Men are often overlooked when we think of being self-conscious about weight problems, but in reality, men can be just as concerned as women. Whether it’s competing for jobs, or just wanting to look good socially, the body area men are often very self-conscious about is the chest.
Male breast reductions in Melbourne
Enlarged male breasts, when caused by a hormonal imbalance, are a medical condition that results in what’s known as gynaecomastia: enlarged male breast tissue. This condition may require gynaecomastia removal surgery.
Breast tissue development or a fatty chest is one of the most common issues to affect how a man sees himself and it can affect the perception of masculinity, and in some cases cause debilitating problems of self-consciousness and shame.
What gynaecomastia is and is not
Frequently the breast/chest area in men can enlarge with weight gain, which is most commonly due to simple lifestyle changes. This situation is not gynaecomastia.
For a percentage of men, an increase in chest proportions can be affected by the amount of oestrogen in the body, causing an increase in glandular breast tissue combined with fat. This is gynaecomastia.
What causes gynaecomastia?
The specific causes of gynaecomastia remain uncertain, although it has generally been attributed to an imbalance of sex hormones or the tissue responsiveness to hormones, in particular oestrogen.
Frustratingly, the extra fat and duct tissue stored in the chest is not easily removed with healthy eating or exercise. In most cases, any fat and/or breast tissue is generally located outside the muscle wall and can be removed simply and quickly with liposuction.
In rare cases, a small excision may be required to remove glandular breast tissue.
*Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Benefits of male breast reduction surgery – Melbourne clinic
- Remove ‘man boobs’ (gynaecomastia reduction)
- Improved muscle definition
- Fit into clothing better
- Have a slimmer profile
- Appear more youthful
- Look good, feel good
Recovery period after gynaecomastia surgery
You will be provided with compression garments after gynaecomastia chest reduction worn all the time, day and night, for at least a fortnight. The following two weeks also require compression garments, but only part time – so you can choose if you want them worn during the day or at night.
A binder will need to be worn for the first week after gynaecomastia surgery, which is simply to ensure all the tumescent fluid is drained from the chest area. These garments are generally very comfortable.
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You can expect to have some soreness and discomfort after the procedure. Discomfort isn’t any more or less than what you might feel after a hard session at the gym or doing physical labour for a day when you weren’t conditioned for it. It’ll hurt a bit, but the soreness will fade away quickly as you heal up, and be very manageable. Painkillers can be taken.
You can also expect some tumescent fluid to leak out of the tiny holes we’ve made to perform the procedure. This leakage is normal, until the skin closes over, which happens quite quickly. Expect bruising and swelling for many weeks.
The results will not be apparent for at least a month or two since all the swelling must go down completely to see results.
There may be some lumpiness and deep swelling for a few weeks post-surgery. We may request an ultrasound treatment every week, or even twice a week, to help with circulation and resolve bruising quickly. You may feel some numbness in the area, but this will resolve as the area heals and the swelling drains over a period of weeks or months.
You are offered a phone line directly to a nurse, so if you have any issues, day or night, you can call for advice. You will be back in the clinic the following day to be checked.
What about post-male breast reduction surgery scarring?
The tiny incision marks fade away almost completely, and nobody will ever know you have had liposuction on your chest – scarring is not an issue.
Returning to work and exercise after a male breast reduction
You can usually get back to your job within a few days, but this will depend largely what sort of work you do. Talk to your surgeon about what time you should expect to take off work. You can get back to exercising usually when you feel able to do so, but a period of light exercise after the gynaecomastia procedure is recommended, such as a light walk the next day.
Male breast reduction surgery
When you are in the operating theatre, your chest area will be injected with the special tumescent fluid via a very small tube (a micro-cannula) through tiny incisions. This fluid numbs, softens, and evens out the fat, which can then be suctioned out very gently. The tumescent fluid not only acts as an antibacterial agent but also quells bleeding, so bruising and swelling is reduced. Enough fat is left in your chest so it always looks natural, and if you put on weight (or lose weight) later, your chest will remain in proportion with your body. Your chest will also feel natural.
