Have you ever heard of gynecomastia before? Perhaps not. What about ‘man boobs’, ‘man breasts’, or even ‘moobs’? Ah, there you go. Gynecomastia is just the fancy word for this condition.
This month, we take a close look at what exactly gynecomastia is, how it occurs, and why exercise and diet won’t necessarily combat it.
We’ll also run over the procedure Cairns Plastic Surgery offers to remove the tissue and therefore reduce the size of male breasts (it’s called subcutaneous mastectomy, but we’ll get to that a bit later.)
What is gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a male condition where excess tissue grows creating fuller and enlarged breasts. This a non-cancerous increase is normally due to hormone imbalance.
This is why gynecomastia is so common amongst teenage boys: hormones are running rampant during these years! Imbalances – like too much oestrogen and too little testosterone – can result in the condition gynecomastia.
Gynecomastia – or man boobs – affects about half of adolescent males and about one-third of men beyond adulthood. (And did you know it’s also common amongst newborns due to the influence of maternal hormones?)
In many cases, young boys will find that the size of their breasts will decrease (and as such return to ‘normal’) as their hormones regulate and they exit their teenage years. This is why surgery isn’t normally recommended during these years.
There is however, a large chance that gynecomastia will not diminish after puberty. This is when surgery becomes a viable option. But first… what about diet and exercise?
Diet and exercise won't necessarily make your man boobs disappear. But it all depends on the kind gynecomastia you have: a build up of fat or a build up of tissue.
Why can’t diet and exercise get rid of my man boobs?
Before your mind has even reached surgery, you’ve probably considered the two most popular methods to remove man boobs: diet and exercise.
But first, you must understand the cause of your man boobs in the first place. You see, there are two common reasons for a male’s breasts to enlarge: tissue increase and fat increase. Knowing the difference between these two is knowing the correct treatment to pursue.
First is what we have already covered, gynecomastia, which occurs because of a hormonal imbalance. This does not mean there is an increase or build up of fat; it is tissue. That is why exercise and diet cannot shrink the size of your breasts – diet and exercise will not remove tissue.
Fat, on the other hand, can be burned with diet and exercise, which is why if your man boobs are not a result of gynecomastia, then eating well and working out can be a great solution! (If your man boobs are due to weight gain, from, say, a bad diet, this condition is called ‘pseudogynecomastia’.)
If your medical practitioner has determined your enlarged breasts are due to a hormonal imbalance, then you’re probably looking at the next step to take – surgery.
Gynecomastia surgery: what is male subcutaneous mastectomy?
The surgery procedure designed to remove tissue from male breasts is normally referred to as male subcutaneous mastectomy.
So what exactly is it?
First, what it isn’t
Male subcutaneous mastectomy is not a procedure that removes the entire breast. You are probably more familiar with the term ‘double mastectomy’ or ‘total mastectomy’, which means the breast is removed and reconstructive surgery normally follows.
This is normally undertaken as a preventative measure against breast cancer in the future. Many female celebrities have undergone this surgery, including Angelina Jolie and Christina Applegate.
Man boobs surgery
Subcutaneous mastectomy, on the other hand is a procedure conducted by removing excess tissue through a small incision that leaves the skin, areola, and nipple intact.
Males who undergo this surgery enjoy a flatter chest and boost to their confidence!
Post-surgery risks include bruising which may last for a few weeks, and swelling, which can last longer. It may be several months before the swelling has fully reduced and your breasts have assumed their final shape and size.
Organise a free consultation with a Cairns Plastic Surgery nurse
We understand that this kind of condition can be a bit embarrassing to talk about. With any abnormality or condition, it’s difficult for people to truly understand how you feel if they aren’t experiencing it themselves. And while it mightn’t be life threatening, it can deeply affect self-esteem and overall body image.
Above all, it’s not something that you have to just get over and deal with – there is a solution!
If your man boobs are getting you down and you want a confidential chat with one of our friendly nurses, contact Cairns Plastic Surgery today. Fill in this form or give us a call – we’re here to help!