Breast Reduction is a surgical procedure that reduces breast volume in women with large breasts. The medical diagnosis is called macromastia.

After puberty is done, breast size and volume is generally finished. As you gain or lose weight in life, your breast volume may also change as well. However, if you’re thin or have weight proportionate to height, and you have large breasts out of proportion to your body and frame, you may be a candidate for breast reduction.

You’re a candidate for breast reduction if you

– are not overweight

– have large breast volume out of proportion to your body frame

– documented neck, back, and shoulder pain

– failure of physical therapy to improve neck, back, and shoulder pain

– intertrigo, which is a fancy medical term for skin rash and irritation in the breast fold area

– have the need for about 400 grams of breast tissue to be removed from each breast, which will require a surgical consultation

– possibly other factors

Being overweight may make your breasts larger. Your breast volume consists of breast tissue and some fat. The more weight you gain, the more your breasts may contain fat as well as breast tissue. You should have weight proportionate to your height to be a candidate for breast reduction.

Having large breasts may be a subjective finding, but in general, your breasts will appear out of proportion to your body frame. If you are getting your procedure covered by your health insurance plan, your insurance company may want photos of your breasts, which will also document your overall body weight and frame. They may also request your height and weight.

A history of soft tissue neck, back, and shoulder pain may be required by your health insurance plan to get your surgery authorized. This usually cannot be a herniated disc, a vertebral or bone problem, but rather, a soft tissue or muscle problem.

If you’ve had documented neck, back, and shoulder pain, and you’ve had physical therapy, then you may be a candidate for breast reduction surgery. Some health insurance plans will require physical therapy as a treatment before they will approve surgery.

Intertrigo occurs when the bottom of the breast cover the breast fold, resulting in skin irritation and possibly infection. Previous treatment of this, or photographs documenting it, may be needed to prove to your insurance company that you have macromastia.

The amount of breast tissue that needs to be removed is highly variable and difficult to exactly predict before any surgery. However, many health insurance companies request that 400 grams of breast tissue or more be removed from each breast in order to have a breast reduction surgery. Some plans request 200 grams, and I’ve had one health insurance panel request 600 grams. (FYI, 1 pound = 454 grams)

Healthcare is always changing, and health care insurance plans are no exception. There may be other factors involved in breast reduction surgery that your particular health insurance company may request that are not listed here.

As you can tell, some of these factors are not medical at all, but rather, highly subjective and possibly required by your insurance company. A breast reduction surgery will give you less breast volume, and thus will give you neck, back, and shoulder pain relief. If you have shoulder grooving from your bra straps, which may be eliminated after your breast reduction.

Another advantage of your breast reduction is that you will have more aesthetically pleasing breasts, because your breasts will be lifted. In many patients with large breasts, the nipple position in relation to the rest of the breast is too low. A breast reduction will lift the position of your nipples in relation to your breasts, and overall, you will have a much more youthful, pleasing appearance after your surgery is completed.

Should you desire more information about my available services, or want to schedule an appointment, please contact my Patient Care Coordinator at, or call our office at 415-362-1846.

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