Male breast enlargement (gynecomastia) is an uncomfortable and embarrassing aesthetic issue men face. Even small to moderate increases in breast size can have a detrimental impact on a guy’s self-esteem and overall quality of life. Enlarged breasts can make it harder to find clothes that fit correctly and may make it difficult to be intimate with a partner. They may even hold you back professionally by making you appear out of shape or less typically masculine. For all these reasons, more and more men are turning to gynecomastia surgery to sculpt their chests.
What Causes Male Breast Enlargement?
Male breast enlargement is usually linked to obesity in the media, but most guys with this condition aren’t massively overweight. While it’s true that having a BMI over 30 can induce a state called pseudogynecomastia (accumulation of fat on the chest that fills out the breasts), male breast gland enlargement arises due to hormonal, genetic, and environmental factors. True gynecomastia is characterized by not only fat accumulation within male breasts but also excess dense glandular tissue and nipple over-development. Male breast enlargement of this type is not always symmetrical either. Sometimes only one breast becomes significantly enlarged, which can cause the individual to feel even more self-conscious about his appearance.
Rates of male breast enlargement have risen sharply over the last half-century, and today, about 60 percent of guys have at least some degree of breast enlargement. Some of the most common causes of this condition are outlined below:
A century ago, the average man could expect to live just 55 years. In recent decades, by contrast, male life expectancy has increased so rapidly that most men can now look forward to hitting 80. The life expectancy gender gap has also been closing, due to a higher number of men adopting healthy lifestyle habits; males now live just 3.6 years less than the average woman.
While this is excellent news, it means that men today are living decades beyond their peak reproductive years. As a result, they’re experiencing the gradual loss of sex hormones that occurs during mid-life. And, just like menopause often causes women to develop some masculine attributes (like facial hair and centralized fat deposits), andropause typically prompts the onset of feminine changes in the male physique. Most men can expect to experience some degree of breast enlargement after age 40.
– Certain medical conditions
Liver disease, kidney disease, poor nutrition, cancer, drug or alcohol abuse, and thyroid problems can all cause hormone disruptions, leading to gynecomastia. For this reason, if you experience sudden (rather than gradual) breast enlargement, you should see your doctor before considering your options.
– Medication use
Medication use has increased dramatically over the last few decades, as a wide range of prescription therapies have been developed to treat common medical conditions. Though these medications can improve patients’ quality of life, breast enlargement is a frequently reported side effect of many prescription drugs. In fact, some of the most widely used medications in America are responsible for notably elevated rates of gynecomastia. ADHD treatments, antidepressants, anxiety medications, blood pressure drugs, heartburn and ulcer medications, and antibiotics have all been shown to cause male breast enlargement in a percentage of patients. Steroids, whether taken for medical reasons or to increase muscle mass, also lead to an increase in breast size. This is why male bodybuilders often suffer from gynecomastia despite having a low body fat percentage.
Herbal supplements can play a role in the development of gynecomastia, too. Tea tree oil and lavender oil, for example, have been directly linked to this condition. Because these ingredients are found in many personal care products, it’s difficult for men to reduce their lifetime exposure to them.
The use of marijuana has been linked to the development of gynecomastia.
Rare hereditary disorders like Klinefelter’s Syndrome (in which a man is born with an extra X chromosome) can cause breast enlargement. Hormonal imbalances during puberty and exposure to high levels of estrogen in the womb also contribute to the development of this condition.
Men suffering from gynecomastia should rest assured that their condition is not in any way their fault. Breast enlargement does not indicate you’re out of shape, unhealthy, or even innately lacking in testosterone. The cause could be as simple as the medication you take every day to control heartburn, but unfortunately, once breast enlargement has occurred, it can’t always be reversed via diet or exercise. Getting down to your ideal weight will help you rule out pseudogynecomastia and remove some fatty tissue from your chest, but it won’t get rid of the extra non-fatty tissue in your breasts. For this, turn to gynecomastia surgery.
Gynecomastia at the Forefront of Male Plastic Surgery Trend
Male breast reduction (gynecomastia surgery) is one of the most popular types of male plastic surgery. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, gynecomastia surgery is the fourth most common type of plastic surgery sought out by male patients, with over 18,000 procedures performed each year. It’s the second most popular male body sculpting procedure, following liposuction.
