters are busty. Well fitted bras that support her are essential for both.
I would not support breast reduction surgery for a teen girl. If she has a breast reduction now there is a good chance she will never be able to breastfeed when she has children.
I would get her to a different doctor. It sounds as though she needs to learn exercises to strengthen her back muscles. My youngest daughter, 27, is 5' 2" tall and wears a 36DD she is also short-waisted so in some clothes she looks like her boobs sit on her hips or somewhat overweight. Her height and weight are fine she just needs the right styles.
Though they are not cute bras the Playtex box bras do come in a wide variety of sizes. Get her into a store like Penney's for a bra fitting. When I did fittings for Penney's and a Mom brought her daughter in I would fit the Mom first so the daughter would be able to see I am not touching her in the wrong places. I did explain, yes, I'm looking at your boobs and studying your body but only to be sure you are fitted correctly. I would explain how the bra should fit and show the customer in the mirror why this one fits better than that one.
Remember as in shoes, bras in the same size do not always fit the same. If she is a bit hard to fit she should try on all bras before you buy them.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If your 16-year-old is on prescription pain killers beyond high doses of ibuprofen in combination with acetaminophen, I would be terribly concerned about fostering a pain-killer addiction. I would push for another solution based on that alone.

I agree with strengthening exercises (you can talk to a trainer at a good gym), better, more supportive bras, and cleaning up her diet to see if toning up helps her breast size go down.

If the problem happens primarily when she sleeps I would also consider a new bed. It could be her bed just doesn't work for her body.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

As several others have said, there are other things to try besides pain meds and surgery.
- proper exercises to strengthen muscles that will help her carry her weight
- proper fitting bras and wearing a bra during sleep
- a second opinion from a doctor whose first response isn't pain medication

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

are you suggesting to force her to have the surgery even though she doesn't want it? seriously?
i just.......
i don't even have words.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would get her off any pain meds asap... She could easily become addicted to the pain meds and then you have another problem in itself that could harm her for many years to come.

I agree with getting a good bra. Go to a good store (Neimans, Nordstrom) and get fitted. There are a lot of good supportive bras that are fashionable and not old granny style. I am a 34DDD and I wear a really cute underwire supportive with no padding, seams or lining from Wacoal. Dillards also has good bra fitters as well. Stay FAR away from Victoria's Secret.

I am also in complete agreement with a good bed. My hubby and I had been waking up unrested, achy, etc for a long time. Last July, we bough the IO8 Sleep Number Bed and our sleep has drastically changed for the better. No more aches in the morning and we are actually getting good sleep for the first time in years. You don't have to buy the highest end Sleep Number to get a good Sleep Number bed.

It sickens me to think that someone would actually attempt to force a child to have surgery when they do not want surgery just because of budget issues and managing money. What does your health insurance provide? Have you discussed alternative treatments with them?

You daughter should not be forced to have surgery she does not want to have. I am a believer that health and safety come before anything else priority wise and in no way would I make my child suffer because I didn't figure out a better money management plan.

That said, I still believe you should wean her from pain killers. They are so addictive and I have an acquaintance who lost his wife last year do to her addiction to pain killers and left behind a husband and 3 children.

Focus on getting her a GOOD bra and a GOOD bed.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Everyone is suggesting a good bra fitting as a first step before you look at surgery and in order to get her off of prescription pain killers (and that is a SMART suggestion and likely will help).

But the first thing I'm thinking is she needs a new mattress/box spring. A terrible mattress will make you wake up in pain regardless of your breast size. Have you never slept on a really crappy mattress?

Imagine doing that nightly. She may have all sorts of things out of alignment in her spine simply from sleeping on a poor mattress.

What is her mattress like? I bought my daughter a new one 2 years ago and it is FABULOUS to sleep on. Son needed one also, so last year, we went and got him one. Against my better judgment, I let him have the final say in which one he preferred (he was almost 15 at the time, so I felt like he was old enough to have a say). He chose the one (out of two choices that were the same price) that *I* felt like was a lessor quality mattress. It was a gut feeling more than anything, as logically, I couldn't determine any really difference other than the top of the mattress itself (foam vs. pillow top)... so it seemed reasonable to let him choose.

It's now a little over a year later, and his mattress is horrible. I can't even lie down on it for a few minutes with any level of comfort whatsoever.

I'd put her on a different mattress for a bit, and have her seen by a good chiropractor, before I even considered surgery.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Get her fitted for a bra by an expert. If her therapist doesn't know anyone, call your local cancer society as they typically have an expert to help mastectomy patients. They should be able to help her.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

What jumps out at me is pain meds. What is she on. I would work on getting her off the pain meds. Take her to a lingerie shop where she will be properly fitted. Tell her to sleep in a bra. Makes all the difference to me. I would definitely not proceed to surgery. Her meds are taking up 45% of your income???? What is she on? insurance?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If poor eating habits caused large breast, mine would be down to the floor.

