Monday, June 28, 2010

Gynecomastia Surgery: A Weight Off Your Chest

“Gynecomastia” is a little understood condition for one good reason: Men don’t like to talk about it. In spite of any stereotypes about male fixation with women’s breasts, their attitudes quickly change when the breasts are their own. They leave their shirts on at the pool, avoid standing up in front of crowds and, for many of them, avoid acknowledging the issue at all. Instead, portrayals of gynecomastia—that is, enlarged breast tissue in men—are relegated to jocular references in sitcoms (Seinfeld) or poignant depictions of lost masculinity, as embodied by the former bodybuilder with DDD breasts played by Meat Loaf, whom the main character in Fight Club meets at a “Remaining Men Together” meeting. These pop culture discourses put a disturbing notion into the heads of men with gynecomastia: Male breasts are not only subject to derision, but also make you less of a man. This one-two punch to their ego’s gut often drives men to bury their anxieties over their breasts in shame. But this is ultimately to their detriment.

Gynecomastia is often mistakenly believed to be a symptom of being overweight. As such, many men attempt to improve this problem through rigorous exercise and dieting. But the nature of gynecomastia dooms these men to frustration. In most cases, aggressive weight loss and muscle training won’t significantly reduce the size of a man’s breasts. In fact, bodybuilders are among some of the most common sufferers of gynecomastia.

In reality, the cause of gynecomastia typically stems from a hormonal imbalance. Too much estrogen triggers glandular tissue growth and the development of breasts. As such, in order to correct gynecomastia, surgery is generally required. Dr. Miguel Delgado, a gynecomastia specialist in San Francisco, can remove both fat and glandular tissue through liposuction and other minimally-invasive surgical procedures to treat gynecomastia. Cost estimates for gynecomastia surgery vary on a case-by-case basis but average between $3,000 and $4,000, which is less than the typical costs of a female breast reduction. For many men, this one-time gynecomastia surgery is the only way to get rid of their breasts. But for now, awareness of gynecomastia and its proper treatment remain the biggest barrier to helping men get this troublesome weight off their chests

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