One of the most valuable aspects of plastic surgery is its ability to correct the deficits in appearance that can make us ashamed or self-conscious, removing the roadblocks that can stand in the way of living a confident, fulfilling life. One concern, which affects an estimated 30 to 40% of men at some point in their lives, is gynecomastia, an enlargement of the male breast tissue. Fortunately, according to statistics published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of men seeking treatment for this embarrassing condition has steadily risen over the past several years, increasing by nearly 15% in 2014, as more and more men come to realize that they no longer need to suffer in silence.
Gynecomastia refers to an overdevelopment of one or both male breasts, where the glandular tissue swells and forms a breast bud which can grow in size over time. Although there is a common misconception that gynecomastia is merely the result of obesity or advancing age, this condition can actually occur in babies, teen boys, and adults regardless of their weight or physical condition. Most often it is due to an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone, which frequently occurs during puberty when normal levels of hormone production are in flux. However, certain medications or underlying health issues, such as some types of cancer or an overactive thyroid, may also be the cause. In most cases, particularly those of infants or teens, the problem can resolve itself, fading away within six months to two years, but in cases where the condition persists or grows worse over time, male breast reduction surgery may help.
There are different ways to address gynecomastia, depending on its underlying cause. If it is caused by medicine or disease, for example, then stopping the medicine or treating the disease will often cure the gynecomastia. Further, cases caused by a lack of testosterone or an increase in estrogen may often be addressed with hormonal treatment. If these approaches prove unsuccessful, however, surgery can be performed to reduce breast size and flatten the chest contours. Candidates for this procedure include men who are physically healthy and of relatively normal weight, whose breast development has stabilized and who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing. In some very rare cases, where gynecomastia is primarily the result of excess fatty tissue, reduction can be accomplished through liposuction techniques alone, requiring only small incisions and relatively little downtime. However, it is much more common for liposuction techniques to be used in conjunction with the surgical removal of glandular breast tissue or excess skin in order to achieve the best possible plastic surgery results. Excision may also be necessary if the areola needs to be reduced or the nipple repositioned to a more natural-looking position.
If you have additional questions about gynecomastia or are interested in learning more details about any of the procedures we offer, please contact Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. at one of our Atlanta, Alpharetta, Cumming, or Newnan offices to schedule a consultation. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery news.