By Dr David A. Sieber
Gynecomastia is a condition in which the male breasts grow and develop. While this is almost never a significant medical concern, gynaecomastia can negatively impact a man’s confidence level. Men often seek breast reduction to regain their masculine body contours, as well as their self-esteem.
What are the Causes?
Gynecomastia most commonly occurs during the pubescent years, between the ages of 12 and 15. When it occurs early on, it almost always solves itself over time. Unfortunately some men may find the condition does not improve and they must seek treatment to create a proportionate appearance for their chest contour.
There are a number of reasons why gynecomastia might develop:
Hormonal Fluctuations – Hormonal changes can help explain why so many young men develop the condition during puberty. However, hormone fluctuations can occur at other stages in life and have been seen to contribute to gynecomastia in adult men as well.
Health Conditions – Some health conditions can increase male breasts, including hypogonadism that causes low testosterone levels, hyperthyroidism, kidney and liver failure, as well as different types of tumors. Addressing the health condition may reverse the gynecomastia.
Prescription drugs – Prescription medications used to treat prostate problems, AIDS, heart medications, antidepressants and anabolic steroids can all increase the chances of gynecomastia. Fortunately, these cases can often be reversed by simply discontinuing the medication.
Street Drugs and Alcohol – Particular culprits include heroin, amphetamines, and marijuana. Excessive alcohol use can also be a contributing factor.
For men that do not see their gynecomastia improve on its own, by treating a medical condition or stopping a medication, surgical treatment may be the next viable solution.
Liposuction – The introduction of both power-assisted liposuction (PAL) and ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) have made male breasts reduction via this treatment much more effective. The new techniques allow for less invasive removal with even dense male breast tissues that did not react well to traditional liposuction.
Surgical Excision – Surgical excision to remove excess breasts tissue is much less invasive today, with a single incision surrounding the areola typically used for the procedure. This eliminates obvious scarring after surgery and minimizes the amount of discomfort and downtime after the procedure.
Both liposuction and surgical excision can usually be performed using local anesthesia. Recovery from these procedures is generally less than 1 week.
Some patients will choose to combine gynecomastia with liposuction of other areas. By sculpting multiple areas in a single treatment, men can enjoy more dramatic results with just one one recovery period.
Is Male Breast Reduction Right for You?
The decision to have male breast reduction is a personal one that should be made between a man and his plastic surgeon. If you are unhappy with the size or shape of your breasts, contact Dr Sieber.
Dr David A. Sieber practices at Sieber Plastic Surgery, located in the San Francisco Bay Area.