With Man Boobs, a Little Knowledge Is…
There’s probably no better place for the old saying, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” than in the world of medicine. Think about the last time you looked up a minor symptom on a popular site like WebMD, then wondered if you need to get your affairs in order right away and prepare for the worst.
In the medical arena, there may be few other groups of patients who suffer the effects of “a little knowledge” more acutely than guys with man boobs. In New York—in the consultation room—and online on gynecomastia.org, we handle many questions from guys who have had successful male breast reduction yet continue to fret about their chest.
Why is this?
There are two main reasons we can think of. The first has to do with the mindset of many patients. After thirty years of performing surgery for man boobs in New York, we’ve learned how gynecomastia tends to impact a guy’s psyche. The other reason has to do with the capricious nature of scar tissue.
When guys develop gynecomastia, it is very common for their condition to become at least a minor obsession. Most teen boys and men are disturbed by what they (and others) view as “feminine” characteristics, and many go to great lengths to learn about their moobs. What caused them? How “bad” do they really look? How can they disguise them? Can they get rid of them? Should they lose weight? Gain weight?
When guys learn that male breast reduction is the only remedy for man boobs, many research the option and a good portion choose surgery. Unfortunately, for those whose chest has become an obsession, preoccupation with their physique can continue after the procedure.
After any kind of trauma, including elective surgery, scar formation is the body’s natural reaction. This is a good thing! The body generates this kind of tissue to bring damaged structures back together. It’s unfortunate in a way that scar tissue is not as flat and smooth as original skin, but without the knitting effect, wounds would never heal.
It’s difficult to predict how scar tissue will behave following gynecomastia surgery. Most guys realize they have some scarring under the skin’s surface and aren’t bothered by it. In fact, they see their now smooth, masculine contours and feel satisfied—if not thrilled—with the outcome of their procedure.
But after surgery, some patients touch their chest often, searching for issues. They pinch irregularities under the surface and complaining that they “feel something.” They may be concerned that gynecomastia may be returning when there’s no reason to think that’s the case. They may discover a little lumpiness and worry that their results are compromised; even when on the outside their chest looks great.
Here’s where “too much knowledge” can work against a guy. Patients may have heard that cortisone can reduce scar tissue and may ask for injections. Indeed, in some cases, proper scar treatment is in order. But in many cases, surgical results that look terrific (but may not FEEL perfect) should be left alone.
The input we give guys online is the same advice we give our man boob patients in New York. Try to focus—not obsess—on how your body looks after surgery. View before and after gynecomastia photos, including your own, with objectivity. Ask your best friend, your girlfriend and/or your parents what they think. Listen to your plastic surgeon and know that he or she wants the best for you.
If you’re not content with the results of gynecomastia surgery, we would be happy to see you for a consultation. We perform dozens of revisions of other surgeons’ work annually. But first, consider whether you might be suffering from the double whammy of too much knowledge and a measure of obsession. If you’re not sure, make an appointment. We promise to give you our honest opinion.