One of the most common plastic surgery procedures among adolescents is breast surgery. Procedures commonly performed by our practice include:
- Breast asymmetry: A naturally occurring complication of breast augmentation or breast reconstruction surgery in which the breasts are not identical in shape and/or size. Breast asymmetry is remedied with the insertion of an implant or the excision of excess tissue during breast revision surgery.
- Breast reduction: These procedures are often performed on patients who are discontented with the size or shape of their excessively large breasts. Candidates for breast reduction procedures include those who experience pain in their neck or back, poor posture, interference of normal activities, trouble finding properly-fitting clothes, or those who are self-conscious because of their large breasts. During a breast reduction procedure, excess glandular tissue, fat and skin is removed from the breasts. Similar to breast augmentation, breast reduction may be used to correct breast asymmetry.
- Gynecomastia (male breast reduction): Many males struggle with a condition called gynecomastia, which is a condition that makes male breasts overly large. Gynecomastia is usually caused by hormonal imbalances or weight gain, and can be extremely embarrassing. Similar to breast reduction surgery, gynecomastia can be corrected through a male breast reduction procedure. A typical male breast reduction procedure includes the extraction of excess breast tissue and the removal of excess skin to reshape the breast. Liposuction may also be employed to remove excess fat associated with gynecomastia.
Teens and breast surgery
Adolescence is a critical period of development both physically and mentally, and self-image can play a vital role in long-term happiness and well-being. Breast surgery should only be performed on teens who are physically and mentally mature and can maintain realistic expectations.
Before pursuing surgery, all prospective teen patients should have an honest, open discussion with their parents about their concerns and aesthetic goals. From there, our team can perform a thorough preoperative evaluation and discussion of expectations, along with computerized imaging to help avoid the misunderstandings that lead to postoperative disappointment. We believe this is an essential first step before undergoing any cosmetic plastic surgery procedure.
Our five-step approach for teens:
- Emphasize potential complications and downplay preconceived notions. We focus on the reality that this is a surgical procedure and the results are not quick, easy or guaranteed.
- Explain what may happen later. We want to emphasize the impact the surgery will have on the adolescent. The teen body is much more dynamic than the adult body, so we want to make sure to explain the effects of these changes.
- Have the teen state their surgery goal verbally. Teens may be ambivalent about the specific results they are looking for. That ambivalence should be a red flag, signaling the patient could be unhappy with the results no matter how successful the surgery.
- Give the patient and parents time to think. A decision is not required immediately after the initial consult. We believe all parties must be comfortable with the decision.
At Children’s, we go the extra mile to make sure the teen and parents have been fully educated on the procedure. We believe all parties should be present at all visits and be involved in all data sharing, discussions and decision making. We understand teens often listen intently when describing the benefits of a procedure, but they often don’t hear the potential complications or the post-op course. Teens desire specific results (for example, how they will look in a prom dress), so we listen for this kind of expectation and explain what is and is not reasonable.
We are also mindful of the fact that young ladies are often very shy, especially when discussing breast surgery. We make every effort during the visit and examination to make them comfortable. Magdalena Soldanska, M.D., one of the only female board-certified pediatric plastic surgeons in Georgia, is available for patients who are more comfortable with a female doctor.