Summary: It’s hard to believe it has been almost 20 years since the episode of Seinfeld about man boobs first aired. You may recall Kramer plotting to make a fortune manufacturing “manssieres” – bras for men with enlarged breasts. (George’s father’s “real hooters” were the inspiration, according to Wikipedia.) That show arguably sparked a more public discussion of gynecomastia than had been the norm in the past.
Since then, we’ve joined other plastic surgeons in appearing on a variety of broadcast network shows to educate the public about the condition. The dialogue has broadened to cover almost every aspect of gynecomastia, including teen gynecomastia, puffy nipples, marijuana and enlarged breasts and more. Very recently, an article appeared on Huffington Post advising men how to get properly fitted for a bra.
Apparently, the age of the manssiere has truly arrived.
We are very happy to see so much open discussion about gynecomastia. We support men with the condition to learn all they can, talk with others who share the man boob experience and take any course of action that’s appropriate — including getting fitted for a bra — or no action at all.
But for men who are unhappy living with breasts, there is another way.
Male breast reduction has been performed by plastic surgeons for over three decades, and during these years the procedure has been refined. Nowadays, in the hands of a board certified plastic surgeon who is very experienced in operating on enlarged male breasts, patients normally enjoy very satisfying results.
Plastic surgeons usually employ a combination of liposuction and breast tissue excision to restore natural, masculine contours. The procedure takes one to two hours and can be performed under general anesthesia or “twilight” sedation. Statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery peg the national average surgeon’s fee at just under $3500.
Recovery goes smoothly for most patients, and most experience minimal discomfort and virtually no complications. Men will take a few days or so away from work — longer if the job is strenuous. A compression garment aids in supporting the healing process for a few weeks. Normal activities can be resumed gradually, with initial healing complete a few weeks after surgery and final results in place in three to six months.
We know very well that cosmetic surgery is not the right move for many people for a variety of reasons. We are not in the habit of pushing procedures on anyone. But when we meet men whose lives are negatively impacted by gynecomastia and who shudder at the thought of a manssiere, we want them to know that male breast reduction is a reasonable option to consider.
We perform gynecomastia surgery hundreds of times each year. Many of our patients make comments to the effect that they never really saw themselves as the type of person to choose cosmetic surgery, and most never have another procedure. But when a patient decides to go ahead with male breast reduction, we invariably notice a “new man” when they come in for post-op visits.