Since ancient times, a man’s chest has been a symbol of his virility and masculinity. The ideal male body image includes sleek, defined pectoral muscles. So when a man or an adolescent boy suffers from a condition called male gynecomastia—or an enlargement of his breast tissue—his emotional and psychological health can suffer as well.

It’s More Than a Cosmetic Issue

Men and boys with enlarged breasts are prone to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. It can cause embarrassment to the point that some boys and men avoid social contact altogether. That’s not just an opinion. Research backs up these claims.

According to a study conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital, adolescent boys with male gynecomastia scored lower on a standard quality of life assessment. Additionally, the boys studied had lower scores for general health, social functioning, and mental health than boys who didn’t suffer from gynecomastia.

Another study performed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons compared boys with male gynecomastia to healthy, unaffected peers of the same age. The adolescents with gynecomastia were found to have significantly lower measures of mental health, self-esteem, and social functioning. Boys with gynecomastia also had higher rates of disordered eating, thoughts, and behaviors than their peers.

These are just two of several studies that prove that male gynecomastia isn’t just a cosmetic issue. Parents of boys with the condition should be aware of the anxiety, depression, and embarrassment that can accompany the condition and seek a medical opinion early. Addressing the condition at a young age is key to preventing lasting negative psychological effects in the future.

It’s Not a Weight Problem

Since some boys and men with enlarged breasts may also be overweight, they are often advised to diet and exercise in order to correct their breast enlargement. While this may help to an extent, male gynecomastia is caused by an imbalance in the ratio of estrogen to testosterone in the male body, not obesity. Testosterone triggers the formation of male characteristics such as muscle growth and facial hair. Estrogen is the hormone that controls female traits like breast development and ovulation.

Surgical Intervention Can Correct the Problem

Many times, plastic surgery is the only option that will bring permanent results. There are two popular surgical options:

  1. Liposuction: During this procedure, excess fat is removed from the breast area to reduce the size of the breasts. This is a good option if your breasts are small and there isn’t much loose skin.
  2. Breast reduction surgery: During this procedure your surgeon will make small incisions around the breast and remove excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin near the breast area. There is little scarring and the results are dramatic and immediately noticeable. This is ideal for those with larger breasts and sagging skin.

Surgical candidates should be in overall good health and their breast development should have stabilized to avoid the problem recurring in the future. Talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon about the risks and benefits of each procedure to determine what the best option for you is.

Northeastern Plastic Surgery understands your desire for an attractive body looking body and facial appearance. We use the latest plastic surgery techniques to perform a variety of surgical procedures. Dr. Fodero and the staff are very friendly, helpful, and available to answer any questions you may have about the procedures we offer. We strive to ensure that your experience with us is positive. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.

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