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Men’s Secret Surgery…the Treatment Men Won’t Talk About

Dr. Miguel Delgado, San Francisco Plastic Surgeonby Dr. Miguel Delgado

Many men all over the world have a dark secret they choose not to share. This secret is “covered” from their family and friends. It causes them unbelievable mental anguish. The medical terminology is “gynecomastia” also known as man boobs.

Male breasts can develop at puberty, affecting 60% to 65% of boys. This early breast development is caused by an increase in estrogen, (the female hormone), which is temporary during puberty. With this increase of estrogen, a young man may develop “puffy nipples” and even feminine type breasts. Fortunately, the condition will resolve itself for 95% of boys within a couple of months or may take up to two years. Unfortunately, there is that 5% that where it remains a permanent condition only to be remedied by surgical intervention.

Other causes for gynecomastia are; steroid use, drugs, (both prescription and non-prescription) gaining weight, and aging. Then for some, the origin of male breasts remains unknown. The psychological effect this has on a man is extreme embarrassment and shame. It can actually change a man’s lifestyle in how he dresses and what type of activities he will partake in, especially if it involves removing his shirt. It has been known to affect relationships with friends and family.

With the profusion of information accessible through the internet, men can get help. Finding sites like, men learn that up to 65% of men suffer with gynecomastia sometime in life. Dr. Delgado highly recommends this website for men to find an abundance of information on male breasts, also forums where men can share stories and information. In addition the site offers a directory of Board Certified Surgeons who specialize in gynecomastia surgery. Dr. Delgado states that he has seen hundreds of his despondent patients emerge with a new enthusiasm for life after their male breast reduction surgery. Dr. Delgado finds this life changing event for his patients to be one of the most gratifying aspects to his plastic surgery practice.

There are very different degrees of male breast development, some have “puffy nipples,” some may have just fat , and some have fat and breast tissue giving them a C or D cup and some may even be larger. There is a specific surgical procedure for each condition. If a man has only fat causing his male breasts, liposuction alone can be a great remedy. However, most men have fat and breast tissue which will require liposuction and surgical excision of the tissue. Then there are some men that may have mild to moderate breasts that allow them to have what is known as the “pull through procedure” which is less invasive. For the man that has enormous breasts, he may need a secondary procedure.

There are advertisements for products to cure gynecomastia, however none have been proven to be effective and nothing has been approved by the FDA for this purpose. Research is ongoing with the hope that someday a non-surgical remedy will emerge.

Watch a documentary that follows three different men who share a common emotional secret: living with gynecomastia.