Forcing a young girl to change her body can have long lasting affects. I'm assuming a physical therapist is involved. I know when I had a lot of back trouble from a slip on the ice at 16, I was in and out of physical therapist offices. I would tell the physical therapist your issues and how you won't be able to continue and see if there are exercises she can do at home. I have learned that therapists will keep you coming as long as you pay.

I'm assuming that the pain killers are not narcotics as I can't imagine a doctor keeping her on narcotics for this long. I'm assuming she is on more of an anti-inflammatory. If she is on a narcotic, find a new doctor to get her off, it is way to long to be on a narcotic, and a doctor should not keep her on one so long, especially at her age.

I agree she needs a good bra. I would suggest finding a company (not a V. Secret) that can actually measure her and get her in a good bra. Most women don't wear the right size which can cause issues.

My friend was in the same position. At 16 she would not have wanted a breast reduction, but 25 she was ready to get it done. She needs to mentally get there.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

My daughter who is 37 has had this problem. She buys expensive bras so that "the girls" don't get in her way. She also sleeps in the sports bra at night.

Your child is still a child that is growing and surgery right how is not an option and she does not want it. This is her body not yours. Get her fitted and a good style that she will like to wear. Then I would get a different mattress for her and good pillows. Have a good visit with the chiropractor and have her body readjusted if need be. Above all else do get her off the pain pills.

I understand where you are coming from but this is one of those curses that mother nature throws out at us women.

My next project in sewing is making the bras to fit my daughter. I had a charge account at Dillards just so that she could get good bras to fit her. Cheap bras come a part too quickly and you buy them over and over where a good bra taken care of properly will last.

Good luck to you and your daughter.

the other S.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You should never force her to have reduction surgery. She will live with her body long after her teen years. This is her choice. Did the doctor tell you when she would be able to have surgery. My daughter was buxom at that age and wanted surgery. Her doctor said only after she finished growing. Her body will continue to grow until she's out of her teens or perhaps later.

My daughter no longer wanted surgery once she was grown.

I suggest that you find a very supportive bra; perhaps from a mmedical source. Her physical therapist could give you suggestions.

I also do not understand why she has to have this much physical therapy near a year out. How do they help her. Can't she do some of it at home? I would look into other options since she is some better but still has pain.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'd get her fitted for a proper bra - go to a Lady Grace or a GOOD department store (Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, something along those lines) and get a bra fitting from a trained person. The bras will be more expensive but you can get by with 2 or 3 and just rinse them in the sink in a little Woolite or other milk detergent and then line dry them. They last longer that way anyway.

I'm concerned about all the pain meds - they aren't addressing the cause and it's no way to function long term. PT and Massage won't work if there is any misalignment - they might feel good at the time, but there doesn't seem to be any long-lasting resolution here. I'd consider a good chiropractor or osteopath (insurance should cover). I'd also get another opinion. I'm really not convinced that you have had good advice if 45% of your budget is going into these stop-gap measures and all they are doing is pushing surgery.

Surgery is an option for significant breast problems, but your daughter doesn't seem to have that. You say she's a little busty yet is screaming in pain unless she has a "delicate balance" of drugs. I think there is something else going on that has not been addressed.

I work with people with a lot of muscular issues, back pain, etc., and with a number of massage therapists and other health practitioners in other specialties. I can't think of any who would tell you to continue with a regimen that is not working, take drugs, and get surgery as a teenager, and certainly not without strengthening those muscles and reducing inflammation in your daughter's back. There are good supplements that will improve her situation for muscle repair/recovery as well as anti-inflammation in a healthier way than pain meds.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would not force a child to have a surgery. I would at least wait til she is 18, as my SD grew another cup size before she gradated HS. Then she knows better what she is working with and she will also be able to make her own healthcare decisions. She can also get a job to help supplement her therapies or you can look around for other providers who might have different suggestions or cheaper options for the same thing. Have you tried something like a Snoogle pillow for her (that they make for pregnant ladies)? I'm not saying that surgery should never be considered, but I wouldn't do it at 16. I would not involve your mom at all. Some people are just naturally very busty AND petite.

Remember, any surgery is not without complications. Anesthesia, possible infection, pain, scarring, possible problems with nursing if she wanted to later...these are all things SHE will have to go through. Not you. It should be her choice. If she chooses not to, then get her fitted for some good bras, look into non-surgical options, perhaps change insurance providers, etc. Surgery is not a quick fix.

I do think that if she's on a lot of painkillers, I would look for other options. Have you tried a chiropractor or acupuncture?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I had a breast reduction surgery when I was 23.

I was a 32H or 34GG, back then. I had terrible neck strain and back aches as well and bloody notches in my shoulders where the bra straps crossed.

Ditto ALL the advice about 1) a proper bra fitting and 2) a supportive mattress and 3) stop using pain killers and 4) she must wear a sports bra or similar to sleep in, to support those girls while she rolls over.

