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Q: I'm 17 yrs. old and one of my breast is a DD and the other is like a B or C. It's really embarrassing because I have to wear padding in my bra because I don't want people to know of my abnormality. My doctor doesn't know why my breast is like that and I was wondering if you would know of anyone who would know about my specific problem. I want to have surgery on it but the surgery cost so much money I wouldn't know how to afford it. I'm to embarrassed to date anyone.

A: Breast asymmetry is more common than anyone thinks because, of course, anyone who has this hides it and usually won't talk to any of her friends about it. Almost all women have a slight difference in the size of the two breasts, which is true, actually, of all parts of our bodies. If we look carefully our two hands, feet, ears, etc., are slightly different. But usually the difference is too slight to be noticed. When the difference is greater, it can be embarrassing, especially in view of the current cultural obsession with breast size.

Breasts grow at puberty when the ovaries begin to make much more estrogen. Each breast has its own growth potential which determines its final size. If one breast has less growth potential, giving hormones, specifically estrogen, will not help. It may even exaggerate the problem because the already larger breast will grow more than the smaller one.
If the difference in size is slight, then there is no reason to do anything. If it is very noticeable, then surgery is really the only way to correct the situation. This can be an implant in the smaller breast or, less often, reduction of the larger one.

Surgery should not be done until breast growth is complete, usually 3 or 4 years after periods have started. Although I don't usually recommend breast augmentation, this is one case in which it may have great benefit for a person's morale.

It is worth a try to see if insurance will pay for this because it is correction of an abnormality, not changing what was normal to begin with.

Hope this is helpful.


Geoffrey Redmond, MD

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