No matter the cause, it’s hard for men to swallow the need for a male breast reduction. “Man boobs” are, however, a real thing. Fortunately there is a real solution.
Gynecomastia is the condition where males have too much breast tissue, often creating what is colloquially known as “man boobs.” While discouraging – especially considering the condition begins during puberty – there is a surgical solution akin to a female breast reduction. Last year the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) found men accounted for over 40% of all aesthetic breast reductions performed in this country. Dr. Richard Restifo is a board certified plastic surgeon who performs male breast reduction regularly, and routinely sees the profound change it imparts on his patients.
.some men have an excessive amount which can make them feel insecure and less manly.The feeling is that breasts are something that a woman has, not a man.
Who Is the Gynecomastia Patient?
“It is normal for a man to have breast tissue. Many men don’t realize that,” says Restifo. Male breast reduction patients can range anywhere from the 15 year old boy who just went through puberty to the 40 plus year old man who has put on some weight. “It really runs the spectrum.”
Part of the reason for this is that there are any number of things that can cause a man to develop excess breast tissue. Hormones are the most common cause, which is why gynecomastia often first appears during puberty. In addition, weight gain, aging, drugs such as steroids and certain diseases can also play a part.
Regardless of the reason, no man wants the kind of breast tissue gynecomastia brings, especially for the men who work tirelessly on their physiques. These men watch what they eat and train their chests for those plate mail- like pecs, but the unfortunate truth is breast tissue isn’t fat. A bodybuilder can get down to 4% body fat and still have breast tissue.
There’s a Stigma Attached to Male Breast Tissue
There’s a stigma attached to men having breasts. As Restifo explains it, “patients with breast tissue look at it as though it is something that they did wrong or something that’s wrong with them. Somehow they’re not a man if they have breast tissue.” While some men can bring it on themselves by taking certain drugs, for the most, it is something outside of their control.
In younger patients, especially teens, it can cause very intense body image issues. And while re-growth of the breast tissue after it is removed is a potential problem in younger patients, the surgeon must weigh this against the emotional toll that having excess breast tissue can impart. Patients who are 14-15 still have another 3-4 years of hormonal changes, so Restifo will typically advise those who have only been suffering for 6 months to wait to have surgery.
Male Breast Reduction Surgery
Recovery from gynecomastia surgery is pretty straight forward:
- The patient needs to lay low for about 4-6 weeks
- No gym or exercise – which is usually the hardest things for many of the younger patients
Dr. Restifo continually states the immensely high patient satisfaction rate he sees post surgery. It restores a sense of normalcy to patients, allowing them to go to the beach, to the gym and wear cool, tight fitting t-shirts without the fear of being ridiculed. And even if patients have waited decades, it’s never too late to undergo a lasting, positive change.