Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mooby Dick - Scottish NHS Picks Up The Dime For Male Breast Reductions

Scottish NHS Is Paying For Men To Have Breast Reductions
Perez Hilton is probably wishing he was Scottish right about now.

Hundreds of men claiming emotional distress caused by their flabby chests have talked the Scottish National Health Service into paying for their breast reductions. The Sunday Times reports that the NHS has paid for the surgery for 352 men so far.

Obesity is epidemic in all parts of the UK, with Wales being having the second highest obesity levels in Europe. The rise in excess flab may account for a portion of the "moob" removal cases, but the press - as they often do - has over-simplified the issue. High fat percentage is not the only cause of men's breasts growing large and flabby.

The condition of men developing breasts is called gynecomastia. Doctors have identified two specific types of gynecomastia: true gynecomastia and pseudogynecomastia. True gynecomastia is a condition in which female hormones cause a man's chest to develop fat deposits centered around the nipple, gland tissues and so-called "hard-fats" not easily treated with liposuction.

Pseudogynecomastia, as it's name implies, is simply caused by a high body fat percentage and a genetic predisposition for storing fat in the chest area. Pseudogynecomastia, unlike genuine gynecomastia, causes a build-up of "soft fat" mostly under the arm that is easily treated with liposuction or diet and exercise (the man pictured above has pseudogynecomastia). The catch is, overweight men often have stunted testosterone production and the excess weight can actually trigger estrogen production; therefore, pseduogynecomastia (in some cases) can become genuine gynecomastia.

An otherwise perfectly healthy man with an average, or even below average body fat percentage can develop gynecomastia and so, the case may not be so cut-and-dry as the press and conservative Scottish politicians would have the public believe. Although gynecomastia is not fatal, the ramifications of having true gynecomastia can be psychologically devastating to a man; therefore, it is misleading of the press and politicians to insist that the issue revolves totally around weight and the possibility that these men can simply diet and exercise to loose their breasts. For some men, surgery is the only option to deal with their moobs.

While I would agree that making tax payers foot the bill for a man with pseudogynecomastia where alternative treatment to reduce body fat is available and, in fact, a better solution, I can sympathize with men suffering from genuine gynecomastia and I don't think it is at all frivolous or completely irresponsible for NHS to offer them the option of having the necessary breast reduction.

For men outside of Scotland with gynecomastia or pseudogynecomastia, information on surgical options for treatment can be found here. Several men who choose to have a breast reduction to deal with the condition, also opt for pectoral implants.

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