Breast reduction for teen | seeking a doctor who gets it

I am looking for recommendations for doctors in the Bay Area who are experienced with doing breast reductions for teens. We just had a horrible appointment with a pediatrician who made my daughter feel terrible about even considering breast reduction. I am certain there is a doctor who gets it. We are with Blue Shield but would be happy with the names of great doctors regardless of what insurance they take. Thank you!

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Hello. I totally understand what you dealing with. We had a great experience with a highly skilled plastic surgeon in SF who is VERY familiar with teens. We paid out of pocket. Didn't bother with Kaiser. It was totally worth it and changed it my daughter's life for the better! Dr. Karen Horton Happy to help if you have questions.

I'm sorry you and your daughter had such a dreadful experience.

I don't know if this is still the case, but when I was in my teens and early 20s a number of my friends looked into breast reduction. They were all told that if they had the surgery, they probably wouldn't be able to breastfeed if they chose to later. These physicians, while acknowledging the back pain and unwelcome attention these young women were experiencing, were loathe to perform this surgery on women this young because realistically they hadn't figured out the when and how they might choose to have children. These doctors were concerned about subsequent regret for having reduction surgery for this reason.

I encountered similar thinking when I tested positive for a BRCA mutation. Other women with BRCA mutations told me that, unless their families had histories of breast and/or ovarian cancer while in their 20s or early 30s, doctors counseled putting aside any surgical approach to risk reduction until they were somewhat older and had a clearer idea of whether they wanted to have children. Those women who did want kids sometimes felt they were racing the clock sooner than other women might, but I've never encountered someone who was resentful of not being given latitude to make this decision while still a teenager. (I should also say that I feel the calculus is quite different for people whose bodies are at odds with their gender identities, and I am not trying to address that here in any way.)

Regardless, I hope your daughter is able to find a doctor by whom your daughter feels heard, and is able to work with them for a decision that is right for her.


Teenagers get breast reduction surgeries all the time now. My daughter had hers the summer after senior year, and she was not the only student in her senior class to do so. The recovery is long, so best to do it during the summer. Dr. Karen Horton was also our surgeon, and according to her, teens actually have a longer recovery time than fully adult women, so plan for that. Dr. Horton is great. A strong and loving presence.

In regard to the breastfeeding issue, the surgery has come a long way since we were young. Breast surgeons today optimize the desired reduction in breast size with preserving the functionality of the nipple (I'm not a doctor so don't quote me). The surgery is truly life changing. Truly, truly I can't say this enough. My daughter is 20 now and she says that she would happily have forgone the ability to breastfeed (in an uncertain future) in exchange for the life she is living now. By the way, I'm sorry your pediatrician reacted this way. My daughter's pediatrician was incredibly supportive, some people are just behind with the times. Good luck and best wishes.

I had a breast reduction in 1990 at the age of 20 and it changed my life for the better.  I did not expect to be able to breast feed my first child at age 32 but with the help of lactation consultants at the hospital, I was able to breast feed all three of my children.  I know that is not the case for everyone but it was a great surprise for me.  I commend you as a parent for helping your child consider this surgery and for working to find surgeons who will support her.