The male breast reduction procedure is a day surgery at our Melbourne clinic.
Risks of gynaecomastia treatments
Gynaecomastia surgery is considered a very safe procedure with remarkable results. Liposuction is now more straightforward and the risks are lower than ever before. The risks – which exist but are lower with a great surgeon – include infection. Risk is mitigated by the special tumescent fluid Dr Rich uses to perform the procedure, plus antibiotics post-surgery.
Seroma remains another rare risk of gynaecomastia treatment. Seroma is where fluid remains in the skin, becoming infected. This fluid may need to be drained from the surgery area later but can be treated with antibiotics.
Every surgical procedure carries risks with it, and not everyone will be an appropriate candidate for liposuction in any area, particularly male breast surgery.
Why do men get ‘man boobs’?
Stubborn chest fat typically develops due to the effects of oestrogen. Why would a man have too much oestrogen? Well, it’s complicated, but in essence, oestrogens are in and around us all the time, and while men do have more testosterone than women, they also have normal amounts of oestrogen. Women also have normal amounts of testosterone. There are several ways that men can end up with too much oestrogen.
Too much fat
If a man is carrying a lot of fat, he will usually have a lot more oestrogen. This increase in oestrogen is due to fat cells having an enzyme in them called aromatase that converts testosterone to oestrogen. (Fat in women promotes female fertility this way. In men, this outcome is not so desirable, but it happens nonetheless when a man has more fat than can support his healthy testosterone levels.)
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Fat is not the only factor when it comes to male hormone levels, but it matters when it comes to male breast surgery.
The other way men end up with a lot of oestrogen in their body is xeno-oestrogens, or in plain English, oestrogens (or molecules that behave like oestrogen), in our environment. Xeno-oestrogens are all around us, but are prolific in plastics – how many plastic water or drink bottles have you used this week alone?
There has been a marked declination of male fertility and sperm quality globally in recent decades, but this decline has also been mirrored in animal life. Xeno-oestrogens affect everything, since they are also in our water supply. (Think of how many women are on the pill and how this is excreted – via urine, which then goes into the sewerage system, which is then filtrated back into the sea, as one example. Water filtration systems do not remove hormones.)
An excess of xeno-oestrogens can be due to a combination of factors. If you are of a healthy weight (without too much fat), but are finding your breast tissue increasing, it could pay to take a closer look at your environment for the cause.
Meat and dairy
We can absorb xeno-oestrogens from meat and dairy, from cows that are fed bovine growth hormones. Choosing quality meat sources is really important, including paying more for animals raised without added growth supplements. Finding great meat is easy to do in Australia with many options available at the supermarket. You can find a local butcher and ask about the source of their meat.
Insecticides or pesticides on fruit and vegetables
Anti-pest products can also have an oestrogenic effect. Thoroughly washing your produce can make a huge difference, and trying to buy products that are not sprayed with insecticides and pesticides is a good place to start.
Personal care products – shampoo, etc.
You can absorb xeno-oestrogens via the skin, so anything you use on your skin that contains paraben or phenoxyethanol (a preservative agent) is contributing to xeno-oestrogen levels.
Plastics are one of the main contributors – think of how many things in a day are wrapped or stored in soft plastic. Food is stored in the fridge in plastic containers, we microwave food in plastic containers, drink liquids out of plastics, and get hot takeaways in plastic containers. A food wrapped in plastic heated in the microwave contains some of the highest levels of xeno-oestrogens you can find. Take your own containers to the takeaway store or opt for glass or cardboard/paper where you can.
Soy-based foods and drinks
Tofu, soy milk and soy protein contain high amounts of plant oestrogens (phyto-oestrogens). Each has differing amounts, so check levels of any soy-based foods you are consuming regularly.