by Elyse Glickman
The burden of carrying extra weight in the wrong places is not just a “woman thing,” and the recent uptick in popularity of gynecomastia procedures (a.k.a. male breast reduction) not only proves that men deal with this issue but also can do something about it. Beverly Hills-based plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Newman, noted for his mastery of gynecomastia, wants patients to know the problem has more causes beyond weight gain and loss.
“We get a lot of questions, as there’s a lot of confusion about what necessitates the procedure,” he explains. “Although it occurs in men who are or who have recently been overweight, men who are very fit can also experience it. If you are into bodybuilding, for example, you can develop breasts because of oral supplements or injection supplements of testosterone. Additives in food as well as hormones in the tissues from the animals we eat may also cause breast enlargement in men, as can marajuana. The legalization of marijuana and CBD has led to an increase in gynecomastia cases.”
As reshaping your physique via gynecomastia is an investment that needs to be protected pre- and post-op, Dr. Newman advises starting or continuing to lose weight and cutting out certain foods before the surgery, and then sticking to your new habits as you heal afterwards. In the weeks or months following the surgery, you should also limit your movements to ensure things won’t shift around and create irregular contour or lumpy results. Most importantly, like a tailored suit or bespoke dress shoes, when it comes to your choice of doctor you truly get what you pay for.
“The best advice I can offer is to be sure the surgeon you choose is a board-certified plastic surgeon who can produce numerous before-and-after photos,” says Dr. Newman. “He or she needs to be forthright when answering questions about the methods and techniques he/she uses to get the best results.”
Even if you’ve long maintained healthy habits and gone about physical fitness the natural way, you may be genetically predisposed to growing breast tissue, according to Dr. Newman, who adds that men who were overweight in their youth but later became fit can still develop the problem years later as the extra weight gained converts some of the testosterone into estrogen. While it is never too late to adopt a good workout plan and a cleaner diet with organic foods to stave off “moobs” and other unpleasant signs of aging, Dr. Newman also stresses the importance of understanding how the procedure works, what you need to do in advance of a procedure for the best results, and how it has changed over the past 15 years.
“Ultimately, the only way to treat male breast growth is with surgery,” he affirms. “Although liposuction is often involved to remove the tissue and flatten out the chest, we are now able to do the surgery through smaller incisions, and with less scarring. However, technology has advanced, causing prices to go up because procedures now include use of devices that tighten the skin over the treated area. The process varies by individual as some patients have more tissue on one side of the torso than the other, for example. You need to ask questions with you board-certified plastic surgeon of choice to ensure you understand what specifically needs attention, what will be done to remedy your appearance, and what you need to on your end to minimize complications.”
The most important thing to remember about gynecomastia procedures is that they are not a final solution to male breast enlargement on their own, but part of an overall plan involving permanent lifestyle changes and a greater goal to achieve full health inside and out rather than just improving what appears on the surface.