San Jose, California- The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) publishes a monthly journal called “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery”. In this month’s issue is an article with the results of a study done on the psychological impact gynecomastia, (male breasts) has on adolescents. The study had two groups of young men ages 12 to 21, with one group of males with gynecomastia, and the other group of males with normal chests.
The participants completed three different surveys covering such issues as; physical functioning, bodily pain, general health, emotional and mental health, self-esteem and eating attitudes.
As would be expected, the group with gynecomastia had a higher body mass index, and they had lower scores in general health, social functioning, mental health and self-esteem. The tests for eating attitudes showed no difference between the two groups. Prior studies have shown 2/3 of adolescents with gynecomastia are overweight.
The study results indicate regular evaluation for adolescents with gynecomastia with particular attention to weight control for the overweight or obese patient. However, weight control should not be considered as primary treatment for man boobs. Most adolescents with gynecomastia will find that it will resolve on its own in 1 to 3 years of onset. Unfortunately for about 8% it will persist into adulthood.
For some patients, early intervention and treatment for gynecomastia may be recommended to improve negative physical and emotional symptoms.
Insurance companies are still reluctant to provide coverage for male breast reduction surgery based on psychological, emotional or social effects rather than physical impairment alone.