Many people see plastic surgery as holding more appeal for women than for men, with the assumption that women are more concerned about their appearance. While this is often the case, I have been seeing more and more male patients as men begin to recognize the benefits of a masculine, natural-looking cosmetic surgery result. One of the most common concerns these men want to address is chest enlargement, or male breasts. This condition, referred to as either gynecomastia (excess breast tissue) or pseudogynecomastia (excess fat), can typically be treated with great success and minimal scarring by a board-certified plastic surgeon.
While all men have some degree of glandular breast tissue, some men develop enough to form enlarged, female-like breasts. This can be caused by hormonal changes, weight fluctuations, the use of certain drugs or medications, and even heredity. But whatever the culprit may be, gynecomastia can make men feel highly self-conscious both with and without a shirt on. The condition typically doesn’t resolve on its own without cosmetic surgery, so many patients ask, “how do I know if I can just have liposuction to remove the fat or if I need to have breast tissue removed, too?”
It’s understandable for patients to prefer liposuction to male breast reduction, because the scars liposuction causes are extremely small—just a few millimeters long. This makes them particularly discreet and difficult to see. Breast tissue, on the other hand, is more dense than fat, so it cannot be removed through the narrow tube we use for liposuction. The fact is that most men will need some degree of breast tissue removed in addition to the fat, but the good news is that this can actually be done with less scarring than patients generally expect. I often begin with liposuction throughout the chest area, then simply make a small incision across the bottom of each areola to remove the breast tissue from each side. In severe cases of gynecomastia in which the skin has become stretched (particularly in older men or those who have lost extreme amounts of weight), some skin removal may be required in order to achieve the results the patient is looking for, but the majority of men can attain the masculine contours they want with liposuction and breast tissue removal alone.
Whether your chest enlargement is primarily caused by excess fat or glandular breast tissue, it’s crucial that you take steps to prevent the gynecomastia from returning after surgery. This means maintaining a stable weight, keeping alcohol consumption moderate, and avoiding certain drugs like anabolic steroids and marijuana. If your chest has stabilized in size and you’re ready to regain a firmer and more masculine shape, schedule your pre-surgical consultation with me today. Or, for more plastic surgery tips and helpful information, follow me, Dr. Franklyn Elliott, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.