When you’ve been spending time out on the water of Lake Ontario, you’ve probably heard a less than flattering description of a man’s larger than normal breasts, “man boobs.” Most people don’t give much thought to male breasts, unless you’re the person with them. If you’re a male with enlarged breasts, you’re most likely trying to cover up and keep them under wraps.
Unfortunately, common beliefs incorrectly assume that large male breasts are simply the result of weight gain, similar to the way a woman’s breasts often grow with some added pounds. This can be true with men, but enlarged breasts can also be a condition called gynecomastia, colloquially known as male breast enlargement.
The team at The Plastic Surgery Group of Rochester can perform male breast reduction surgery and give you back your self-confidence again.
What Is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia, a word of Greek origin meaning “woman-like breasts,” can affect one or both breasts. The condition is common and well understood in teenage boys, but is somewhat of a mystery in adult men.
It’s believed that around half of all men suffer from gynecomastia. Most men never do anything about it or even suspect it of being a “condition.” But having enlarged breasts can really impact a man’s self-esteem.
Three quarters of all teenage boys have gynecomastia to some degree. It’s a direct result of puberty, where estrogen and testosterone levels can be off the charts, leading to enlarged breasts, along with acne and other teenage issues. Luckily for teenagers, once puberty ends so does their gynecomastia in the vast majority of cases. In adults, breast enlargement usually arises in middle-aged and older men. This is a time of shifting hormones, too, which is thought to play a role.
It is also believed that certain medications have links to gynecomastia:
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- Heartburn treatment drugs
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- AIDS treatment drugs
Steroids, in particular, are linked to enlarged breast development in men due to their hormonal makeup. Heavy drinking and marijuana use are also thought to be triggers.
Am I A Candidate For Male Breast Reduction?
If you’re overly self-conscious about the over-development of your breasts, breast reduction would probably help you. Many cases of gynecomastia show themselves when the man has a firm, rubbery mass underneath the nipple area. The area is roughly two inches in diameter and is sensitive to the touch.
Our talented cosmetic surgeons can remove the glandular tissue, excess fat, and, in more extreme cases, excess skin that are part of gynecomastia. Men whose breast growth is caused by weight gain are not good candidates for surgery. These men should lose the excess weight first to see if their enlarged breasts return to normal.
Male Breast Reduction Procedure
Gynecomastia is often associated with an excessive amount of glandular tissue. Our surgeons can excise this tissue, entering through small incisions made around the areola. This will minimize any visible scarring. Incisions may also be made in the pectoralis muscle fold at the bottom of the breast to remove excess skin. Glandular tissue, excess skin, and excess fat are then removed. Liposuction may be used to remove fat pockets. In some cases liposuction may be all that is necessary to reduce the breasts.
Gynecomastia Surgery Recovery
This surgery is usually an outpatient procedure and recovery is not difficult. The incisions are small and heal relatively easily. You will have some swelling and discomfort, but this passes pretty quickly. We put patients in a compression garment to minimize swelling and to help the chest adhere to its new contour. Drains may be necessary for a few days. You may have some loss of sensation in the treated areas after your reduction surgery, but this is usually short-lived.
Most of our patients can return to their normal activities after around a week. This includes most forms of exercise, with the exception of any exercise that specifically targets or involves the chest. Those sorts of exercise will need to wait for a month or so.
Are There Non-Surgical Alternatives?
There are some alternative options to try before opting for surgery. These can sometimes be successful in reducing breast size and sometimes not. Of course there are various exercises such as push-ups and seated rows that target the chest. Also, since the breasts are primarily made of lipids, cutting down on fatty foods may help reduce your breast size.
Can Gynecomastia Return After Surgery?
In many cases the majority of the breast gland is removed in surgery and the odds of the remaining smaller amount of gland being stimulated are rare. Steroid use, one of the main triggers of male breast enlargement, could cause the breast or breasts to enlarge again. Otherwise, without steroids the odds are very low. However, if breast reduction surgery was performed while the patient was still an adolescent, the odds of a return are higher because the hormones can still be stimulating the gland.