The exact cause of gynaecomastia (commonly known as “man boobs”) is unknown, although it is thought to be linked to hormone production. The condition can be linked to obesity, but some experts think that this is also a hormone issue, as excess weight can cause an increase in oestrogen production.
Don’t all men produce oestrogen?
Everyone produces oestrogen, but generally men produce much higher levels of testosterone. It is when these levels become distorted and more oestrogen is being produced that gynaecomastia tends to occur.
Sometimes very young baby boys develop gynaecomastia, due to the passage of oestrogen through the placenta. This usually disappears within a few weeks.
A similar thing can happen at puberty, when hormone levels tend to be very unstable – sometimes if testosterone levels fall while oestrogen levels are high, pubertal boys can develop some breast tissue, but again this usually disappears over time.
However, if gynaecomastia occurs as a result of obesity, or at a later time in your life, it is important to seek medical advice, because apart from the two instances mentioned above, the problem is unlikely to resolve itself.
What can be done about gynaecomastia?
1. If the problem is mainly due to excess fat, the procedure is performed using liposuction
2. If the gynaecomastia is hormone related and breast tissue has developed, an incision will be made to excise this tissue before liposuction is performed.
The procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic and will require a night’s stay in hospital.
It is important to try to maintain a stable weight after male breast reduction surgery, but the procedure is very effective and most patients report a great improvement in both their appearance and their confidence.