Why Male Breast Reduction Is More Popular Than You Think

Are men forced to live with those pouty breasts? We don’t think so, and men are starting to agree. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports there were more than 68,000 breast reduction procedures done in 2015. That number, in itself, is not surprising. What does stand out is that 40 percent of them were on men.

People don’t usually associate gynecomastia, the medical term for breast reduction surgery, with men, but more and more, they see the benefit of this simple procedure. Why is male breast reduction surgery becoming more popular?

What influences male breast size?

It’s a question Dr. Levine gets a lot. Not all men are born with those sexy, tight pecs that culture has defined as masculine. Some men have pouty breasts or puffy nipples. They may be rounded and less defined, as well.

The overdevelopment of male breasts is called gynecomastia. Men with gynecomastia have a mass directly under the nipple area. It is not an abnormal growth but something that is normal for them. Many things influence the development of this mass, though.

Genetics and male breast size

Men, like women, have little control over the size and shape of their breasts. Genetics is the dominant force in determining whether a man will have puffy nipples or excess glandular tissue.

DNA also influences other characteristics that affect breast size, such as skin tone and quality, muscle firmness, and structural strength. Men get these determining factors from both of their parents.

Environmental influence on gynecomastia

There are socio-economic and environmental considerations, as well. As a young boy grows, for example, nutrition can influence body strength and shape in adulthood. Poor diet affects how tissue develops. Genetics can dictate environmental influencers, too, like a history of alcoholism or smoking. Finally, excessive exposure to the sun impacts skin health, and that can lead to breasts that lack tone.

How weight factors into larger male breasts

Fatty tissue is what fills out breast volume, so weight matters, too. Increases or decreases in body mass have a secondary effect. It stretches the skin and muscles that support breast tissue, for example. When a man gains weight, some of that excess fat will end up in the chest area. If he loses it, the skin will rebound some but may not return completely, causing the breasts to sag.

Medications, aging and hormones: Risk factors for the overdevelopment of male breasts

Hormones are the second-most likely influencer in gynecomastia. There are natural changes in estrogen and testosterone production during puberty. Certain medications can shift hormone levels, too, such as antibiotics, chemotherapy and drugs to control heartburn. Aging causes tissue to sag.

Why do men choose to have breast reduction surgery?

The most-likely answer is that cosmetic surgery is becoming more common in men, and there have been improvements in the procedure, so recovery is minimal. Today's man is more accepting of his options to change his appearance.

There is also an increased awareness of the risks of breast cancer for both men and women. Men, like women, can have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer. For example, if genetic testing shows the presence of the BRCA2 gene, removing breast tissue is a preemptive strike to reduce the risk of cancer later in life.

Men can also develop Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), a type of cancer in which cells around the ducts invade the breast tissue. Although male breast cancer only makes up about 1 percent of all cases, the risk is there.

The fact is that men want control over how their bodies look just as women do, and now they understand they have many of the same choices available to them.

If you or someone you love is considering breast reduction, we want to help. Contact the practice today and request an appointment with Dr. Levine.

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