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Breast Reduction Surgery Among Boys Rising in US

As boys go obese in the US, so does their sense of shame over enlarged breasts, a condition known as gynecomastia. So they undergo the surgeons knife readily . In 2006, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 14,000 boys age 13 to 19 underwent surgery to reduce the size of their breasts. That represents 70 percent of all the male patients who had such surgery last year, and an increase of 21 percent over the previous year for that age group.

Often, enlarged breasts are simply part of adolescence, most commonly caused by the hormonal fluctuation of puberty, according to the National Institutes of Health. But in a society that values chiseled abs and Rafael Nadal biceps, adolescent boys are willing to resort to surgery to fix problems their bodies might resolve later on their own.

David Zinczenko, the editor in chief of Mens Health, said that many of his magazines readers are concerned about having enlarged breasts. The sad thing is that its a fairly common problem among young teenagers, which is usually resolved by the latter stages of the testosterone rush that finishes off adolescence, he noted.

Adolescent boys also no longer have the patience to outgrow a little breast puffiness. Boys these days are much more in tune with trying to look good, to try to look like the models on the covers of the fitness magazines, Dr. Roxanne Guy, a plastic surgeon Guy said. Be that good or bad, sometimes they can go overboard, and in this sense they are beginning to resemble teenage girls.

The shame can be intense. One of Dr. Copelands patients, now 17, had breast reduction surgery at 15. His problem was not one of obesity but of glandular overgrowth. He was given anonymity, after saying he was still too embarrassed to speak publicly about the issue. I took my shirt off once, and a couple of kids laughed at me, and I never took my shirt off again, he said. His pediatrician was opposed to the surgery, bu
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