Why Some Men Have “Breasts” & Others Don’t

Let’s take it back; all the way back to birth.  With the exception of a few key anatomical differences between males and females, we are essentially built similarly.  When it pertains to the breasts you may be saying to yourself, “only women have those!”  Well technically you’re incorrect on that statement.  In the medical sense, men and women both have breast tissue from the start.  It’s when we hit puberty that the estrogen versus testosterone component comes into play.  When females enter puberty the hormones stimulate the breast tissue to develop into breasts while the males predominately maintain a flat chest and minimal breast tissue.  For some men however, their breast glands can become enlarged, giving them unusually large breasts.  So, why do some men have breasts and others don’t?  We have a name for the answer: gynecomastia.

To give you a little history lesson, gynecomastia comes from the Greek phrase “woman-like breasts” and is the classification of a medical condition that affects an estimated 40-60% of the male population.  It can affect both breasts, or one or the other, and can make men self-conscious or incredibly embarrassed by the appearance of their overly large breasts.  Typically the root of a patient’s gynecomastia is left unidentified but is largely due to hormone imbalances, genetic predisposition or excess weight gain.  While most gynecomastia cases occur around the time of puberty, men can be affected as well if they have any hormonal level abnormalities or are taking certain medications.

A common misconception about gynecomastia is that because it’s a case of oversized breasts, it must be an issue with fat – one that can be solved with diet and exercise.  Sorry to say you’d be wrong again, folks.  Gynecomastia can only be treated with a male breast reduction procedure.  First, I start by removing the excess breast tissue and fat, by way of liposuction and surgical excision.  Once we get that out, I’ll remove any loose, remaining skin and reposition it to create a smoother chest area.  If you’re one of the rare patients with large areolas (the circular pigmented tissue around the nipple), don’t worry, we want everything to be proportionate to the new breast size so I am able to reduce and reshape the areola as we deem fit to compliment the final look.

As your double board-certified plastic surgeon, my goal is to create a flatter, firmer chest.  I want my patients to be confident with their male breast reduction results and regain their self-confidence.  A word to the wise though – if you start to gain weight and abandon proper exercise and healthy eating, the extra pounds could cause your breasts to become enlarged again, and we certainly wouldn’t want that for you.  Do your work and enjoy your results for as long as possible.  If you believe you suffer from gynecomastia and would like to discuss your male breast reduction opportunities, please don’t hesitate to contact Southern Plastic Surgery.  Keep up with the latest plastic surgery news by following me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Teens and Plastic Surgery: When Is It Beneficial?

I’ve noticed lately a lot of discussion about teenagers and plastic surgery in the news.  When I hear of stories like the “Kylie Jenner Challenge” (a social media frenzy where teens/young adults attempted to suck the air out of shot glasses to create the celebrity’s now infamous “pouty” look; followed by posting videos/pictures of their severely swollen lips after realizing it doesn’t work that way), I am reminded of the real implications society and social media has on teenagers when it pertains to cosmetic plastic surgery.  Collectively, we tend to put age limits on many things and when it comes to our kids, there can be a fine line when considering how young is too young for cosmetic procedures.  Whichever side of the debate you’re on is entirely your own, but let’s take a look at why I believe plastic surgery can be beneficial for some of the younger generation.

Teens and Plastic SurgeryThere are distinct divisions for plastic surgery motivations when it comes to teenagers and they aren’t all that different to those of adult plastic surgery patients.  There are those who may obsess on wanting to address a specific body issue (we call this body dysmorphic disorder; when a patient focuses on their body image negatively and are never satisfied with the way they look), those that are truly suffering physically and emotionally from their physical appearance and then there are those who simply want to enhance certain features (this could be a temporary fad or motivated by public figures as seen on television, movies, etc.).  As a double-board certified plastic surgeon, for me, I work with young patients (and their parents) who are highly motivated for the right reasons, emotionally mature and have also reached physical maturity.  When you have this combination, the procedure becomes more of a necessity for improving the overall quality of life for the teen and in the end, I really do believe that not only the patient, but also the family benefits.

