Male Breast Disorder

Gynaecomastia is the medical term used to mean male breast enlargement. One may wonder, how it is possible for a male to get breast enlargement!

By nature, both men and women have breast glands in their chest. The enlargement of breast glands in women happens after puberty due to the secretion of the hormone estrogen. In contrast, due to the absence of estrogen in men and the presence of hormone testosterone, breast gland never enlarges.

The most common, and frequently the only symptom a man has is embarrassment because of appearance. There is no increase in risk of breast cancer in patients with gynaecomastia when compared to the normal male population.

Male breast enlargement in a young adult of more than 1 year duration can be treated only by surgery. At this point, it needs to be stressed that exercise, weight reduction, topical creams, massage etc do not have any effect on the enlarged male breast.

The treatment is by a team consisting of a Plastic Surgeon, Endocrinologist, Psychiatrist and Rehabilitation specialist. The accepted modern treatment method nowadays is Liposuction. Liposuction is performed by a qualified Plastic Surgeon after complete evaluation of the patient.

Liposuction is done as a Day Care Surgery, where the patient comes to the hospital in the morning and goes home in the evening. Under anaesthesia, a small 1 cm. cut is made in the side of the chest, and a mixture of medicinal fluid called tumuscent is injected to make the fat soft, to reduce bleeding and to provide pain relief. Long metal cannulas are inserted and the fat is sucked out. In addition a small 2 cm. cut is made in the areola junction, and the breast gland is removed through it. When compared to open surgery in the past, liposuction results in well hidden scars, a better contour and appearance to the male chest.

After surgery, the patient is advised pain medication for a few days. He is also encouraged to wear a tight jacket called pressure garment to reduce the swelling. Light work can be resumed after 2-3 days. Complete recovery is expected in a week time. Like all surgeries, there are some complications that can happen which include bleeding, infection and contour deformities, but they are not very common.

In today's world where body image is given a lot of importance, men need not have to accept and live with the embarrassment of a breast enlargement. Liposuction is a straightforward and scientifically proven surgical treatment and millions of young men worldwide have been benefitted in regaining their confidence.

Article by Dr. Sathish Manivel, MBBS, DNB (General Surgery), MCh (Plastic Surgery)
Consultant Plastic and Aesthetic Surgeon
Kauvery Hospital, Chennai

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