I would highly recommend your mother mind her own business. Stop asking for her input or providing any updates to your mom. Her healthy diet input is wrong and inappropriate and even mean spirited. I am shocked your mother is this involved in the first place, but it's clear there are some long standing boundary issues with her.

Honestly, my breast reduction surgery was between me and my surgeon and no one else. But I wanted to have the surgery, not my mom.

Have you taken your daughter to an actual surgeon yet so that the surgeon can discuss the pros/cons and procedures and she can ask any questions and they together can decide???

Honestly, a surgery like this is simply not up to you.

I do not regret my breast reduction surgery at all. One thing that helped me make up my mind was talking to a girlfriend who had the surgery and was very pleased with the results.

I had one big fear and that is I wanted to breastfeed my babies one day. So the surgeon was very careful not to cut any lactiferous ducts.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Asheville on

I am a busty petite size 4, and have been since 8th grade, so I understand all about back pain, esp upper back pain. I still get it to this day, but will not have surgery, even after much consideration. Painkillers for her back in this situation seems over the top. I don't even take them as an adult. I think first, I would seek a second opinion. There are other options out there besides painkillers. Secondly, I have had excellent results working with a personal trainer to strengthen my back as well as yoga to stretch those stiff, tense muscles. That is another option.
And, also, I notice my back is worse when my pillow is worn out. If she is a side sleeper or back sleeper, as many of us busty girls are, this could cause problems with her back. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

You should have her fat percent taken. She could tone up and lose the breast fat.

She is extremely short, so I would think even a small D could be too much for her height. I wear a couple of bras with underwire and 2 sports bras (a total of 4 devices to control the bounce) when I workout.

I am disgusted that a doctor would get pain killers as a solution instead of taking her fat percent and determining if she can lose fat. Yes, she can eat different and lose fat (I doubt the breast are pure muscle). I would avoid these hard core drugs if weight loss would do the trick. So much safer. Her doctor should be focusing on a non drug solution.

Here is the new BMI and it is meant for adults. Children can weigh less. It appears she is a good candidate for weight lose. Not saying she is obese, but losing weight is a good way to lose breast size and avoid surgery. It is a win/win.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Interesting question, because last week I talked to a 16 year old girl in a dance class who had just had breast reduction. It was absolutely adorable watching her dance, because she was super excited about her new body. She was a tiny thing, and had felt extremely hampered by her enormous breasts. I think she said that insurance paid for the reduction.

But if your daughter refuses to get breast reduction surgery, then I'm not sure what you can do. She can't take pain killers for the rest of her life. I've always been pretty cheap, out of necessity, and there's no way I would spend $500 a month on therapies. I guess I would let my daughter know that I had X to spend, and she would have to either work to get the rest of the money, or suffer the pain. But really, are there no other options? There has to be something out there that doesn't cost $500/month.

I certainly understand that you can't force someone to remove part of their breasts. However, your daughter is soon going to be an "adult" and will have to come up with the money to cover her pain expenses herself. Maybe at that point she will decide it's not worth keeping her huge breasts.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Since it can be successfully managed without surgery, then a BRS on a minor child is not something most reputable surgeons will do as a first-choice solution. She should be at least 18, although they often suggest waiting until full growth which is typically 21-22 years old.

If $500/mo is 45% of your monthly budget, then you're saying your combined monthly household net income is only about $1100 a month? I don't know how were you were managing to live on that even before the therapy and medication.

If this is accurate, I suspect that trying to solve this problem is not as "simple" as taking a second part time job, which is what I would do in your shoes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Well i don't think I'd force my daughter to have a surgery that wasn't critical. I'm 5-2 and was a very full C at 110 lbs and was considered busty so please be more specific is she's an F then ya I would probably push for this but maybe as she approaches 18. I never recall having back pain as only a c. Have you taken her to a hood Chiropractor?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on


Tell your mom that if overeating caused big boobs everyone with flat chests would be living at the all you can eat buffets!!!

I truly don't think that forcing a child to have surgery is an option.

You do know that if she has breast reduction surgery it's likely she will NEVER be able to breast feed right?

A friend of mine waited until she was 19 to reduce her DD bust-line to a moderate C, she was 13 when she fully developed. She discussed in depth with the docs that she wanted to be able to nurse any future children she might have and they promised they'd do everything they could to keep that a possibility.

She had her first child last year and she tried and tried but her milk didn't come in. She was unable to nurse.

She went to another doc about the surgery and breast feeding to try and find out if there was anything she did wrong or if there was some damage that happened. That doc told her that the first docs lied. That if you have breast reduction surgery the ducts are damages so badly they never work.

So please, don't force this on her. If you can afford $10K + to reduce her boobs you can afford to buy her some Tylenol and Motrin and some really really good quality support bras. I found that a minimizer made my breasts much more comfortable. .

Also, use ice on the pain. It reduces inflammation and pain. Heat makes this sort of pain worse. If it's pulled muscles then the heat will help a little while but the ice will help over all more.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I wouldn't do it until she finishes growing.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions