Breasts that are too large can be as big a problem for men as they are for women. Men account for about 9% of all Cosmetic Plastic Surgery procedures; however, Male Breast Reductions comprise 25% of the all Breast Reductions performed by Board Certified Plastic Surgeons in the United States.
The medical term for the enlarged male breast is Gynecomastia, and there are many reasons for it. Every baby is born with enlarged breasts. This is caused by his mother’s hormones (including Estrogen) crossing the placenta. Since babies don’t normally make female hormones, the breast enlargement resolves as the hormone levels drop after birth. This can take a few weeks to months. For baby boys, this termed Neonatal Gynecomastia.
At six months of age, the breasts may enlarge again. This is thought to be due to increased sensitivity of the estrogen receptors in the breasts. And this may happen again at age six years. Most often, this is just a normal part of development.
The baby to the right has some disproportionate breast tissue. It may be “baby fat” or neonatal gynecomastia, but either way, it should be brought to your pediatricians attention just to be safe.
The next most common time for Gynecomastia is adolescence. Approximately one half of all teen and pre-teen boys will develop Gynecomastia, and for about half of them, it doesn’t go away. It takes a year or two for the breasts to shrink for the lucky half who have their Gynecomastia resolve spontaneously. When it does not resolve, the enlargement can be embarrassing and for some painful.
The most common form of Gynecomastia is adult Gynecomastia. This group includes men with adolescent Gynecomastia that did not go away by itself, and those that develop Gynecomastia in response to weight gain or side effects of many popular prescription medications.
Male Breast Enlargement = Gynecomastia
Everyone seems to know about Female Breast Reduction, but I am surprised that so many well educated men have not heard about Male Breast Reduction. Some men have been wearing loose shirts since adolescence, while others stop wearing tight shirts later in life to hide their discomfort.
While the issue is personal, it becomes harder to ignore after we have children. In California, where the weather is good and the pools and beaches are plentiful, children like to go swimming, and swim trunks leave daddy’s man boobs (moobs) exposed.
Male Breast Reduction = Gynecomastia Reduction
There are several solutions to the problem. Many men stay covered up, and may even wear multiple layers to hide their breasts. This limits fashion, activities and makes for a hotter summer, especially in the East Bay Area. However, there are discrete, surgical remedies to reduce the male chest, and provide smoother contours both in and out of clothing.
One of the most most frequently employed techniques used to remove excess breast tissue and fat from the chest is Liposuction. This works great for enlarged breast with disproportionate fat and tight skin. It can be used alone or in conjunction with Gynecomastia Excision, as described below.
When the breast tissue is hard, Liposuction may not be able to remove it. In these cases, a small incision is made around the lower edge of the nipple/areolar complex, and the tough glandular tissue is directly removed. This can be the sole treatment for discrete areas of gynecomastia located beneath the nipple, as is often seen in body builders. Gynecomastia Excision can also be used to complement Liposuction, in cases where Liposuction provides incomplete correction of the breast’s contour.
The Timing of Gynecomastia Treatment
If you are pre-teen or a teenager who just developed Gynecomastia, see your doctor, or see a plastic surgeon, to be certain it is a benign condition. Gynecomastia can be caused my medications, steroids, marijuana and rarely is in response to testicular cancer, so be sure to check them too. If the problem is benign gynecomastia, give the problem a year or two to resolve on its own.
But What if it Won’t go Away?
If your Gynecomastia has been present for years, or is getting worse, Plastic Surgery may be a good option. Gynecomastia Reduction is a procedure I perform year round. More Male Breast Reduction is done in the Spring and Summer months when the problem is most annoying, but the Winter is the best time to do it. It is easier to keep your shirt on in the Winter, and you will be better healed by the time the Spring weather rolls around.
Schedule a Gynecomastia Reduction Consultation Today
If you would like to learn more about Male Breast Reduction, call (925) 943-6353 and schedule your personal consultation appointment. I can evaluate your options, explain the best choices for treatment and answer all your questions, at my San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgery Office in Walnut Creek, California. You can also send your questions via the contact form in the margin.