According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), about half of all men are affected by gynecomastia, characterized by excess fat and/or glandular tissue that leads to enlarged breasts.
Although you don’t hear much about this condition, experts say it is quite common and may affect as many as 50 to 70 percent of men to varying degrees throughout their lives. This abnormality typically is caused by a hormonal imbalance beginning in puberty, but it also can be triggered by certain prescription drugs or excessive smoking of marijuana, according to experts.
Men, for the most part, have shied away from cosmetic surgery especially for something as potentially embarrassing as oversize breasts. Women are roughly 3X as likely as men to say they have had cosmetic surgery.
Fearing the stigma of gynecomastia, some men have gone to extremes to flatten their chests with duct tape or wearing shirts that compress their chests. Now, however, cosmetic surgery for men is winning wider acceptance. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported in 2016 that 27,760 men underwent breast-reduction surgery, marking a 36% increase since 2000. Some plastic surgeons say they have seen as much as a doubling or tripling of business over the past three years, despite costs that are generally not covered by health insurance.
There are still a lot of unknowns about the causes of gynecomastia, but scientists mostly cite hormonal imbalances. Unlike the enlarged breasts on overweight or obese men that contain large deposits of fat, gynecomastia can affect boys going through puberty, middle-aged men and the elderly, regardless of the general condition of their bodies or how much they weigh.
For gynecomastia sufferers who can’t be helped by a change in a drug prescription, diet or exercise, breast surgery has become a more attractive alternative. Because improved technology allows patients to forgo general anesthesia, the surgery in most cases can be performed on an outpatient basis and the recovery time has been slashed considerably, so that men can get back to work within a few days.
If you or someone you know is considering a breast reduction, contact our office today and schedule a consultation with Dr. Hricko to see if gynecomastia surgery is the right option.