Breast surgery is not just for women. In fact, a male breast reduction is a fairly common procedure to reduce enlarged male breasts – a condition also known as gynecomastia.
What Causes Enlarged Male Breasts?
Enlarged male breasts are caused by excess fat and glandular tissue in the chest area. These “man boobs” can be brought on by the aging process as the skin loses its elasticity, but even younger people can be affected. Up to 50% of men in the United States are estimated to experience some degree of gynecomastia during their lifetime.
Men actually have breasts, and even milk ducts. That sounds crazy, right? For most men, however, the breast tissue does not develop like it does for women due to high levels of testosterone starting in puberty.
There are certain medical conditions that cause a swelling of breast tissue and even tenderness. This is typically caused by variations in testosterone and estrogen levels.
But most men who complain about male breasts simply have too much fat on their chests.
How to Reduce Male Breasts
Obviously, weight loss is one option to reduce male breasts. Some of the excess volume is caused by fat pockets, and losing body fat overall will also have an effect on the chest. Strategies for sustainable weight loss include setting realistic goals, such as 1-2 lbs a week, keeping a food diary, and cutting out foods with high calorie count and low nutritional value like soda and sugary snacks.
While it’s hard to target fat loss in one particular area of the body, you can do certain exercises to strengthen the muscles in specific areas. It’s probably best to use cardiovascular exercise to help you lose weight in general, combined with exercises to strengthen the chest muscles. If you don’t have access to a gym, especially now that you may find it too risky to attend one, simple exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and various exercises using elastic bands can go a long way.
In some cases, losing weight with diet and exercise is simply not enough to reduce enlarged male breasts. Often times, the culprit is not only fat but also excess glandular tissue. Even otherwise lean patients can have enlarged breasts. In such cases, a cosmetic procedure called a male breast reduction is the only effective treatment with long-lasting results.
Do You Need Surgery for a Male Breast Reduction?
The good news is that there are different options for a male breast reduction procedure. You don’t have to have invasive surgery coupled with a long recovery and scar to get rid of those pesky man boobs.
In fact, plastic surgeons turn more and more to liposuction to perform male breast reductions. While this may sound like an old technology that’s been around forever and isn’t “modern,” nothing could be further from the truth. Due to advances in technology, we now have a much wider range of techniques allowing for less-invasive fat removal than before.
One such method is BodyTite, a technology that was pioneered by Dr. Mark Peters of NuBody Concepts Germantown. Coupled with liposuction to suction off fat cells, BodyTite uses Radio Frequency Assisted Liposuction (RFAL) to heat the deep and superficial fatty tissue layers of the skin, thereby tightening and improving the contours in the treated areas. Studies have shown that BodyTite achieves 35% to 45% skin contraction over the course of six months to a year.
There are still instances of Gynecomastia that require surgery to excise the residual gland. But with BodyTite as an option to tighten the skin, a very small excision is typically sufficient to remove the breast gland. A consultation with a plastic surgeon can help you find out which type of procedure works best for you.
What to Expect from a Male Breast Reduction
A minimally-invasive male breast reduction works like any liposuction procedure: The patient receives local anesthesia with sedation to help with minor discomfort, and the surgeon makes a small incision on either side of the chest. The fat is suctioned off through these incisions, while the chest is sculpted to its trimmer contour. Many patients like to combine this with liposuction on other areas such as love handles or the lower abdomen. Adding BodyTite to your liposuction will help with tightening the skin. In cases where there is residual glandular tissue, the surgeon may excise it with minor surgery.
Breast reductions performed in this manner have a fast recovery. Most patients are able to return to work or their regular activities within 1-2 days as tolerated. You will typically have to refrain from strenuous exercise for 1-2 weeks, but most activities will not be impacted. As an added bonus, any scarring caused by the small incisions typically disappears within a few weeks, leaving you without any outward signs of having had the procedure.
Your results after a male breast reduction are going to be permanent. This means the fat and tissue that was removed will be gone. However, this doesn’t mean that new fat could not accumulate after significant weight gain. It is therefore important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Many patients find that it is easier to stay motivated to maintain their great new looks than trying to use diet and exercise to achieve a trimmer body. A male breast reduction is a great way to achieve results that affect your looks and confidence for the rest of your life.
If you’re ready to get started or would like to learn more, schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon today!