Dreading taking your shirt off or working out in a tank top thanks to your man boobs? You’re not along. Formally known as gynaecomastia, “man boobs” is a common health issue with a significant rise in the number of adolescent and adult men experiencing the problem.
What causes gynaecomastia?
The occurrence of excess fat or fibrous glandular tissue in the breast region is typically attributed to hormone imbalances and obesity. It’s natural for males to produce the sex hormones oestrogen and testosterone. However, those with gynaecomastia have much higher levels of oestrogen than what’s considered normal. This can occur as an infant, during puberty or throughout adulthood.
Carrying extra weight can also cause an increase in oestrogen levels. While losing body fat for some men can made a difference, in many cases the presence of excess breast tissue simply can’t be resolved through weight loss. This is why the popularity of man boob surgery is increasing worldwide. In fact, it’s the third most popular cosmetic surgery for men in the US behind nose shaping and eyelid surgery.
Besides natural causes, gynecomastia can be caused by excessive alcohol use, genetics, infections or organ failure. The use of drugs and medications including anabolic steroids can stimulate the growth of breast tissue.
Treating gynaecomastia with surgery
If you’ve been working out in the gym and adhering to a healthy diet for some time, and are yet to see any reduction in your man boobs, surgery may be of benefit.
Excess fat can be easily removed during a liposuction procedure. Usually this is performed under a local anaesthetic where a small incision is made to allow for the fat to be suctioned away. If there is also an excess of glandular tissue, this is simply removed via a small incision.
As most men won’t require a general anaesthetic, the surgery is only a day procedure with patients being able to return to the comforts of their home just a few hours after the treatment.
The results can be seen in as little as six weeks
Many guys have been struggling with their chest size since their teenage years. While they’re eager to see the results from their surgery, it’s understandable that it does take the body a bit of time to heal and adjust following the procedure.
To ensure optimum recovery, patients will wear a compression garment for 3 – 6 weeks. It’s not that attractive, but won’t limit range of movement or be too visible under clothing. Usually guys begin to see the results in as little as 6 weeks depending on the amount of swelling. This is a pretty short time to wait, especially for those who’ve experienced the condition since early childhood.
While you might be eager to head back to the gym and lift again, it’s worth speaking to your surgeon about your exercise program. Most will be able to get back to their everyday activities within 2 – 3 weeks, but heavy chest presses may have to wait.
The financial costs of gynaecomastia surgery
The costs of gynaecomastia surgery differ depending on the extent of the excess breast tissue and the individual patient’s requirements. An experienced surgeon will be tailoring the surgery to suit your body shape and contours so that the results look as natural as possible. Some patient’s also want to address other stubborn areas of fat at the same time, making the most of the opportunity.
In some cases the cost of gynaecomastia surgery will be covered by the patient’s insurance plan. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons stands by the position those with gynaecomastia of a grade two and up should be covered. However, not all insurance providers go by these recommendations and not all policies cover the surgery.
Consideration is usually given when pain is experienced because of the excess breast fat and tissue, and a qualified physician has diagnosed the condition. Cover may also be given for those who’ve received a diagnosis confirming the abnormality can only be corrected through surgery or that it’s leading to physical and physiological problems affecting daily life.
Undergoing gynecomastia surgery isn’t just about vanity. For many men, the surgery can help restore their self-confidence, improving their body image and self-worth. It can help correct physical discomfort, improving how they live and view life.