A surprising new procedure is gaining in popularity amongst men: male breast reduction. This cosmetic surgery is designed to treat gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue in men) or male breasts that have more fatty deposits due to obesity, also known as moobs.
While gynecomastia is not generally considered a serious medical problem, it can cause notable embarrassment to sufferers. To avoid teasing and social stigma, men who suffer from gynecomastia will often go to great lengths to not show their chest, from wearing thick shirts to avoiding any activity, such as swimming, that requires them to be shirtless.
According to a recent report by The Mayo Clinic, gynecomastia can strike at any age and typically occurs due to a hormonal imbalance, where testosterone levels are lowered in relation to estrogen levels. Common causes of this hormonal imbalance include: natural changes in hormones, exposure to steroids or estrogen, side effects to street drugs and certain cancer treatments. Approximately 25% of gynecomastia cases do not have an exact cause.
After treating the underlying condition, gynecomastia typically resolves on it's own but in some cases, surgical treatment may be necessary.
Male Breast Reduction can help patients who suffer from gynecomastia by removing fat deposits that enlarge the breasts or reducing overdeveloped breast tissue. "Male breast reduction is actually more common than one might think," said Felmont Eaves III, MD, President of ASAPS. "Surgery can be very effective in men who have breast enlargement due to either an unusual amount of actual breast tissue or fatty deposits."
Gynecomastia surgery is an ideal option for patients who have dieted and exercised but still cannot lose the extra fatty deposits in the breasts. For adolescents who aren't obese, gynecomastia will typically resolve itself spontaneously as the boys go through puberty. Dr. Eaves recommends that young men should wait until after adolescence to undergo gynecomastia surgery.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), breast reduction is the 4th most popular cosmetic surgery procedure for males. In a recent interview with renowned board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. David Broadway, about the growing popularity of male plastic surgery, he says, "Gynecomastia has been and will continue to be an interest for our patients. They are trying to not only reduce the total volume of the breast but actually to get some contour and to bring out the pectoralis major muscle." And as it becomes more socially acceptable for males to get plastic surgery, the popularity of this procedure will only continue to rise. In 2009, nearly 17,000 male breast reduction procedures were performed, in contrast to nearly half that number in 1997. 58% of the male breast reduction procedures were performed on men between the ages 19 and 34.