Shoulder Width Reduction

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in shoulder width reduction. I wanted to consult you for a surgery which I still do not know anything about and, as much as I researched, I have not found much about it. I am a transgender girl and I have a big complex with respect to my wide shoulders. I have a female body but still my shoulders look broad (not muscular but really broad) and I think it is the part that is disproportionate to my body. I have been researching about surgery to reduce broad shoulders but can’t find any information on it. I heard that you performed a complicated rib reduction intervention on a model and wondered if you could intervene on my bones. But this time on the collarbone to get it to look narrower. Is this surgery possible? Do you know if it is available in America or anywhere else? Here in Europe nothing is known yet. Thank you very much for your attention. 

A: What you are referring to in regards to shoulder width reduction is to shorten the clavicle, the bone that runs between the sternum and the shoulder. By removing a segment of this bone, the shoulders will move in a bit and create more of a rounded shoulder look. This requires an incision over the clavicle on each side and the use of a metal plate to hold the bone back together as it heals. It would also require a prolonged recovery as one might predict considering that it creates a controlled clavicle fracture on each side.

While such a surgery can theoretically be done (it is just a spin off of the treatment of clavicle fracture), I have never performed it nor have I ever heard of it being done anywhere in the world. It would take an extremely motivated patient to undergo his surgery on an aesthetic basis considering the scope of the procedure, the creation of small scars in a visible area and the recovery involved.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana