Am I A Good Candidate For Breast Reduction?

Written by Chuma Chike-Obi, MD, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon on January 26, 2018 3 Comments

breast reduction good candidate

Women with overly large or heavy breasts are more prone to experience chronic health issues including back pain, breathing constriction and posture issues. Surveys also indicate that a significant percentage of women with large and heavy breasts often feel self-conscious to a point where their quality of life is negatively impacted.

Breast reduction surgery (or reduction mammoplasty) can effectively decrease both the size and weight of the breasts. Breast reduction is a surgical procedure that reduces breast size through the removal of excess fat, skin, and glandular tissue. The procedure can also enhance the overall shape (silhouette) of the patient’s body by returning the breasts to a more natural proportion.

Patients who are happy with their breast volume and wish to enhance the appearance of their breasts may consider a breast lift procedure instead of a reduction (see our recent post comparing breast lift vs. breast reduction).

Are you wondering if breast reduction surgery is right for you? This post addresses the symptoms or concerns as well as the traits of an ideal candidate for a breast reduction procedure.

Symptoms: Do you experience the following issues?

  • Daily shoulder, back or neck pain (even with limited physical activity)
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Breathing issues, specifically when lying down on your back
  • Issues with bra straps digging into your shoulders (creating deep groves and depressions)
  • The development of rashes or other irritations along the skin under the breasts
  • A tingling sensation around the breasts (caused by the downward pull of the breasts)
  • Posture issues (rounding of the upper back)
  • Limitations to physical activity
  • Difficulty finding properly fitting clothes or bras

Ideal Breast Reduction Candidates

You may an ideal candidate for breast reduction surgery if you:

  • Are generally healthy
  • Do not smoke cigarettes (see article on smoking and plastic surgery)
  • Feel that your breasts are too large for your body
  • Feel that your breasts are overly heavy
  • Are self-conscious about your breasts to the point where your daily life is affected
  • Have reasonable expectations about the results of the procedure
  • Limit yourself in participating in physical activities due to your breast size
  • Are not currently pregnant and do not plan on becoming so in the future (pregnancy and/or breastfeeding can significantly change the breast tissue and make the procedure more difficult)

Note regarding insurance coverage

Medical insurance may cover all or part of the costs of a breast reduction if the procedure is deemed medical necessary (i.e. it is performed to relieve documented medical issues). Be sure to check directly with your insurance provider to learn more about your coverage.


Chuma Chike-Obi, MD

Chuma Chike-Obi, MD completed a 6 year residency with the Division of Plastic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and Affiliate hospitals in Houston, Texas. Dr. Chike-Obi specializes in cosmetic surgery, including facelift, blepharoplasty, breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty, and reconstructive breast surgery.

3 Responses to “Am I A Good Candidate For Breast Reduction?”

  1. Avatar Camille says:

    Great Post! I want a breast reduction but I don’t really suffer any of those symptoms you listed (back pain, trouble breathing, etc.). Do you think medical insurance still might cover it?

  2. WD Staff WD Staff says:

    Hi Camille,

    Great question! Thanks for reading our post and submitting it. In general, your chances of medical insurance covering the procedure are greater if the company deems it “medically necessary”. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms we discussed in the post there is a greater chance the insurance will deem it necessary. Here is a good post on that:

    However that does not mean your specific insurance company/policy wont cover your surgery. Your best bet is to contact your insurer and discuss this with them directly.

    Hope that helps!

    –WD Staff

  3. Avatar Amy says:

    I’m glad you pointed out that you’re probably a good candidate for breast reduction if you notice frequent pain in your back, shoulders, or neck, even when you haven’t done any physical activity. I have frequent shoulder pain and think I could benefit from a breast reduction. I learned a lot of helpful info from this article, so thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply