Background: This study measures the impact of adolescent breast asymmetry compared with macromastia and female controls.
Methods: The following surveys were given to patients with breast asymmetry, macromastia, and controls aged 12 to 21 years: Short Form Health Survey, Version 2 (Short Form-36), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the Eating Attitudes Test. Demographics were compared, and linear regression models, adjusted for body mass index category and age, were fit to determine the effect of case status on survey score.
Results: Fifty-nine adolescents with asymmetry, 142 controls, and 160 macromastia patients participated. After controlling for differences in body mass index category, asymmetry patients scored lower on psychological Short Form-36 domains and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale than controls (p < 0.05), but did not differ in physical health. When compared with macromastia adolescents, asymmetry patients scored significantly better on Short Form-36 physical health domains (p < 0.05), but had similar decrements in emotional functioning, mental health, self-esteem, and eating behaviors/attitudes, after accounting for differences in age. Age and asymmetry type and severity had no effect on survey scores, independent of body mass index category (p > 0.05). Asymmetry patients had a higher mean body mass index percentile than controls (83.36 versus 73.52) but did not differ from that of macromastia patients (83.39).
Conclusions: Breast asymmetry may negatively impact the psychological quality of life of adolescents similar to macromastia. Breast asymmetry is not just a cosmetic issue. Providers should be aware of the psychological impairments associated with asymmetry and provide proper support.
CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Risk, II.