The most commonly treated areas of the body for male patients include the abdominal region, the back, love handles the lower flank area), and the chest (gynecomastia).
Gynecomastia occurs when men develop female-like breasts. Breast hypertrophy, or abnormal glandular breast overgrowth, afflicts as many as 65% of adolescent males and 10-15% of adult males. Correction of gynecomastia, also known as male breast reduction is one of the top five cosmetic surgery procedures performed on men.
Young men with gynecomastia may be self conscious, hiding behind loose-fitting clothing, and embarrassed to remove their shirts at the gym, pool, or beach. Because this medical condition is often affected by hormones, no amount of exercise can reduce the look of what’s often known as “man-boobs”.
Most commonly, male breast reduction involves making an incision along the bottom border of the areola. Liposuction is employed to remove the fatty component that is contributing to the fullness of the chest and then the glandular breast tissue is surgically removed. Usually this is sufficient in mild to moderate cases of gynecomastia. In severe forms of gynecomastia there may be significant excess of sagging breast skin, in which case some excess skin may be removed and lifted to create a smother looking chest area. When skin is removed, somewhat longer scars are created.
Gynecomastia occurs when there is an imbalance in the amount of testosterone and estrogen hormones in the male body. If there is a relatively low testosterone:estrogen ratio, male breast tissue on both sides of the chest is stimulated and enlarges. In most cases, the cause is unkown. Medications you are taking for other medical conditions may be the cause of gynecomastia. In particular, anabolic steroids or prohormones used by bodybuilders may be the culprit. Breakdown products of these drugs may undergo a process in the body called aromatization and develop into estrogen like compounds, upsetting the hormone balance. Although one may stop drug use, often the enlarged tissue persists.
Other medical issues may cause gynecomastia such as hormone producing tumors of the pituitary or adrenal gland. One sided swelling of the chest should be examined closely to make sure it is not due to male breast cancer. Any unexplained acute onset of gynecomastia should be looked at by your physician.
After undergoing a correction of gynecomastia, I have you wear a spandex like compression vest for about 4 weeks. This helps the skin redrape in a more smooth contour. Scars fade with time. Usually one can get back to non-chest exercises in two weeks and training the chest in 4 weeks.