Gynecomastia, commonly referred to as “man breasts” is an enlargement of one or both of a male’s breasts. This is not getting fat, however. Gynecomastia is when the tissue is enlarged or swollen due to a hormone imbalance. Specifically, gynecomastia’s root cause is the imbalance between estrogen and testosterone. While estrogen is responsible for something like breast size, testosterone controls traits such as muscle mass and body hair. Gynecomastia is thus caused by too much estrogen relative to testosterone levels in men.
Gynecomastia can develop at multiple times in life, because certain points in life are particularly characterized by this hormone imbalance. Newborns have this due to exposure to their mother’s estrogen in the women. In puberty as well, hormone levels are constantly changing and thus gynecomastia can develop. In both these cases, however, the development is only temporary. Where one may pursue treatment for gynecomastia is if it develops after the age of 50, because gynecomastia is quite common in older men (~ 1 in 4 men develop gynecomastia). This is due to hormone changes with age, increased body fat, or possibly some other conditions (eg. testicular cancer, liver disease) or drugs (eg. anabolic steroids).
Liposuction is a procedure that most people probably know the basics of, but let’s quickly detail how it works and why it’s a promising treatment for gynecomastia. First, the area where the fat will be taken from (eg. the abdomen) is marked. An anesthetic is then injected into the area, along with salt water, which helps with the fat removal, and a drug to lessen blood flow to the area that’s about to be cut. After, the cuts are made, and the cannula (tube) of the vacuum is inserted and suctions out the fat and fluid from the area. Finally, an IV tube is used to replenish the lost body fluids.
By removing fat and excess tissue from the breast area, the doctor can change the figure of the chest to one that is more normal. However, there are some side effects of liposuction to keep in mind. Because of how unnatural liposuction is for the body, the contour of the chest may appear irregular due to mass suddenly being removed and the skin not being able to adjust to that immediately, especially in an aging patient. Also, some nerve irritation or numbness can occur. In very rare cases, an embolism may occur. If it does, call emergency medical services. While the downtime is dependent on how much fat is being removed, it is recommended to wait a few days to a few weeks before resuming normal activity.
If you have any questions about this treatment, or want to schedule an appointment, call our office at (609) 587-9944 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.