Gynaecomastia also known as man boobs is the over development of male breast tissue, resulting in abnormal breast tissue and the enlargement of the chest in males. It can happen in males of any age or weight and it is a very common condition amongst men, affecting over 40% of males in Sydney and Australia. Despite its commonality, it is often seen as a source of embarrassment amongst men and is one of the main reasons why men are self-conscious about their bodies. Often men treat this issue through an increase in exercise and improving their diet, however, this is not always successful and is not always the best option for males suffering from this condition.
While gynaecomastia is not physically harmful in most situations, however, it some cases it can be an indicator of other more serious underlying conditions such as testicular cancer. The glandular tissue typically grows under the influence of hormonal situation and is often painful or tender.
The main symptom of Gynaecomastia is the enlargement of the breast area, which can occur on just one side, but more commonly occurs in both breasts. This enlargement leads to a number of sub-symptoms, primarily lowered self-confidence, rashes, increased stressed and embarrassment. While most of these issues are psychological, they can still have a large effect on people’s lives. Additionally, other possible symptoms of Gynaecomastia include an increase in the diameter of the areola, asymmetry of chest tissue and in rare cases a milky discharge, which only occurs in males who have a prolactin secreting tumor.
Gynaecomastia commonly appears in males during infancy, adolescent and in old age. Gynaecomastia is thought to be caused by an altered ratio of androgens to estrogens, which occurs when there is an increase in estrogen production or a decrease in androgen production, or a combination of these two factors. There are two main causes of Gynaecomastia and when treating the issue it is important to know the cause of the issue as different causes require different procedures.
Gynaecomastia in adolescents typically starts between the ages of 10 and 12 and it is usually gone after around 18 months. As men age, declining testosterone levels and an increase in the level of subcutaneous fatty tissue, a part of the normal aging process, leading to gynaecomastia in older men. This is also known as senile gynaecomastia. Additionally, when the body is deprived of adequate nutrition, the levels of testosterone drop, while the adrenal glands continue to produce estrogens, leading to Gynaecomastia. Additionally, gynaecomastia can also occur once normal nutrition returns. A very small population of cases of gynaecomastia in males can be caused by the male inheriting a very rare aromatase excess syndrome inherited in an autosomal dominant manner.
Medications are the cause of between 10-25% of Gynaecomastia. This type of Gynaecomastia is known as non-physiologic Gynaecomastia. There are many medications known to potentially cause Gynaecomastia such as antidepressants, high blood pressure medication, tuberculosis medication, medications used to treat prostate cancer and some chemotherapy agents. Additionally, in rare cases antibiotics, anti-ulcer and cardiovascular medicines have been found to cause Gynaecomastia.
Drug abuse, mainly the use of anabolic steroids, but also opioids, marijuana and excessive alcohol intake can also cause Gynaecomastia in certain males.
Gynaecomastia can be treated in two main ways depending on the severity of the case. In mild cases of Gynaecomastia, the issue can be treated with advice on lifestyle habits such as adequate exercise and proper diet. This is definitely the cheaper and safer option, however, it requires a significant lifestyle change which many people may find difficult. However, remember that the internet provides numerous research on how to improve your diet and exercise habits, so do some research and see if you can treat your Gynaecomastia through this method.
In more severe cases of Gynaecomastia, medical treatments may be tried such as a surgical intervention. This is typically needed when the patient has been attempting to treat their Gynaecomastia through exercise and diet, with inadequate results. When treating Gynaecomastia through medical treatment, it is most effective when performed within the first two years after the start of male breast enlargement.
Surgical approaches to the treatment of gynaecomastia include subcutaneous mastectomy, liposuction assisted mastectomy, laser assisted liposuction and laser-lipolysis without liposuction. Each of these methods have their own advantages and disadvantages and it is important to be aware of these before undergoing a procedure, so that you can choose the procedure that suits you the most.
The basic steps involved in surgical treatment are
- The patient is anesthetized (The procedure can be performed under general or local anaesthesia depending on the patient)
- A small incision is made below the areola region of the breast
- Excess breast tissue is removed surgically
- Excess fat is removed through liposuction
- The incision is sultured
The simple process makes Gynaecomastia treatment easy to understand and allows you to make an informed decision of whether the treatment is appropriate for you or not. To assist further in your decision, take a look at the benefits and risks of gynaecomastia treatment.
Undergoing treatment for Gynaecomastia yields many benefits for not only your physical body, but also your mental state. The main physical benefits of gynaecomastia are a normal male chest contour, making your chest look more natural and correctly proportioned, breast volume is corrected and nipple protrusion is reduced, making you look slimmer and your chest firmer. Additionally, the areas where incisions were made are well hidden and heal inconspicuously in the lower areola edge, making them not noticeable, while making your new chest stand out.
The main psychological benefit is an increase in confidence, which is vital for your mental health. After undergoing this treatment you can freely participate in activities such as sport and going to the beach without feeling embarrassed by your body. This is especially important for people in Sydney, where sport and beaches are such a big part of our culture. So if you want to feel comfortable participating in these activities, but Gynaecomastia is holding you back, surgical treatment may be the solution to your problem.
Risks of Gynaecomastia Surgical Treatment
Like all surgeries, there are risks associated with Gynaecomastia treatment. Common risks involved in Gynaecomastia treatment include
- Bruising pain
Rarer risks involved in Gynaecomastia include
When performing a Gynaecomastia surgical treatment, Dr Young ensures that as many safety procedures are put in place as possible to ensure that the treatment is safe and the risk is minimized. To learn more about the risks of cosmetic surgery, take a look at our article on the risks of cosmetic surgery.
Every person’s recovery is different and recovery time depends on numerous factors such as how you care for yourself after the surgery, your health status, the success of the procedure, the type of procedure as well as numerous other factors. To assist you in your recovery, below you will find information about recovery and care guidelines after your procedure.
After your procedure you will be given compression garments or dressings, the type of dressing depends on your cosmetic surgeon and their preferences. Most surgeons use a dressing or compression garment like vests, ace bandages, elastic bandages or another form of dressing. The amount of time this needs to be worn differs from patient to patient, ranging from a few days to months. So consult your surgeon about how long you will need to wear the dressings/compression garments as these are vital to your recovery.
When recovering from a Gynaecomastia treatment, it is important to rest for at least 3 days at home after the treatment, where movement of the body is limited. You can walk around the house and do most of your regular activities, but avoid heavy lifting, and movement of the arms and chest areas as this will cause complications on the results of your procedure. This may be longer or shorter depending on the patient, however, it is essential for the recovery process.
Following this, the patient may return to non-intensive exercise after two weeks such as prolonged walking and light jogging. More intense exercises such as weightlifting and running can then be resumed after a further 2-3 weeks. Finally chest and intensive abdominal exercises should only be resumed after about 5 weeks after the surgery. However, it is important to remember that this is just a general guideline and recovery times may be longer or shorter depending on a number of factors such as your health status, if other procedures were performed, if any complications occurred and many other factors. To make sure your recovery is as smooth as possible, consult your surgeon as to when you can resume normal activities.
We are here to answer all your questions and address your concerns. Whether you want a few answers before a consultation or want to know if you’re a candidate for this procedure, please don’t hesitate to call us on 1300 46 37 37.
Our experienced Patient Coordinator is also more than happy to answer all your questions via email: email@example.com