Like all forms of male plastic surgery, gynecomastia operations have experienced an increase in demand over the last two decades. While this trend is partially driven by a higher number of men suffering from breast enlargement, social factors also play a role. Men, as a group, are becoming much more conscious of their appearance because of social media influence and so-called “selfie culture.” Indeed, some research suggests that men are currently more concerned with their image than women are. A notable survey conducted in the UK in 2016 showed that men now look at themselves in the mirror more times per day than women do (23 times per day, versus 16 times per day for women). Likewise, because men place less emphasis on facial enhancement using makeup, their bodies take on a more significant role of importance in shaping their self-image. As reported by the Metro UK, when men look in the mirror, they “Admire the body parts they like best […] Arms came in top with 76 percent of those asked were most happy with their guns, followed by legs 54 percent, smile 49 percent, eyes 43 percent and hair 38 percent.” Women, by contrast, are using most of their daily self-checks to examine their makeup for flaws.
This increase in physical self-awareness isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either. Though it’s true that adolescent boys stand to benefit from coaching on how to deal with modern body image issues and the pressures of social media, adult men are getting healthier because of this social shift. Men now exercise more, eat healthier, and drink less alcohol, in no small part because they want to maintain a lean, youthful physique. Many males with gynecomastia are uncomfortable taking off their shirts or working out in the gym. These lifestyle adjustments are thought to be mostly responsible for why male lifespans have almost caught up to female lifespans. Even the higher number of male plastic surgery procedures occurring because of this trend might confer health benefits: Emerging research suggests that fat removal procedures like liposuction and breast reduction can lower a man’s levels of harmful blood triglycerides, thereby potentially reducing their risk of heart disease.
The bottom line? Men looking to improve their appearance shouldn’t feel ashamed of their desire to look (and feel) great. Procedures like gynecomastia surgery can do a lot to improve long-term quality of life.
What Happens During Gynecomastia Surgery?
Many male breast reductions can be performed using liposuction alone because the liposuction process can remove both fatty tissue and glandular tissue. This is great news for guys seeking this procedure, owing to the minimally invasive nature of modern liposuction.. To ensure comfort, In most patients, Dr. Singer will inject a solution containing local anesthetic into targeted fat deposits, and monitored intravenous or general anesthesia will be administered by an anesthesiologist to maximize safetyand to assure comfort and make the experience as pleasant as possible .This solution will numb the procedure area. The fat cells are removed through a tube-like instrument called a cannula. This whole process is relatively brief, taking just one hour on average to complete. Recovery from liposuction is usually comfortable, lasting about one week for most patients. Liposuction does not cause visible scarring due to the small size of the cannula used to remove fat.
Sometimes, however, liposuction alone is not enough to restore the contour of the chest. Older men, men who have been obese in the past, and men who have severe breast enlargement usually need to have some amount of loose skin removed (not just fat and glandular tissue). Nipple reshaping is also frequently employed in cases of advanced gynecomastia.
More complex forms of gynecomastia surgery take a bit longer to perform (about two hours), and patients need to be sedated to eliminate the possibility of pain. Some scarring may occur after this procedure, but the natural curvature of the chest can usually hide it. Recovery from this procedure takes between 14-21 days, and most patients don’t report significant discomfort. However, if you have loose skin removed, you should note that it’s especially important to take your prescribed pain medication on schedule.
Preparing for Gynecomastia Surgery
First and foremost, guys who are interested in having male breast reduction surgery should lose any excess weight they’re carrying. Doing this will both rule out pseudogynecomastia and make your surgery less invasive (because Dr. Singer will not have to remove as much fatty tissue from your chest). You’ll also need to stop smoking at least three weeks before your surgery. Smoking lowers the amount of oxygen in the blood, making it difficult for the body to heal itself. This increases the patient’s risk of infection and other complications when having any form of surgery. Finally, during your consultation, don’t forget to review all the medications you’re taking. You’ll need to discontinue the use of any medications that thin your blood (including over-the-counter painkillers like Aspirin and Motrin) at least two weeks before your surgery.
Once you’ve taken these steps, depending on the extent of the procedure you may have to book a couple of days or a week off work.. Within just a few hours, the contour of your chest will be flattened and reshaped, giving you a sleek, masculine silhouette. For more information on how to start your journey to a better body, contact Dr. Singer today.