Breast reduction is not limited to the females. Many men with “oversized” breast tissue are now having breast reduction procedures to give them a more masculine appearance and contour. Enlarged breast tissue in men is actually not unusual. It is estimated that almost a third of men will have varying degrees of enlarged breast tissue at some stage in their lives. We take a look at the various reasons why it occurs and what the surgery involves to treat the issue, with the help of Dr Patrick Briggs, Plastic Surgeon from Perth WA who performs male breast reduction and breast contouring through his WA practice.
Why do some men have enlarged breast tissue and others don’t?
There are various reasons as to why a man might have bigger breast tissue than the man standing next to him. These are:
- Testicular or male breast cancer
- Massive weight gain or weight loss
- An imbalance in hormones – excess amounts of oestrogen (the female hormone that controls breast tissue growth) can cause more breast tissue to grow that is desired. This often happens during puberty when our bodies are in chaos! It can also occur in babies who have received their fair share of their mother’s oestrogen, however in the case of babies this usually disappears and is only temporary
- Drugs or medications – certain drugs or medications contain ingredients that can have side effects such as increased breast tissue growth (steroids are a typical one, and many of the body building drugs men use can also contribute to increased breast development but other drugs such as antidepressants, antibiotics and cancer medicines can also be at fault)
- Genetics – not just because the patient’s father had it, but also because of a genetic chromosomal issue where the patient has an extra female chromosome
- Chronic disease – eg. liver failure has been known to be a cause of gynecomastia
- Age – as men get older they have a reduction in their testosterone levels which can lead to gynecomastia.
Dr Briggs also says you may not always know the cause of gynecomastia. “All men have some breast tissue. A few, unfortunately, have an excessive amount. Occasionally this is due to a hormone imbalance. In most instances, there are no detectable abnormalities on blood tests or clinical examination.
Whether it’s due to an abnormality or not, this condition causes men a great deal of embarrassment. Many adults and school-going boys forego swimming and sunbathing to avoid taking their shirts off. Often no amount of exercise or diet will solve this problem.”
Regardless of why you have gynecomastia, or enlarged breast tissue, if you are not happy with the size of your chest area, or would like to gain a more masculine and desirable shape and appearance, plastic surgery with a fully qualified and experienced surgeon is a reasonably straightforward procedure. In some cases liposuction may also be used to remove excess fat and create a better contour.
Recovery after the gynecomastia surgery is said to be about a week, and may involve the patient wearing compression garments to reduce swelling, bruising and help with the contouring.
If you’d like more information on gynecomastia or would like to arrange a consult with Dr Briggs, who is based in Perth Western Australia give his clinic a call on 08 9381 9300.