‘Man boob’ surgery booming
MEN with large breast tissue, dubbed "man boobs", have long been the butt of cruel jokes.
Enlarged male breasts, or gynecomastia, is a health condition that leads to breast gland tissue growth and men are increasingly turning to breast reduction surgery to combat the issue.
The causes vary but hormonal imbalance - either an increase in oestrogen or a decrease in testosterone - is the most common.
The chest remodelling procedure can be performed under local anaesthetic in day surgery using liposuction or a small incision in the skin, depending on the patient.
Liposuction involves the use of a cannula to suck fat out of the body.
Melbourne dermatologist Dr Daniel Lanzer performs this procedure up to five times a day in his Malvern clinic, clocking up more than 700 male breast reductions in 2017.
"People cannot believe how common it is now," Dr Lanzer told news.com.au.
"I perform a whole range of procedures and male breast reduction has become the most popular procedure that people come to me for," Dr Lanzer said.
He treats men of all ages and says many of his patients have suffered with low self esteem for years.
"They get teased by friends. They're embarrassed to take their shirts off. I've had patients who have not taken their shirts off for 35 years," Dr Lanzer said.
"I've had men who haven't gone to the beach for years. These are ordinary, working Australians - policemen, teachers, bankers and salespeople."
The procedure costs around $4500 and some patients can claim $500 of that back on Medicare. The recovery is around two days, with no strenuous movement or exercise for two weeks.
Some patients only require liposuction while others need some glandular tissue removed, which requires a small incision under the nipple and three stitches.
Dr Lanzer says he sees a massive change in the confidence of his patients after the procedure.
"They all wonder why they waited so long and their quality of life just increases dramatically," he said.
While there are no Australian statistics available, in 2016, 27,760 American men underwent breast-reduction surgery, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
That marked a 36 per cent increase since 2000.
As male breast surgeries have increased, operations on females have decreased.
The ASPS reported a four per cent decline in female breast reduction surgeries from 2015 to 2016 and a one per cent increase in male breast reduction surgeries during the same time.
Dr Lanzer says while he's pleased more men can now feel more confident about their appearance, he warned all procedures carry a risk.
"Even though there have been tremendous breakthroughs in this kind of procedure, I'd still warn men that all surgery has risks and it's always a good idea to seek a second opinion from a specialist," he said.