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+.