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Male Breast Reduction

Should Your Son Have Gynecomastia Surgery?

teenage boy

It’s completely understandable.  It can seem very strange to have the thought of plastic surgery for your child cross your mind.  Maybe you’ve had “work done” yourself but the idea of a cosmetic procedure for a youngster seems inappropriate.  Or perhaps you have never even considered changing your appearance in this way, and the idea of a young person going under the knife seems ludicrous.

It also makes sense that parents consider instances of bullying as “teachable moments” and work with their children to build confidence and a strong self-image in the face of adversity.  Young people are often teased and bullied about their appearance and learning to handle it well is an important life lesson.

But if you have an adolescent son who’s suffering from man boobs, it’s a good idea to think things through from all sides.  Here are some observations that come from three decades of treating men with gynecomastia in New York City, including hundreds of teens.

  • If your son’s condition has persisted for two years, there’s virtually no chance it will go away by itself.  Pediatricians and general practitioners (who are not usually gynecomastia experts) often assure teens and pre-teens that they will outgrow their man boobs as they approach adulthood.  While this does happen in many cases, if enlarged breasts have been a problem for your son for two or more years, they are here to stay.
  • Timing is everything in life, they say, but there really is no good time to cope with man boobs.  During adolescence, shame and embarrassment about your body can affect self-esteem, curtail social activities, impede good fitness and contribute to depression.
    These feelings may moderate in adulthood, but adults with enlarged male breasts still confront many challenges.  Along with difficulties related to clothing and activity choices, adults have additional dilemmas when it comes to intimate situations with partners.
    It’s a safe bet that it’s extremely rare for a doctor to meet a male with enlarged breasts who says his self-image and emotional development have been unaffected.  On the contrary, when plastic surgeons operate on these patients, the men very often share that they wish they had elected surgery sooner.
  • Gynecomastia surgery is a safe, straightforward, permanent solution.  A board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in treating the condition can remove the unwanted breast tissue and re-sculpt natural, masculine contours that will be with your son for the rest of his life.

To be sure, the cost associated with male breast reduction surgery is not inconsequential for most families.  And there is a recovery period to plan for.  No one would suggest that choosing plastic surgery is an easy decision—but for the right young man it can make a world of difference.

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March 25, 2014
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