Are The Teen Years A Good Time for Gynecomastia Surgery?
We spotted a couple of questions online from boys in their mid-teens asking whether surgery is a good choice to treat gynecomastia. Several plastic surgeons who may be less experienced or more cautious advised waiting until age 18.
When we consult with teens in New York with gynecomastia who are interested in surgery, our answer to them is often a resounding “yes!” If certain conditions are met (more on this later), the teen years can be a good time to get rid of man boobs. Here are some advantages of having man boob surgery as an adolescent.
Young people tend to heal quickly
Most people know that kids tend to heal more quickly than adults from broken bones and other trauma, including planned trauma like surgery. This goes for our New York gynecomastia patients as well. Most are up and about in just a few days and can return to full physical activity in about a month.
Another huge advantage teen patients have is the elasticity of their skin. We’ve seen guys whose skin has bounced back into place right on the operating table!
Teens in school can often find vacation time to schedule the procedure
Summer or holiday vacations are great times for adolescents to plan gynecomastia surgery. Read about our patient John who created the perfect strategy for summer surgery.
Surgery may open doors and spark motivation to achieve more
The most common side benefit we hear about from our teen New York gynecomastia patients is a renewed desire to work out and get fit. As our patient John noted, man boobs seem like a “huge burden” that can make other moves to get in shape just about useless–until the moobs are gone. For some, relief from that huge burden leads to an interest in a new sport, better grades, more friendships–the sky’s the limit.
The psychological boost comes at a great time
It’s a good bet that most of us have experienced at least some adolescent angst in our lives. Those who got a favorable genetic roll of the dice get to fit in or even be admired. For others who have a physical feature that prompts teasing and bullying, the angst can be so much worse. A huge nose or severe acne can make a guy a target, but having a feature that’s thought to belong on females is somehow even more disastrous.
At this sensitive time of life when self-esteem is under development, anything that holds a teen back can have a lasting impact. It’s hard to underestimate the power of just being a regular guy.
Not every adolescent with man boobs is a good candidate for surgery. Here are some of the characteristics we look for:
Stable gynecomastia for two years or more
Even if a guy is not yet 18, if he’s had moobs for two years or more, we know that they will not disappear on their own–even with the best diet and fitness plan. For this reason, we occasionally operate on patients as young as 12. And, it’s worth noting that in over 30 years of working with teens with gynecomastia in New York, we have never seen a case return.
The absence of underlying medical conditions
If there’s any doubt about whether something may not be quite right with a patient’s hormones, we’ll recommend a visit to an endocrinologist before scheduling surgery. It’s rare that a problem is found, (but some do occur), but it may be worthwhile for peace of mind. And we absolutely do ask for “clearance” for surgery from the primary care physician.
The maturity to handle the physical and psychological aspects of healing
We have lengthy discussions with our adolescent patients about all aspects of the recovery process to determine whether they are truly ready for surgery. Patience, the willingness to follow instructions, optimism, and readiness to “fend off” any comments from someone who might notice the change–all these strengths are needed.
We assume that most young to mid-teens will have the support of their parents in going through this process. We have published several articles that may help get all parties on the same page. Older teens who are already living independent lives may not require parental support, but having a good friend or loved one to lean on is helpful.
We discuss these topics and more thoroughly during our consultations with teens with gynecomastia in New York. Why not set up an appointment today? Ready to find out more? Give us a call at 212-570-6080.