During my career as a breast augmentationspecialist in New Jersey, I’ve treated a number of women with breast asymmetry, meaning one breast was larger or shaped differently than the other. In cases where the difference was a cup size or more, the women were quite self-conscious about the appearance of their breasts. It clearly was more than a cosmetic issue for them.
So I wasn’t surprised when I read the conclusion of a recent studyfrom Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery that showed breast asymmetry can have a significant mental health impact on adolescent girls. The study of 59 adolescent girls whose breasts differed by at least one bra cup size showed the condition affected self-esteem, emotional well-being, and social functioning.
In fact, the researchers demonstrated that the negative emotional impact was similar to that measured in girls with overly large breasts — and in boys with gynecomastia (overdeveloped breasts). But while the costs of breast reductionsurgery for adolescent girls and boys is almost always covered by health insurance, breast asymmetry is considered a cosmetic issue only and a patient’s family often has to pay the entire bill.
Early surgical intervention
Early surgical intervention can actually minimize the psychological impact for teens and young women with severe breast asymmetry. For individuals whose breasts have stopped developing, breast enhancement surgery combined with mental health counseling can be beneficial.
In fact, cosmetic surgery patients who I see at my practice often tell me later how much more confidence they have after their procedures. When patients have long felt unhappy about their bodies, they tend to be very fulfilled and empowered by the results.