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Originally published May 28 2010

Surgeons report surge in "man boob" operations

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Breast reduction operations are becoming rapidly more popular among men, according to data released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

The figures show that the operations increased 80 percent, from 323 to 581, between 2008 and 2009. In 2004, just 22 male breast reductions were performed.

The actual numbers are almost certainly higher -- most likely closer to 1,000 in 2009 -- as only one in three British aesthetic plastic surgeons are members of the association.

The overall rate of plastic surgeries increased by 6.7 percent between 2008 and 2009, with only a 5 percent increase among women. The rate of cosmetic surgeries in men, in contrast, increased by 21 percent.

"There's a lot of pressure on men now to shape up," said researcher Rajiv Grover. "Men's grooming is on the rise, and big fashion houses are using half-naked men, such a David Beckham, to advertise."

In the United States, male breast reduction operations have not increased so drastically, and there was actually a slight drop in 2008, perhaps due to economic hardship. But according to Robert Cattani of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the overall trend is still upward.

"We've seen an increase," Cattani said. "In the last five years, I personally have done 200 to 300 male breast reductions per year."

Breast reduction is the fourth most common form of male cosmetic surgery in the United States, following nose jobs, eyelid surgery and liposuction.

Excess mammary tissue in men, known as gynecomastia, can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions including obesity, breast cancer and the use of illegal or prescription drugs.

"Most of the time, it's just normal variance but you have to rule out underlying causes," said breast surgeon Sharon Rosenbaum-Smith, of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York. "Guys' boobs do go up and down in size as they gain or lose weight, just as women's do. But if you're a pot smoker and you are overweight, just changing your lifestyle may mean you wouldn't need to have a breast reduction."

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