A recent study published by The American Society of Plastic Surgeons for 2012 showed that gynecomastia is the number one procedure performed on teeangers. The largest number of surgeries occur between the ages of 13-19. The number of overall gynecomastia surgeries has doubled since 1997 when statistics were first recorded. Gynecomastia has long been a procedure that was hidden under the rug. Rarely did those suffering with this disorder ever talk about it or seek out help. It was too embarrassing and humiliating, so they chose to cover up their problem. Some boys would even keep it from their own family. As there has been increasingly more awareness and understanding about gynecomastia, we are finally seeing boys and men start to come out of hiding and do something about their problem.
With the majority of gynecomastia surgeries taking place when males patients are younger, we are seeing an increase in the number of teenage boys who want to pursue surgery, especially in Los Angeles and Orange County. Gynecomastia typically occurs when boys enter into puberty. Their chest will enlarge and start to form “man boobs.” This can become uncomfortable and very embarrassing. Some cases are mild to moderate and others can be very severe. For some the issue resolves itself by adulthood, however for many the problem never goes away. Although it is still unclear as to the exact cause for gynecomastia, some studies show a link to the hormonal changes during puberty. It could also be the side effect of using certain drugs like marijuana or steroids. Obesity is another contributing factor for those suffering with teenage gynecomastia. Whatever the reason, the disorder robs teenage boys of their adolescent years. Living with enlarged breasts is not only a physical burden, but an emotional one as well. Boys dealing with this problem will often times wear bulky heavy clothing to hide their enlarged chest for fear they will be made fun of by their peers. They will shy away from social activities, such as going to the beach or pool, because this would put them in a situation where they would have to take their shirt off. Male teens suffering with gynecomastia often times become reclusive and unable to engage in relationships for fear their disorder will be exposed.
The first step in getting help is for patients to understand they are not alone and there is something that can be done to give them their life back. The more light we can shed on this topic, the more likely boys will be to open up about their condition.