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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Learn How One Man Went from Breasts to Pecs

By Melissa Browne

Some women may be willing to pay for nice ones. But for many men, having breasts is an embarrassing and sometimes devastating problem.

"I was in 8th grade and I had taken my shirt off in the locker room and one of the kids next to me who was playing sports with me was like, 'Wow you have like boobs,'" said Edward Brodrick. "From then on it was just tormenting."

The medical term for what Broderick was suffering is gynecomastia. It's what many crassly refer to as "man boobs."

Click here to watch a video on Broderick's pectoral procedure

No man wants them. And many will do just about anything to get rid of them - diet, exercise, even hormonal therapy. But what some guys don't understand is that there are hidden health factors that are associated with this condition.

"Sometimes, we see it caused by obesity or gaining a lot of weight," explained Dr. Stephen Greenberg, a board certified plastic surgeon in Woodbury, N.Y. "And other times, (it's caused by) medications, prescription medications for high blood pressure or even steroid use. When you hit puberty, there are a lot of hormonal changes that set in and sometimes the boys get gynecomastia."

Greenberg also said use of illegal drugs by males during their teens and early 20's can cause the condition.

This condition is common and Greenberg said nearly 30 percent of men are affected by gynecomastia. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 14,000 boys ages 13-19 underwent surgery to remove unwanted breast tissue in 2006. Greenberg said it's one of the number one cosmetic procedure that men come to see him for.

"In general, when you are talking about gynecomastia, it’s a benign situation" said Greenberg. "The appearance of it is what bothers most people."

And that's exactly what bothered 28-year-old Broderick.

"I have wanted to do this my whole life," he said recently, just before undergoing corrective surgery for the problem.

Greenberg said surgical options are really the only way to rid this problem, and the procedure is quick with little downtime -- something men look for in cosmetic procedures.

"We do a little liposuction in the area of the chest, followed by a small incision at which time we remove the actual gland, the breast tissue is removed," he said. "The whole procedure takes less than an hour, and patients go back to work within 48 hours. And they’re back to normal with gym activity within about three to four weeks."

Patients will see an immediate difference, but full results can take up to a month.

And it was worth the wait and the pain for Broderick, who said the first thing he'll do once healed, "Oh take my shirt off and go to the beach."

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