Gynecomastia Surgery Helps Young BoysPosted on April 21, 2008
Enlarged breast negatively affect the self-esteem and other mental and emotional health issues in adolescent males according to recent online article based on a report in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. According to the article even mild forms of gynecomastia can have a negative psychological effect in boys according to Dr. Brian I LaBow and colleagues of Boston Children’s Hospital. Based on their findings, they feel that early intervention and treatment for gynecomastia or excessive male breast tissue should be the standard. The researchers performed a series of psychological test on 47 healthy boys with an average age of 16 1/2 years for being evaluated for gynecomastia. The results were contrasted with a group of boys who were not suffering from excessive male breast tissue. 62% of the gynecomastia patients suffered from what was consider mild to moderate breast enlargement. Consistent with previous studies, many of the boys with gynecomastia were overweight or obese: 64%, compared to 41% of the comparison group. Patients with gynecomastia had lower scores in the standard quality of life assessment which indicated problems in a multitude of areas. Patients tend to score low in general health, social functioning, and mental health. Researchers point out that although in a great majority of the boys the breast tissue will resolve itself over time, the problem remains in about 8% of boys. Boys were overweight or obese gynecomastia may be minimized with losing weight. Insurance companies are almost certain to require weight loss if obesity is a factor. Although it seems evident that there can be a psychological and emotional impact on boys with breast enlargement, routinely there has been a tendency for insurance companies to regard gynecomastia as a cosmetic procedure. For this reason most insurance plans do not cover the procedure. According to the article only 35% of adolescent boys undergoing the gynecomastia procedure were covered by insurance compared with 85% of girls undergoing breast reduction. The recommendations based on the study include a strong need to evaluate and carefully consider gynecomastia procedures for adolescents regardless of their BMI status or the severity of the gynecomastia. They’re hopeful that more studies will provide even stronger evidence that gynecomastia surgery should be covered under insurance. Dr. Kim advises parents to consider gynecomastia surgery for their teenage boys as soon as their sons begin to express dissatisfaction and concerns. Just as the study indicates Dr. Kim feels it can be potentially difficult for teenage boys to attempt to wait to see when and if the excessive male breast tissue will dissipate. Parents who are considering gynecomastia surgery for their sons are encouraged to contact Dr. Kim and schedule a consultation.