Male tuberous breast deformity, though rare, is a serious medical condition that can affect a man’s self-confidence and mobility. Unfortunately, male tuberous breasts are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, leaving men without an explanation for their unusually-shaped chests. This month, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. S. Larry Schlesinger explains what causes tuberous breasts in men and why gynecomastia surgery is needed to restore a healthy, attractive male chest.
What is male tuberous breast deformity?
Male tuberous breast deformity is a very unusual type of gynecomastia, a condition that causes the appearance of “man boobs.” Similar to female tuberous breast deformity, men with tuberous breasts typically develop tight collagen bands during puberty, which restrict breast growth in the bottom of the breast but allow tissues to grow in the upper breast.
Diet and exercise alone cannot correct a male tuberous breast deformity.
Not only can tuberous breasts be incredibly embarrassing for men, but the condition can make it difficult to perform upper-body exercises like bench presses and push-ups. Because diet and exercise alone cannot correct tuberous breasts, many men end up living with their deformity, hiding their chests in loose-fitting shirts, sweatshirts, or even bras.
How is male tuberous breast deformity different from gynecomastia?
Male tuberous breast deformity differs from gynecomastia in both its causes and appearance:
- Male tuberous breasts are caused by constricted tissues in the base of the breast which make the breasts appear conical and the nipples look swollen and puffy. It is also common for men with tuberous breast deformity to have a significant amount of sagging in their breasts, which can cause the nipple to fall over the inframammary fold (the bottom of the breast).
- Gynecomastia is the swelling of breast tissues that often makes male breasts look similar to female breasts (think: fatty and voluminous). Gynecomastia is categorized into “real” gynecomastia and “pseudo” gynecomastia: real gynecomastia is caused by enlarged glandular tissue in the breasts, while pseudo gynecomastia is caused by excess fatty tissue.
What causes tuberous breasts to develop in men?
Male tuberous breast deformity is thought to be congenital. It presents during puberty when the breast tissues become stymied, likely due to hormonal changes. Though not confirmed, some doctors speculate that tuberous breasts may be hereditary.
Men who suffer from gynecomastia, on the other hand, develop the condition during their teenage or middle years due to the following reasons:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Marijuana use
- Use of estrogen-promoting medications
- Use of performance-enhancing steroids containing testosterone
- Certain medications
- Thyroid and renal disease
Gynecomastia surgery is needed for male tuberous breast deformity
The best way to correct male tuberous breast deformity is with gynecomastia surgery, also called male breast reduction surgery. I perform gynecomastia surgery by removing excess fat in the breasts and other areas of the chest via liposuction, and surgically excising fibrous mammary gland tissue. I also remove excess areolar tissue through an incision at the base of the areola to reduce herniation in the nipples and allow the nipple-areolar complexes to lay flat after breast tissue is removed. The desired result is a flat, slightly contoured chest with flat nipple-areolar complexes situated just above the inframammary folds.
Nipple repositioning may be required
If a patient’s nipples need to be repositioned, I will transpose the nipple-areolar complexes using a superomedial dermal pedicle (skin graft) after I’ve performed liposuction, allowing me to move the nipples upward on the chest wall without detaching them from their blood supply.
The desired result from gynecomastia surgery is a flat, contoured chest with flat nipples situated just above the inframammary folds.
You will need to wear a compression garment
I advise all of my male tuberous breast surgery patients to wear a compression garment for 1 to 2 weeks after their surgery to reduce swelling and help shape their chest. This is a critical step for ensuring an optimal result.
How long do gynecomastia surgery results last? Can tuberous breasts return?
The results of gynecomastia surgery to treat tuberous breasts are permanent as long as you maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. Many of my patients are able to develop a healthy diet and exercise routine after surgery because they are motivated by their results, and they find exercise easier and more enjoyable.
Gynecomastia surgery can increase confidence and enhance exercise
My male patients often develop a better self-image and increased mobility following gynecomastia surgery; this is particularly true for patients who previously had tuberous breasts. They typically find physical exercise to be easier and more comfortable and enjoy showing off their chests. I love seeing my patients return for follow-up visits months after their surgery feeling confident and wearing tight-fitting shirts.
Gynecomastia surgery with Dr. Schlesinger in Honolulu, Hawaii
If you’re tired of living with tuberous breasts or gynecomastia, visit Dr. S. Larry Schlesinger at the Breast Implant Center of Hawaii in Honolulu. Dr. Schlesinger is a board certified plastic surgeon with over 30 years of experience helping men achieve flat, sculpted chests with gynecomastia surgery. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Schlesinger online or call (808) 597-8835.