NHS Breast Reduction

In many cases breast reduction is not available on the NHS, because in a few cases it can be seen as something that is being undergone for purely aesthetic reasons rather than because of health issues that could possibly affect a patient's life. In order to receive breast reduction surgery on the NHS, patients will have to meet a set of unique criteria which will be determined by a number of medical professionals. This will often start with them being referred for further consultation by their local GP.

Will I Be Considered?

Breast reduction surgery is available on the NHS, but policies regarding eligibility will vary depending on your local clinical commissioning group (CCG). Generally you may be considered for a breast reduction if you meet certain criteria, namely if the size of your breasts is causing you physical issues, such as:

  • Back and neck pain.
  • An inability to exercise.
  • Poor posture.
  • Bra-strap grooves on your shoulders.
  • Skin irritation or excessive sweating, rashes and/or infections under the breasts.

In addition to the criteria listed above, your local CCG may have other criteria for accepting you for a procedure including your weight, smoking status and whether previous interventions (such as specially made bras) have failed to correct the problems.

NHS breast reduction to relieve back pain

For more information on whether you qualify to receive breast reduction surgery on the NHS then patients should consult their GP or take a look at the breast reduction section of the NHS website.

The Application Process

In order to be given a breast reduction on the NHS you will have to go through the application process, which is outlined step-by-step below:

  • 1. The first step in applying for a breast reduction procedure is to make an appointment with your GP, who will know whether you meet the local eligibility criteria for the procedure.
  • 2. If you meet the criteria specified by your local CCG, your GP will then formally refer you to a breast/cosmetic surgeon who will assess you physically and a psychiatrist/psychologist who will assess your emotional and psychological well-being.
  • 3. If you are deemed an appropriate breast reduction candidate (both physically and mentally), your surgeon will recommend you for the procedure to your local CCG, who have the final say in whether you will receive the surgery.
  • 4. Once accepted, you will then be scheduled for your breast reduction surgery and will be told in detail the risks and possible side-effects of your procedure, as well as what to expect after your surgery.

Primary Care Trusts

Because funding for surgery is made by a patient's local Primary Care Trust (PCT), they have the final say on who is eligible for an NHS breast reduction. This is because the PCT has a budget and they have to allocate funding to where the needs are greatest. The PCT will usually take each individual case at a meeting, where they make assessments and review each individual on a case by case basis based on the assessments taken by medical professionals.

The PCT's Decision Is Final

A patients' GP, psychologist and surgeon can only go as far as referring your case to the PCT, however the PCT must approve any NHS funded cosmetic procedure and will have take the final decision on whether a patient's case can be funded or not.

Read more: breast reduction cost, breast reduction FAQs

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