As a short man (5’5”), I’ve always been very self-conscious about my body. As a child and up through college, I was also rather overweight at around 140-160 lbs. with little muscle. Near the end of college, I began running to lose weight and starting a somewhat regular exercise routine using body weight and free weights etc. Since then, I’ve been in and out of shape depending on how busy I’ve been with work etc., but I’ve consistently maintained a higher muscle mass despite gaining and losing weight. I’m now 26 and weigh about 142 lbs…. at my leanest I was at 125 lbs. when I was 23.
I was always uncomfortable with my chest, but I thought that I was just chubby and had “man-boobs” from just fat. I’ve always had “pointy nipples” where the areola grows in size and sticks out more when it is warm than when cold. Even when cold and the nipple was small though, there just seemed to be too much tissue on the breast area. It almost looked like big pec muscles, but didn’t have the right lines or hardness of muscle tissue. I was definitely ridiculed for it when younger (like at the pool or when wearing tighter shirts), and even as I’m older I notice people staring at my chest at the gym or when at the beach etc. I thought that the problem would go away when I got into shape—after all, I thought that it was just fat tissue.
However, over the course of gaining muscle and losing weight, I noticed that the “boobs” became more visible and did not reduce in size much when I lost weight. As I gained stronger chest muscles, I felt as though the breasts became much more visible. As I gained muscle and leaned out more, I could see and feel a distinct area where there was somewhat firm tissue on top of the muscle and under my nipples, as well as fat all around the lower pec area. I started researching the issue on the internet, and became aware of gynecomastia (woman-like breast development in men).
Honestly, I’ve worked out a lot less since I found that I couldn’t make the “boobs” go away… at least when I was a little overweight, the belly helped hide the large chest.
I’m the type of guy who has to research something fully until I’m confortable making a decision. Even going to a doctor to discuss the problem was a really hard thing for me to do… I had a lot of anxiety about the whole thing. However, my fears were totally misplaced. No one at the doctor’s office made fun of me, and the doctor confirmed the presence of breast tissue on both sides through a simple physical examination. They conducted a blood test for both male and female hormone levels, and everything came up perfectly normal. Apparently this condition can occur from hormones in puberty or other unknown causes.
After a lengthy consideration, I finally decided to get surgery to eliminate the problem. I did a lot of research and found out that there is a relatively recent technique that uses one or two small punctures (2-3mm each) and a combination of liposuction and tissue extraction in strips. This technique seemed much better to me, as it doesn’t leave any large scars. To anyone interested, see this: http://centerforplasticsurgery.wordpress.com/article/gynecomastia-breast-tissue-removal-1vzjj2of3zunt-75/
My surgeon used a similar technique to the one in the article, but with one small incision on each side of the chest and one small one on each nipple/areola.
I went through with the surgery just a few days ago. It was my first time under general anesthesia so I was a bit anxious about it, but the doctors and nurses were excellent and made me feel very comfortable. The surgery was over in an hour (I don’t remember a thing), and I was awake and out the door after 30-45 minutes of recovery from the anesthesia. They gave me diazepam and hydrocodone to reduce the pain and help me relax and sleep for this week while I recover.
The total cost of all appointments and my surgery was just under $6500. However, I can already state that it’s worth it. I still have some moderate swelling and some gnarly looking bruises, but the flatness of my chest is already 90% better! In a few weeks, I am going to get back into running to lean up and will work on more chest exercises once I’m fully healed. In the meantime, I have to wear a compression vest, which is moderately annoying but not too uncomfortable.
Even at this early stage post-surgery, I am very happy with my results. I would really encourage any guy dealing with gynecomastia issues to go see a doctor. In some cases, it can be addressed through hormonal treatments without surgery. Even if it requires surgery, I think it is worth it for the benefit of feeling comfortable in my body. Although my surgery was expensive because I went with a top-notch doctor, it can be much cheaper (especially in other countries). Unfortunately, the surgery is not covered by most health insurance plans in the US.
I’m posting pictures so that y’all can see what my form of gynecomastia looked like and how my chest looks now at this early stage. I’ll be sure to post more pictures in the coming weeks as the healing comes along. It may take 8 weeks or longer for everything to be fully healed with no swelling or bruising.