When I speak about procedures among teens, I’m referring to cosmetic procedures and not necessarily medically-required procedures.  Common procedures among my patients in high school and early college years include rhinoplasty (nose surgery), otoplasty (ear surgery) and breast reduction. Overly large breasts can create a number of concerns for young women and men.  It can be especially difficult for student athletes to actively engage in their sport if their breasts cause discomfort and hinder their performance.  In this case, a breast reduction would be explored to remove the excess fat and tissue to a more proportionate breast to body frame ratio.  When a patient approaches a surgical procedure, we want to make sure the body has developed so that significant plastic surgery results aren’t reversed.   For some patients, the nose is such a distinct part of the face and whether it may be too large or perhaps crooked, can cause young patients emotional discomfort.  The facial structure for females matures at age 15 and for men in their early 20’s and at this stage in their growth, rhinoplasty would be the procedure we would explore.  Finally otoplasty, or ear pinning, is ideal for those who want to reduce the size of their large, protruding ears (think along the lines of elephant ears) that make the face unbalanced.

I’m not saying this as a means of encouraging young teens to head to their nearest plastic surgeon if they are unhappy with their appearance; I take this very seriously and spend a lot of time with my young patients and their families when discussing all possible treatment.  The parents should be knowledgeable in the techniques and recovery related to the procedure and willing to consent to their child having the procedure.  In the end, the plastic surgery results that a teen undergoes can have such a positive influence on their wellbeing and ultimately that of family and friends as past insecurities diminish and newly increased self-esteem takes its place.

Don’t hesitate to contact Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C. (SPS) with any questions or concerns you have regarding the procedures we perform and your future cosmetic planning.  You can also keep up with me, Dr. David Whiteman, and the rest of my SPS team on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery topics and news.

The Benefits of Combining Plastic Surgery Procedures

During consultations, Dr. David Whiteman meets with patients who often express aesthetic concerns for more than one area of their face and/or body. At Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C., Dr. Whiteman offers procedures like facial rejuvenation and mommy makeover surgery that combine cosmetic treatments into a single procedure. Combining procedures lends other advantages in addition to overall rejuvenation as patients can avoid having two or more separate operations and recovery periods to reduce facility and anesthesia costs and overall downtime.

discussing options with plastic surgeonMany patients interested in facial procedures may want to smooth wrinkles and furrows while also addressing features like the nose or eyes. Cosmetic procedures such as blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), facelift, and rhinoplasty can all address signs of aging including drooping skin, wrinkles, and lines. Botox® and facial fillers can also be applied with surgical procedures for improved anti-aging results. By combining procedures, Dr. Whiteman can help patients achieve a more refreshed, balanced look.

Breast augmentation and breast lift surgery can be performed at the same time to restore breasts for a more youthful look. Breast augmentation and reduction adjust breast shape and volume while a lift removes excess skin and tightens the areas surrounding the breasts. In addition to the breast procedures mentioned above, body procedures can be combined as well.

Body procedures can be combined to achieve a leaner contour as liposuction removes unwanted fat while abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) eliminates loose, hanging skin. Breast surgery and body contouring procedures are commonly combined in a procedure known as mommy makeover to help women achieve pre-baby bodies.

It’s important for patients to have good overall health prior to choosing combination procedures as time under anesthesia is longer and complication risk can increase. After surgery, Dr. Whiteman strongly recommends adapting a healthy diet and regular exercise routine to maintain and improve plastic surgery results. Dr. Whiteman shares his special interest of health and wellness through his blog including exercise and diet tips, healthy recipes, and safely healing from your procedure. If you’re interested in mommy makeover or any other procedure, contact us today to schedule a consultation. Connect with Southern Plastic Surgery on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more plastic surgery news and our latest specials.