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Though rarely discussed, an estimated 40 to 60 percent of the adult male population is afflicted with “women-like breasts” to at least some degree. This condition may affect one or both breasts, and is most noticeable at a beach or pool or in a locker room. For those who are self-conscious about their condition, known as gynecomastia (the Greek word for women-like breasts), a plastic surgeon can perform breast-reduction surgery.
Similar in many ways to the procedure for women, gynecomastia removes fat and/or some glandular tissue from the breasts and, in extreme cases, excess skin as well. The result: a firmer, flatter, better-contoured and masculine chest.
Candidates for male breast reduction include physically healthy men who are looking to improve breasts that are more feminine than masculine in appearance. The best results are often achieved on those with firm, elastic skin. Surgery is not advised for individuals who drink or smoke heavily or take steroids until these habits have been stopped. Surgery is also not recommended for obese men or overweight men who have not yet tried to improve their breast appearance through exercise and weight loss.
During the course of their lives, males are likely to develop prominent breast tissue during three stages in their development. First, when they are neonates and maternal estrogens are still dominant in their systems. Secondly, when they hit puberty. During puberty, hormone imbalances and fluxuations result in a relative estrogen excess compared to testostornes. The final stage where men are likely to develop gynecomastia is when they become elderly. Older individuals also have a relative decrease in their testosterone levels.
Gynecomastia can be categorized into one of four types
The first step in treating gynecomastia is to determine its etiology. Physical examination, laboratory and imaging studies need to be performed to rule out non-physiological causes of gynecomastia. Once life-threating causes, such as cancer or organ failure, are ruled out, the cosmetic aspects of gynecomastia can easily be treated using either advanced liposuction techniques or direct surgical excision to re-establish a male chest contour. The optimal technique for correcting gynecomastia depends upon the nature and severity of the gynecomastia.