One out of four men have breast gynecomastia, a disorder that causes boys’ and men’s breasts to swell and become larger than normal.
A variety of reasons could cause gynecomastia, according to UK’s National Health Service. First is hormonal imbalance or an imbalance between the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. While all men produce some estrogen, they usually have much higher levels of testosterone, which stops the estrogen from causing the breast tissue to grow. If the balance of hormones in the body changes, this can cause a man’s breasts to grow.
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Another reason could be obesity—being overweight can increase levels of estrogen, which can cause breast tissue to grow. The excess fat could also cause the enlargement of the breast tissue. Age could be the culprit, too—as men get older, they tend to have more body fat, which can cause more estrogen to be produced, hence, the excess breast tissue growth.
Other possible causes include side effects of medicine such as anti-ulcer or medicine for heart disease; illegal drugs such as cannabis or anabolic steroids; drinking too much alcohol; health conditions such as kidney failure or liver disease; Kliefelter syndrome, a rare genetic disorder; or lumps or infection in the testicles.
According to Dr. Ryan Paraiso, a Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon at Profero Ageless Aesthetics, gynecomastia occurs naturally at different times in a male’s life—after birth, at puberty, at mid-life and beyond. But it is during the latter phase where majority of the patients seek consult with a plastic surgeon because “they have become well aware that despite adequate diet and exercise, the male breast tissue fails to regress.” Some studies say that breast enlargement often peaks in men between the ages of 50 and 80. In their clinic, they get patients as young as 25, but most are in their 30s to 40s.
On the rise
As Filipino men become more concerned about flexing their Instagram worthy bodies, Paraiso observes the growing trend for male breast reduction. In fact, at Profero Ageless Aesthetics, they are receiving more gynecomastia patients than breast augmentation patients. “It’s overwhelming, in terms of volume of patients,” he notes. “I’m actually surprised. Breast augmentation used to be our staple procedure, now it’s gynecomastia.”
This cosmetic surgery procedure removes excess fat and glandular tissue to restore a flatter, firmer, and more masculine contour of the chest. Depending on the needs of the patient, the center can either do liposuction or tissue excision.
According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, the procedure for treating gynecomastia with liposuction is typically performed using local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia, and involves a small incision on each side of the chest. Through these incisions, the cosmetic surgeon will remove excess fat and/or glandular tissue, at the same time sculpting a new chest contour that looks natural to your body.
Severe cases of gynecomastia may require surgical tissue excision to achieve optimal results. Additionally, patients who have stretched, sagging skin around the breasts will usually require this approach. Tissue excisions allows the cosmetic surgeon to remove a greater amount of glandular tissue and/or skin that cannot be successfully treated with liposuction alone. The procedure can take one to three hours, depending on a person’s anatomy.
After the surgery, there may be swelling, notes the clinic’s medical director Dr. Gerry Sy-Quia, but this should subside in about a week or so. Rest is highly recommended. Taking alcohol during the healing period is discouraged as this may interact with the pain medications, making them less effective.
Will you be able to work shortly right after the procedure? “I guess it depends on how much of a warrior you are,” answers Sy-Quia. “I see no reason why you wouldn't be able to work. This is just a matter of how good you are with pain tolerance. When the anesthesia wears off, you will feel a certain amount of pain since there’s tissue damage involved, but you will be prescribed with analgesic to manage it,” he explains.
The healing will also depend on a person’s state of health. “You tend to heal slower if you have high sugar in your blood. We will let you know what to expect, based on your health condition. It's always different for every individual,” Sy-Quia adds.
They also include in the procedure one or two sessions of radiofrequency (RF) treatment, which uses RF energy to heat the dermis and tighten the skin. “Of course you want to take your shirt off eventually, so we do a touch-up afterward.” The RF treatment happens three weeks or a month after the surgery.
Paraiso observes that vanity is still considered taboo among Filipino men. Whereas many women would boldly flaunt what they had “Belofied,” men are likely to evade the talk, and if ever they decide to have any aesthetic surgical procedure done, they would do it discreetly. “If you notice, Profero doesn’t look like a clinic because we want to have that additional layer of discretion for our patients. Guys tend to memorize cars and plate numbers of other guys. They might encounter questions like, ‘Why are you there? Anong pinagawa mo?’ We didn’t want our patients to go through that so we have a side exit. Here, you can park, take two steps and you're in your car,” he quips. This is also the reason why they are not heavy on advertising and the clinic is not located in a mall, which has high visibility.
Sy-Quia notes that the male market is fast growing internationally, like in Europe and North America. In these countries though, male breast reduction is not so much the trend but all sorts of implants—chest (pectoral), butt, calves, biceps, and deltoids. As for the Filipino market, we’re not quite there yet.
Profero Ageless Aesthetics is located along Katipunan Ave, White Plains, Quezon City. For more information, visit Proferoaesthetics.com.