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Male breast enlargement is common, can be easily rectified

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Samir is a 20-year-old fit and healthy young man who works in a top IT firm. His job involves sitting in front of the computer for many hours. In his free time, he used to work hard in the gym aiming to look good. He had a girlfriend for one year and was thinking of proposing to her when he discovered a disturbing development in his body.

He became aware that his breast area was becoming prominent and he was particularly conscious of it when he went to the gym or for a swim. Slowly, he became so conscious of this, that he stopped going to the gym. He started putting on weight, became depressed and stopped going out with his friends.

His girlfriend was very worried about him and forced him to see a doctor. The doctor diagnosed him as having gynaecomastia or enlargement of breasts. After some initial investigations, he was asked to see a cosmetic surgeon. He had gynaecomastia surgery, after which he felt normal again and life was back on track again.

It is estimated that up to 50 per cent of men may suffer from gynaecomastia at some point in their life. It is caused by hormonal imbalance in the body and is more common during puberty. It can be exaggerated by excessive weight gain. Usually, it is a benign condition but in rare cases, male breast cancer has been reported.

It is important to know that some degree of breast bud formation is normal in pubertal boys. Medical treatment can be tried, but if does not work, surgery is recommended.

Why should gynaecomastia be treated?

Primarily because it can lead to severe psychological problems in young men, due to negative body image, leading to loss of self-esteem. It can affect careers and social relationships. Surgical treatment has been available for decades, but many patients are afraid to go for treatment.

Now advanced techniques allow a short surgery through a keyhole procedure leading to effective and quick healing and virtually no visible scarring. The surgeon removes the excess fat and glandular tissue to leave a flat, firmer and more male like shape of the chest.

Pull-Through Procedure is a less invasive way of doing this surgery. The fat and glandular tissue is pulled out through a small incision. The advantage of this procedure is that there are fewer scars and after the surgery no drains would have to be left. This will lead to faster healing and less visible scar.

The patient would need to take a few days off from work and would be required to avoid strenuous activities for a while. There is a very small risk of infection or scarring in the surgical area. This surgery is becoming more popular as men realise the happiness and satisfaction of being at ease with their bodies. All types of gynaecomastia surgery procedures are being done at various medical centres.

Male breast surgery is one of the simpler cosmetic surgeries. But to give good results, the surgeon needs to be adequately qualified and trained. Find out all about your surgeon and his qualifications and experience. Spend some time choosing your cosmetic surgeon who is able to give you the best results.

Cryolipolysis is a non-surgical option, for smaller gynaecomastia and is helpful in treating fatty male breasts and the procedure can be repeated for better results. Cryolipolysis, or “fat freezing”, is a procedure that involves the non-invasive cooling of body fat to break down fat cells, resulting in a reduction of body fat without damage to other tissues. It takes about two to four months for effects to be seen.

With little thought and effort, those suffereing from male breast enlargement can get the condition rectified, rather than wallow in self-imposed embarrassment.

(Dr Anup Dhir specialises in cosmetic & aesthetic surgery and is associated with the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected]).