Study Shows the Mental Health Impact of Breast Asymmetry in Teens
Posted on March 23, 2015 by Dr. Carlos Chacon - Breast Surgery
A recent study found that adolescents with asymmetrical breasts may suffer poorer self-esteem, social functioning and emotional well-being than their peers with “normal” breasts. This research suggests that parents and doctors should not dismiss teenagers’ concerns as merely cosmetic or vanity issues.
Dr. Carlos Chacon of Divino Plastic Surgery explains the research team’s findings (and recommendations) in more detail.
How “Abnormal” Breasts Can Be Harmful to a Teen’s Well-Being
A team from Boston Children’s Hospital surveyed 59 girls, ages 12 to 21, with breast asymmetry (breasts that differ by at least one bra cup size). Forty percent of those girls had tuberous breast deformity, a congenital condition that prevents the breasts from developing normally and fully.
The team also surveyed a group of girls without breast asymmetry, and another group of girls with oversized breasts (a condition called macromastia). The girls were all asked questions to ascertain their emotional health and well-being.
Researchers found that the girls with asymmetrical breasts had lower scores for emotional well-being and self-esteem. Their scores were similar to the girls with macromastia, which researchers already knew could be detrimental to mental health.
Differences in breast size are common in early adolescence; for many girls, the breasts even out with time.
The researchers believe the psychosocial effects of teen breast asymmetry are similar to those in women with differences in their breasts after cancer. While breast cancer survivors are eligible for insurance coverage for surgical correction, younger women with congenital breast asymmetry are not.
The Boston Children’s Hospital research team does not believe that every teen with breast asymmetry should undergo surgical correction. However, girls that have finished growing and still have asymmetrical breasts (and feel bad about them) could benefit from surgery.
The team is also working with the oncology department at the hospital to develop corrective clothing (i.e., swimsuits and bras that accommodate asymmetrical breasts).
Are Your Breasts Different Sizes?
If you are embarrassed about your asymmetrical breasts, surgical correction could have a significant impact on your self-esteem and psychological well-being. For more information about your surgical options, please contact Divino Plastic Surgery today by calling (858) 633-7546.