What About Man Boobs? – We talk Gynaecomastia with Dr Mark McGovern

Male Breast Reduction - Gynaecomastia

An alpha male has, over the ages, been depicted as the one with a big broad chest – the representation of male strength and the one who is always the centre of attraction. One of the biggest setbacks to great looking chest for men is the growth of male breasts, which can be a source of embarrassment and unhappiness.

We asked Dr Mark McGovern, Cosmetic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon from the Vie Institute on the Sunshine Coast to enlighten us on Gynaecomastia, male breast reduction surgery, and why it has become a more popular procedure in recent years. “Our society places a high value on looking young and fit. Gym memberships have soared over the past 2 decades, and a good physique is equated with success. However few of us are born perfect. Even the fittest male can have an overgrowth of breast tissue or gynaecomastia.”

Dr McGovern goes on to say, “The medical term gynaecomastia comes from the Greek word for “woman-like breasts”. It’s much more common than is generally recognised, affecting an estimated 40 to 60 percent of men, especially those over 50.”

With the increase in “selfies” and expectations to be more polished in your appearance than ever before in order to compete against the masses for jobs, partners and a noticeable standing in society, more men than ever before are heading for corrective surgery.

There are several possible causes for the development of male boobs. Some of these may be:

  1. Hormonal imbalance – When the level of testosterone is lowered but the level of oestrogen remains the same or increases, it can lead to a hormone imbalance that triggers the enlargement of the breast. Aromatase is responsible for turning testosterone into the small amount of oestrogen normal in males. Excessive aromatase activity, often due to obesity, can be responsible. Indeed, most older men have higher oestrogen levels than most post-menopausal women, for this reason.
  2. Hormonal changes during puberty and at old age are also associated with an enlargement of breast.
  3. Anabolic steroids are also known to cause users to develop more female shaped breasts, so ironically, bodybuilders can be seen to have fuller breasts.
  4. Hereditary – The condition may have a genetic link.
  5. Disease condition – Certain conditions like hyperthyroidism, hypogonadism or even kidney failure can result in an enlargement of the male breast tissue.
  6. Ageing – Ageing can also lead to seemingly hanging breasts, especially if the individual is overweight.
  7. Alcohol and certain narcotic drugs – Alcohol and the consumption of certain drugs like marijuana and heroin may also lead to the development of enlarged male breasts.

So, who are the best candidates for the surgery? Dr McGovern says, “It’s never too late to correct gynaecomastia, provided you’re in good physical and psychological health. The surgery usually is not recommended for children or teenagers, since their excess tissue may disappear on its own. In selected cases, however, it may be a very important procedure for teenage males. About 80 to 90% of cases can be managed with liposuction, leaving minimal scarring. The remainder require subcutaneous mastectomy, leaving a small scar below the areolae.”

Benefits of this procedure:

  • Improves self confidence of the individual
  • Promotes social behaviour due to lack of inhibition
  • The surgical scars are hidden completely if the patient has a lot of hair on the chest
  • Experienced cosmetic surgeons will make the cut along the nipple region to avoid scars from being obvious.

The Procedure

You can read more about Gynaecomastia here, however to give you a brief idea of what’s involved we referred to Dr McGovern:

“As mentioned, Gynaecomastia can be due to either an excess of fat, or an overgrowth of breast tissue. If the problem is fat excess, then liposuction is ideal. However if the problem is tough fibrous tissue, then a direct excision of the tissue is generally required.
Both procedures are performed as a day procedure and in some cases, local excision can be performed in our rooms under local anaesthetic.

“Whether you’ve had liposuction or excision (cutting) surgery, you may feel some discomfort for a few days afterwards. In any case, you should arrange to have someone drive you home after surgery.”

Since 1994, Dr Mark McGovern has treated literally thousands of men and women. His experience and commitment to helping you achieve your desired outcome, has resulted in clients travelling from all parts of Australia and overseas. If you have any questions or would like to arrange a consult with him regarding gynaecomastia or any other procedures you can read more about him here, or contact Vie Institute directly on 1800 080 001.

Further Reading about Male Breast Reduction Surgery