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Breast Reduction (Men)

Men who have conditions such as gynecomastia (abnormally enlarged male breasts) may seek a breast reduction surgery.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast reduction in men increased 142%, from nearly 5,000 procedures in 1992 to just over 12,000 surgeries in 2001.

Liposuction of the male breast is one of the four areas on men most commonly treated by liposuction. The other areas are the abdomen, flanks, and facial liposuction. Men with excessive fat in their breasts are good candidates for liposuction.

Gynecomastia is an enlarged male breast caused by excessive glandular tissue. Excess breast tissue occurs in about 75% of young boys during puberty. This condition is usually temporary, and only lasts a few months. In 33% of puberal cases, the condition subsided within 1 year, and in 93% of cases, the condition subsided in 3 years.

Gynecomastia can be treated by eliminating the cause or by surgical excision (reduction mammoplasty).

Some causes of gynecomastia:
• alcoholism
• effect of medications
• low levels of testosterone
• renal failure
• testicular cancer
• adrenal tumors
• cirrhosis of the liver
• severe starvation
• lung cancer
• tuberculosis
• hyperthyroidism

If a man has a single enlarged breast, it may be a breast tumor and a doctor may consider a mammogram.

Male breast reduction may be discouraged if you are obese, or if you are overweight and have not first attempted to lose the fat around the breast area with an exercise or weight loss program. If you use drugs that may cause the condition (see sidebar), you are not a good candidate. Your doctor would first advise you to stop using these drugs or to switch to other medications that do not cause it. Never stop taking a prescription medication without talking to your doctor first.

In addition to taking a thorough medical history, your surgeon will also assess whether you have any allergies or have had any prior surgeries in the chest region. He or she will also perform a physical exam to measure the extent of excess fat and glandular tissue in the chest area. Your surgeon will also likely conduct diagnostic testing to determine the underlying cause of your enlarged breasts. This will include tests of your endocrine function. The endocrine glands secrete the hormones that have been linked to enlarged breasts.


1Ersek RA, Schaeferele M, Beckham PH, Salisbury MA, Gynecomastia: A clinical review, Aesth Surg J 2000, 20:55-58


Medicine Net

Smart Breast Reduction (dot) com

Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery By Denise Mann; reviewed by Walter Erhardt, MD

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