Help at hand for men with enlarged breasts

Updated: Feb 04, 2011, 18:25 PM IST

New Delhi: Men sweat it out in the gym for a V-shaped torso and muscularity, but many are stumped when it comes to dealing with gynecomestia, or enlarged male breasts. Experts say liposuction and gland excision can solve the problem.

"Gynecomastia is associated with hormone fluctuations during puberty and it can also develop due to a variety of medical conditions, including testicular cancer," Pritam Parichey, president, New Look Cosmetic Laser Center, told reporters.

"During puberty, male bodies produce the female sex hormone estrogen, although in much lower amounts than in women, and excess estrogen levels can cause male breasts to enlarge," he added.

Meenakshi Agarwal, a Mumbai-based cosmetic surgeon, says usually guys feel shy talking about it.

"Men indeed feel uncomfortable and with bulky chests they cannot go swimming or gyming. And youngsters in their teenage are often taunted by their friends which makes them feel awkward. They find it hard to lose their inhibitions," she said.

While most of the time the abnormality subsides naturally as one matures, for some it becomes a permanent problem. For them, liposuction and gland excision become the solution.

"I am getting three to four cases in a month and 15-20 enquiries in a day. They want to have flawless and tight bodies," said Anup Dhir, a senior consultant at the department of cosmetic surgery, Indraprastha Apollo hospital.

From boys as young as 14 to men in their 20s and 30s, many are gradually becoming aware and coming forward with the problem.

"In liposuction, a small incision is made to remove the fat accumulated near the breast area. The procedure hardly takes one or one-and-a-half-hours and the patient can immediately go home after surgery," said Agarwal.

"After liposuction, the patients are asked to wear compression garments made up of lycra material until the breast gets the desired shape," she added.

During an excision procedure, the incision is made either on the edge of the nipple (areola) or in the underarm area. The surgeon cuts away the excess glandular tissue, fat and skin from around the pigmented area surrounding the areola and from the sides and bottom of the breast by working through the incision.

Having a bulky chest is also common in body builders, which can also be treated by excision.

"In bodybuilders, this may be a result of the use of anabolic steroids. Due to excess testosterone levels from steroids, which is converted to estrogen, bodybuilders and other athletes develop gynecomastia which can be treated through excision," said Dhir.

The cost of the procedure starts from Rs.35,000 and can go up to Rs.70,000 and above.
Gynecomastia patients are also at the risk of developing breast cancer and those with a family history are more susceptible.

"Of late, some studies have indicated that men are likely to develop breast cancer, although the percentage is very low as compared to women. It is important to get rid of the breast tissue susceptible to cancer," said Dhir.

Pritam Parichey said: "If they feel that one of their breasts is bigger than the other, or they feel a lump, they should immediately go and get themselves examined."

IANS