Breast reduction surgery

What is breast reduction surgery?

Female breast reduction surgery is a procedure to remove excess breast fat, breast tissue and skin. This is done to achieve a breast size that is in proportion with the body and to help lessen the discomfort associated with overly large breasts.

The patient may be considered for this procedure, if:

  • The goal of medically necessary breast reduction surgery is to relieve symptoms of pain and disability related to excessive breast weight; and
  • Symptoms are not relieved by physiotherapy and a professionally fitted bra; and
  • The patient’s body mass index (BMI) is less than 27kg/m²; and
  • The patient’s cup size is F+; and
  • The patient is over the age of 21.

Breast cancer patients - restricted criteria

This is part of the original treatment plan of reconstruction surgery on the breast that has been affected. This means that the patient’s unaffected breast will receive the reduction procedure whilst the patient is having reconstructive surgery on the breast that had cancer.

The clinician in charge of the care of the patient’s specific condition, usually a hospital doctor, can assist the application, if there is exceptional clinical need for the treatment to be funded. The patient’s clinician must evidence clinical exceptionality and must be supported by the patient’s local NHS commissioning organisation.

Non-breast cancer patients - not normally funded treatment or procedure

Cosmetic surgery breast reduction is not routinely funded by the patient’s local NHS commissioning organisation. This is because breast reduction is considered to be a cosmetic procedure.

There is also published evidence showing that many patients seeking breast reduction surgery are not wearing a bra of the correct size and that a well fitted bra can sometimes reduce the symptoms that are troubling the patient. See separate leaflet for more information on Individual Funding Requests (IFRs).

Advice and further guidance:

Treatment policy for patients covered by NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG

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