Large Breasts Can Take Mental, Physical Toll on Teens

Research shows some girls with the condition have physical pain, lower self-esteem

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However, in addition to cost considerations, the surgery does pose some risks, noted Dr. Malcolm Roth, chief of the division of plastic surgery at Albany Medical Center, in New York, and president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in Arlington Heights, Ill. "Especially for those who are overweight, the risks include delayed wound healing, scarring and an unsatisfactory outcome," Roth said.

Potential side effects of the surgery include an inability to breast-feed and short-term changes in nipple sensitivity, said Labow.

For these reasons, Roth said it often makes sense to first encourage the teenager to lose weight, which, he concedes, can be difficult. He explained that for some, macromastia even makes it tough to exercise. "But after the surgery, girls may be better able to go to the gym and work out," he said.

Roth believes that the new research confirms what plastic surgeons have long known to be true: "There are significant physical and psychological issues girls and women with large breasts suffer from that can be resolved with breast-reduction surgery."

More information

For more on plastic surgery in the teen years, head to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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