Too Young for Gynecomastia Surgery?
Several years ago, an article published on a New Zealand website revealed that boys as young as eight years old are lining up to find out about breast reduction surgery. We have noticed an uptick in adolescent man boob patients in the past few years, and we’re certain most other teen gynecomastia specialists have found this to be the case as well.
So, what gives? And at what age is it ok to consider man boob surgery for a youngster?
Sooner Rather than Later
After more than three decades as a practice specializing in gynecomastia surgery, we have treated hundreds of teens. When the condition is stable and the patient is mature enough to handle the procedure, we usually feel there’s no reason to delay.
It surprises some parents that we are willing to move forward with many patients still in their teens, and some pediatricians as well. We’ve found that primary care doctors tend to tell young patients their moobs will disappear in time, even when excess breast growth has been present for years. Or they believe every kid should wait for surgery until they’re 18. We respectfully disagree.
Here’s what we’ve found:
- Teen man boobs are not unusual; rapid hormone swings are the typical cause. Most go away on their own but some cases do not.
- If enlarged breasts have persisted for two years or longer, the tissue is here to stay. Even if the patient is still a teen.
- When adolescent moobs are removed, they do not recur.
- Youngsters most often bounce back from surgery readily, both physically and psychologically.
Most importantly, we’ve been able to make a huge difference in the lives of young men through man boob surgery.
The Power of Gynecomastia Surgery
As everyone knows, the teen years can be challenging. Emotions seem to be in constant flux, and the body changes in ways that may be abrupt and embarrassing. To compound matters, peer pressure is high and youngsters can feel they’re constantly under scrutiny.
To grow a pair of hormone-triggered man boobs during this time adds insult to injury, as the saying goes. Most guys will go to great lengths to hide the condition and avoid being bullied. It’s not unusual for teens to:
- Adopt a hunched over posture
- Wear multiple layers of clothing, even in summer
- Avoid activities they used to enjoy, like sports
- Pack on extra pounds
- Tape or bind their breasts
- Withdraw from friends and family
Depending on many other factors, it’s possible that the psychological damage sustained in formative years may persist. Guys who were once outgoing may even suffer complete personality changes.
We offer man boob surgery for appropriate teens to help them get back on track and go about their lives with wide open possibilities. It’s so gratifying to visit with them in follow-up appointments, when they show up in a snug t-shirt with a grin on their face. They often talk about how their lives are changing: they’re engaging in social activities, standing up straight and proud, and active in athletics again.
The story of our patient John illustrates the power of gynecomastia surgery for a young man.
When it’s too Soon
Of course, there are times we feel a prospective patient is too young for gynecomastia surgery. We would be unlikely to operate on a boy at eight years old, for instance. Why? Even if he is undergoing what’s called “precocious puberty,” it’s highly unlikely the associated hormonal changes would be complete at age eight.
In rare cases, a boy may grow breasts (or just experience one enlarged breast) for other reasons. These can include:
- Obesity — the most likely cause
- Hormonal abnormality — a visit with an endocrinologist would be wise
- A tumor or injury — not likely, but possible
The youngest patient to undergo gynecomastia surgery with us was 12 years old. We waited an entire year before performing male breast reduction for this young man, to ensure his moobs were stable (he had the condition for a full three years prior to surgery) and to be satisfied that he was ready for some post-op discomfort and the healing process.
Though an eight year old is too young for male breast reduction, he’s not too young to come in for a consultation. If your son is suffering, we would welcome the chance to talk with all of you in our Boca Raton offices. We have more than three decades of experience with gynecomastia to share. We can evaluate the case and make suggestions, starting with a compression garment to help disguise the condition and boost confidence.