It turns out that women aren’t the only ones dissatisfied with their chests these days. “One of the things we’ve noticed in our practice is more men coming in just wanting to make themselves look better and feel better.” says Dr. Dustin Reid of Austin, Texas. The chest is one of the areas that bothers men the most with many developing increased breast tissue either at puberty or later in life, making them feel self conscious and keeping them from doing things like going to the swimming pool, waterskiing, or even wearing a t-shirt. Although hormones, weight fluctuations, genetics and certain drugs like anabolic steroids can all play a part, the exact cause is unknown. But the problem is definitely out of the closet. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, gynecomastia or the male breast reduction is now one of the top 5 most requested procedures for men.
Gynecomastia Is Easily Treated
For most of their patients, Dr. Reid and his colleague Dr. Ashley Gordon treat gynecomastia by simply removing the excess tissue with modern liposuction techniques such as SAFElipo. It’s a simple outpatient procedure. The incisions are easily camouflaged within the armpit. And the patient is back wearing t-shirts in no time. However, there are certain rare cases in which the excess tissue must be excised surgically. This is usually a patient who has lost a massive amount of weight causing the skin to sag and the nipple to fall below the breast crease. This type of case demands a horizontal incision across the chest in order to properly resize and reshape the breast.
With men who develop gynecomastia as teenagers during those formative years where self esteem is developed, it’s extremely important to treat it early. “Because if you wait too long, it can seriously affect their psyche.” says Dr. Reid. Both he and Dr. Gordon have treated men who lived through puberty with gynecomastia and they all wish that they could’ve done something about it earlier.
Pec Implants Are About Shape, Not Volume
Another “hot” procedure for men, according to Dr. Gordon, is pec implants. “Genetically, some men don’t have very well developed pec muscles. They go to the gym and work hard without seeing results.” For them, pec implants can help to accentuate the muscle, bringing it forward. Different than breast implants, the pec implant is a solid silicone device that comes in a variety of different sizes. It’s less about volume than it is about shape. “It’s all about choosing the right dimensions of the implant for the patient’s actual chest wall and the goals that they have.” says Dr. Gordon. Helping a patient to figure out his goals by looking at pictures is of paramount importance. Some men want an implant that just makes their pec muscle look normal while others already have a bit of pec muscle, but want that Arnold Schwarzenegger body builder look. “All can be done safely, but you need to decide with the patient what their goals are” says Dr. Reid.
The Internet Makes Men Feel More Comfortable
Dr. Gordon believes that the internet is one of the main reasons that more men are seeking out plastic surgery. It allows them to start their research from the privacy of their own home without ever having to talk to anyone about something they might find embarrassing. They can read about other patient’s experiences, and look at before and after photos before actually meeting with a surgeon. Because of this, they tend to come in extremely well educated. Which always makes for a happier patient.
Both gynecomastia and pec implants are very rewarding procedures to perform. “Patients are universally happy with a problem they’ve hated all their life and you can make it go away.” says Dr. Reid.