Girls as young as 11 are undergoing breast reduction surgery on the NHS, it has been claimed.
The Daily Mail reports that more than 100 young girls aged 16 and under have had the procedure in the past five years because of back pain. Records show the youngest girl was just 11 years old.
NHS data for 2007/08 reveals between one and five girls aged 11 had breast reduction surgery, as did between one and five girls aged 12. For the period 2010/11, the youngest patient was 13.
The operations come in at a cost of £5,000 a time to the tax payer, but The Department of Health said the operations are undertaken only for clinical reasons such as back pain or depression.
The surgery involves the removals of fat, glandular tissue and skin from the breasts, before they are re-shaped and the nipples re-positioned. Risks associated with breast reduction surgery include scarring, uneven breasts, loss of nipple sensation, and - although rarely - loss of blood supply to the nipple causing it to fall off. There could also be long-term issues relating to breast feeding.
Critics have has said that young girls who have not finished developing should not be undergoing the procedure.
Labour health spokesman Diane Abbott - who obtained the figures from the National Health Service - said it can be hard to assess in young girls whether it is 'actual fatness or their breasts' and said on that basis she was against breast reduction being offered to children.
Does this shock you, that girls who are still in the throes of puberty and developing would even be considered for this surgery? Or do you think it's necessary for children with poor body image who might be teased?