Gynecomastia, persistent, benign enlargement of male glandular tissue, results in more than simple aesthetic dismay for adolescent males, according to new reports from the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. According to the study lead, ASPS Member Seurgeon Dr. Brian I Labow, even though the condition is common in adolescent boys, gynecomastia negatively affects self esteem and other areas of mental and emotional health in adolescent males.
The results stem from a series of psychological tests performed by researchers on 47 healthy boys, aged 16.5 years on average, who were being examined for gynecomastia. The results were compared to the same questions asked to a group of boys without breast enlargement.
According to the study, 62% of the gynecomastia patients had mild to large breast enlargement. The patients with gynecomastia had lower scores on a standard quality of life assessment. While 64 percent of the group with gynecomastia were overweight or obese, results correlated with the gynecomastia rather than weight.
Furthermore, breast enlargement also correlated with lower self esteem scores among the patients.
The negative psychological effects of the condition were similar for boys at different levels of severity. Dr. Labow writes, “Merely having gynecomastia was sufficient to cause significant deficits in general health, social functioning, mental health, self esteem and eating behaviors and attitudes compared with controls.”
While gynecomastia often resolves itself over time, some 8 percent of those with the condition never loose the excess tissue. Patients with true glandular enlargement will not be able to reduce the breast tissue if they have true glandular enlargement.
The study author cites male breast reduction as a safe and simple procedure for those who are not helped by diet and exercise alone.
“Male breast reductions are definitely an option for young men when it comes to treating gynecomastia,” explains West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Luis A Vinas.“Because gynecomastia carries such a strong psychological and emotional toll on young men, I believe the procedure not only avoids the negative side effects of such a condition but implements a positive change that will last a lifetime.”