Posted on August - 06 - 2011
Part I: Men and Plastic Surgery
Gynecomastia: Getting It Off Their Chest
Most people think cosmetic surgery is reserved for women. And, while most procedures are performed on women, men are becoming more open about their desire to look good, too.
We’re accustomed to hearing about breast surgery in women, but men? In men, there is a phenomenon that occurs in which men develop enlarged breasts during puberty or later in life called gynecomastia.
According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Gynocmastia was the fourth most popular procedures for men, with nearly 19,000 surgeries performed last year.
Gynecomastia occurs most often at puberty but fortunately, it usually goes away during the late teen years. As you can imagine, it can be devastating for a young man’s self-esteem.
As well, many men in their 50’s or 60’s will develop gynecomastia, even in the absence of weight gain. What happens is that a certain amount of testosterone is converted (or aromatized) into estrogen, and the estrogen causes breast enlargement. When body builders take “anabolic steroids,” testosterone or one of its various forms to build more muscle mass, they often develop gynecomastia for the same reason. In these cases, taking a prescription medication to reduce this aromatization into estrogen can easily prevent gynecomastia. I do not endorse the taking of anabolic steroids for this purpose, however. Those taken by mouth can destroy one’s liver and other side effects are acne, stretch marks, and hair loss. Steroids should be prescribed and monitored by one’s physician.
Removing excess breast tissue requires plastic surgery through a small incision between the areolar around the nipple and the skin. A scar placed in the area of color difference is usually barely perceptible. Sometimes liposuction is also necessary. Gynecomastia surgery can be performed either under local or general anesthesia, and it is one of the most gratifying procedures performed on men.
Check back in next week where we’ll discuss more about the latest innovations and most popular procedures for men.
E. Ronald Finger, MD, FACS
Website: Finger & Associates