The picture of men and their breast size hit the pop culture circuit on Seinfeld when Kramer and Frank Costanza decided to market bras for older men. The argument over what to call it (“The Bro” or “The Manzier”), as well as the scene of Kramer helping Mr. Costanza put the bra on, was just a tiny part of what made the show so great. However, there may have been lots of guys out there watching the episode who didn’t think it was so funny.
Gynecomastia, a condition in which there is excessive development of the breast tissue, affects an estimated 40 to 60 percent of men. It is more commonly occurs in infants, but it usually goes away. However, it may come back when boys hit puberty and there is a small chance that it is there to stay. Gynecomastia is due to an imbalance in the estrogen-to-androgen hormone ratio, where estrogen has the higher balance of the two.
This condition can cause extreme embarrassment and psychological issues in teenagers who are affected. Because society puts a high premium on the way we look and kids are figuring this out at younger and younger ages, it isn’t just teenage girls who pay attention to the way their breasts are developing. And puberty is just one of the causes for male breast enlargement in teens.
Other Potential Causes
- Steroid abuse
- Marijuana use
- Genetic disorders
- Side effects of other medications
It can be argued that some of these, obesity (when caused by diet), steroid abuse, and using marijuana, are personal choices, but the other causes are out of the kids’ hands – though it could also be argued that teens who abuse steroids and marijuana probably don’t want gynecomastia, either. And one remedy for obesity is to lose weight, but this may not solve the problem 100% of the time.
Because feelings of shame, embarrassment, and humiliation are common with this condition, and because we live in a society that has its ideas of masculinity firmly embedded in its’ psyche, teenage boys may hide themselves away. Sure, we can tell them over and over that beauty is only skin deep, and that worrying about the way they look isn’t “what guys do,” but this isn’t realistic. One option, which some teenage boys have taken advantage of, is male breast reduction surgery.
Male Breast Reduction Surgery
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, male breast reduction surgery was one of the five most popular cosmetic surgical procedures for men last year. Just over 20,000 men went through this procedure.
If the procedure involves the removal of glandular tissue, a cosmetic surgeon will use a scalpel. If the cosmetic surgeon is removing fatty tissue, liposuction may be required. Sometimes male breast reduction procedures require the removal of both glandular and fatty tissue. The excess skin is then removed to give the chest a more natural, or “masculine” appearance.
Many teenage boys will suffer in silence with gynecomastia, and maybe not all of them would choose male breast reduction surgery even if they knew about it. But the option to help guys with their self-esteem is out there.
If you have questions about male breast reduction surgery, and would like to know more about it, please contact an experienced cosmetic surgeon.