Persistent adolescent gynecomastia negatively affects health-related quality of life. Surgery results in psychosocial improvements, but the effects of postoperative complications on health-related quality of life are unknown. The authors examined whether complications following adolescent gynecomastia surgery impact postoperative health-related quality of life.
Patients aged 12 to 21 years who underwent surgical correction of unilateral/bilateral gynecomastia between 2007 and 2019 were enrolled (n = 145). Relevant demographic and clinical data were obtained from medical records. Fifty-one patients completed the following surveys preoperatively, and at 6 months and 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 years postoperatively: 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (Version 2), Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the 26-item Eating Attitudes Test.
Within a median period of 8.6 months, 36 percent of breasts experienced at least one complication. The most common were residual tissue (12.6 percent), contour irregularities (9.2 percent), and hematomas (7.8 percent). Patients reported significant postoperative improvements in self-esteem and in seven health-related quality-of-life domains (Physical Functioning, Role-Physical, Bodily Pain, Vitality, Social Functioning, Role-Emotional, and Mental Health) at a median of 33.3 months. Postoperative survey scores did not vary by grade or procedure, or largely by body mass index category or complication status. However, patients aged younger than 17 years at surgery scored significantly higher than older patients in the Short-Form Health Survey Vitality and Mental Health domains postoperatively.
Health-related quality-of-life improvements are achievable in adolescents through surgical correction of persistent gynecomastia. Postoperatively, patients largely experienced similar health-related quality-of-life gains irrespective of complication status, grade, surgical technique, or body mass index category. Minor postcorrection complications are but do not appear to limit postoperative health-related quality-of-life benefits.