HSE spends €207k on 'man boob' reduction operations
The HSE has spent an estimated €207,000 on ‘man boob’ reduction operations over the past four years.
Figures provided by the HSE in response to a written Dáil question by Fianna Fáil’s Robert Troy TD on the issue show that between 2014 and the end of August last, the HSE has carried out 46 ‘man-boob’ reduction operations.
'Man-boobs' or gynaecomastica is swelling of the breast tissue in men or boys, caused by an imbalance between estrogen and testosterone.
The figures provided by the HSE show that between January and August last year, the HSE performed nine elective procedures; 12 elective and one emergency procedure in 2016; 10 elective procedures in 2015 and 14 elective procedures in 2014.
In its written reply to Deputy Troy, the HSE stated that those who do undergo surgery are usually treated by a general breast surgeon or plastic surgeon.
Medical Director with at the privately owned Venus Medical in Dublin, Dr Peter Prendergast said yesterday he performs “20-30 cases of male breast reduction annually, but the number is indeed growing”.
Dr Prendergast said: “I meet several men every week who are extremely concerned about the appearance of their breasts. They wear loose, baggy clothes to conceal the contour of their chest. They avoid beaches."
He went on: “They are embarrassed when they are with their partners or even children, who often, innocently, pass remarks. Surgery on these patients, whether excisional surgery or liposuction, is often indicated and can be life-changing for them.”
Dr Prendergast said that men continue to be “extremely” embarrassed by their gynaecomastia.
Dr Prendergast said that “‘Man boobs’ or ‘Moobs’ are unhelpful terms that do little to ameliorate the situation for those who suffer psychologically from gynecomastia or enlarged male breasts. Most people are unaware of how this condition impacts the metal state of men.
“In my experience, men “suffer in silence”, often for many years, before taking the step to have intervention that reduces male breasts”.
Asked why he thinks the number of males undergoing the procedure is on the rise, Dr Prendergast said: “The number is growing in my practice as more men become aware of the possibility of improving the appearance of their chest without the need for surgery that requires general anaesthesia.
“Men also realise that is it a very common concern, and nothing to be ashamed about.”
Dr Pendergast said: “Up to 30 per cent of men have enlarged breasts and many of them are extremely bothered by their appearance. For some, it is true gynecomatia, where the actual breast gland is enlarged.
“Others have so called pseudogynecomastia where there is simply excessive fatty tissue in the chest. It is often very resistant to diet and exercise, and the only remedy for aesthetically acceptable results is surgery.”
Dr Prendergast - who has been carrying out gynaecomastica reduction procedures for the past 10 years - said that the cost of each procedure is around €4,500.
He said: “My preferred choice for treating gynecomastia and enlarged male breasts us to to use a sophisticated form of liposuction called VASER. This requires only 4mm incisions, and the use of local anaesthetic injected into the area.”
He said: “The procedure takes just one hour, and the patient can go home straight away afterwards since no general anaesthetic is required.
“Apart from wearing a special compression garment and taking mild pain relief, the recovery is quick and most men return to work within 2-3 days.”
The HSE state that up to 69pc of pubertal boys experience some degree of gynaecomastia, it is usually a self-limited condition within months to three years.
The executive state: "Persistent male gynaecomastia is a rare indication for surgery in Ireland with 10 to 15 occurring operations per year."