What to do about those bosom buddies, boys

Posted on February 17th, 2010 by Michelle

Guys, what do you do when the boobs hang low and start to jiggle to and fro? Gynecomastia – male breast reduction surgery – is an option.

Face it, whether you are male or female, aging’s a bitch and gravity is oh, so unkind. We gain weight, then start to sag. It’s unsettling for women,  but it’s even more awkward for men.  At least women have a number of options to counter the effects of sagging bosoms, including cornucopia of bras and other undergarments that offer support, and surgery is fairly commonplace.

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For men, not so much.  In a 1995 episode of “Seinfeld” Kramer and Frank Costanza tried to market the “Manssiere” or “Bro,” but that was TV satire from nearly 15 years ago and there are few men’s foundation garments on the market outside of some slimming T-shirts and a bra for men sold in Japan.

Gynecomastia is breast reduction surgery for men. It is not cutting or lifting, but actually the liposuctioning of excess tissue from the chest, magically turning those man boobs back into the shapely pectorals they once were. The surgery itself lasts about two hours and you’ll need a week of downtime before you can get back to work and your other regular activities.  It’s the fourth most popular plastic surgery among men (behind regular lipo, rhinoplasty and eyelid/brow lift), and ranks 12th overall among cosmetic surgeries performed in 2008 (2009 results are not in yet.)

Of the 800,000 cosmetic surgery procedures performed on men that year, 19,124 were breast reductions, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (surgery.org), which was down significantly from 23,670 in 2007.  The decrease in demand for gynecomastia could be an effect of the poor economy.

At the same time, not quite half (47 percent) of the reviewers who shared their experience were satisfied with the procedure.  The average cost for the surgery hovers in the neighborhood of $5,000, depending on where you live, and it has come down slightly in recent years.

Before thinking about surgery, however, men who are experiencing enlarging breasts need to find out why. It could be age or weight gain, but it could also be due to hormonal changes (a side effect of aging in all of us) or a reaction to a medication. Once you know the cause, it is easier to weigh your options.

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