The Surgeon Minute

Restoring Self-Confidence in Males Afflicted with Gynecomastia

Restoring Self-Confidence in Males Afflicted with Gynecomastia

At the same time teenage girls are wondering when their breasts are going to grow, some teenage boys are wondering when their breasts are going to go away. Around 12% of males are afflicted by an overgrowth of breast tissue that effectively gives them breasts. The condition is called gynecomastia, and the results on male self-esteem can be severely detrimental. Dr. Shaun Parson, a board certified plastic surgeon in Scottsdale, routinely sees patients suffering from gynecomastia and has chosen to treat these ailing boys (and men) so they can restore, and even gain for the first time, their self-confidence.

By Shaun Parson, MD
and Adam McMillon

n5551142A condition that can destroy male confidence and self-esteem: Gynecomastia

No matter your sex, everyone wants to look great. Slim midsections, toned arms, and a nice overall figure. When young people are becoming sexually mature, they are looking to establish themselves psychologically as adults, as well as physically attractive. If they find themselves lacking in the latter category, it can directly affect their self-confidence and self-esteem.

One of the hardest situations during this time is young males who have an overgrowth of breast tissue, a condition known as gynecomastia. “The definition of gynecomastia is normal breast tissue (that we all have) that is overdeveloped,” says Dr. Parson. “For young boys, it can bring up all sorts of negative connotations. One of the social derivatives is a “moob” or a “man boob”, and there are others less acceptable descriptions to even say.

“They don’t feel right. They don’t feel masculine.”

Solving the problem for ailing youth, and even adults

While the most commonly discussed gynecomastia cases revolve around young males, the condition, if unaddressed, can persist far into adulthood. “Gynecomastia affects half of all adolescent boys as they’re growing up,” says Parson. “For the majority of that half, it ends up just going away. In the remaining group of kids where it doesn’t go away, a lot of the times those kids need treatment, or would benefit from treatment.”


Concern for gynecomastia may start in a pediatrician’s office, but a successful treatment might only be found in the office of an experienced plastic surgeon. “As a physician, you really want to focus on a few things,” says Parson. “You want to excise (remove) the tissue, as well as use liposuction to smooth the area. There’s always a component of fatty tissue that’s in the chest, and that’s why a plastic surgeon is better at dealing with this. A general surgeon is typically going to excise the area, where a plastic surgeron is going to have more expertise and finesse at smoothing the area with liposuction.”

Restoring lost self-confidence at any age

A young male affected by gynecomastia and treated in adolescence could have the self-esteem issue solved before it gets out of hand. For some males who’ve struggled with their appearance for their entire lives, the psychological wounds are slower to heal following treatment, but can and have been healed.

“It’s one of those things where patients say, ‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?’,” says Parson. “They’re back in normal exercise patterns within 3-6 weeks, depending on the degree of gynecomastia. For the smaller cases, it’s quick, they’re back, and they’re doing things they never thought they could do.”

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