Men: Ultrasound-Assisted Lipoplasty in Treating Male Breast Enlargement

NEW YORK, NY (May 2, 1997) — Enlarged breasts in men, a condition called gynecomastia, is reported to affect up to 60 percent of males. Gynecomastia can be a problem as early as the teenage years, though the incidence increases somewhat with age. A study of 37 male patients who were treated for gynecomastia from Feb. 1995 to Oct. 1996 suggests that ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL) is a promising new treatment modality for this condition. The study was presented at the 30th Anniversary Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), May 2-7, at the New York Hilton and Towers.

Generally, gynecomastia is treated either by using traditional liposuction to remove excess fat from the breasts, excising breast tissue or a combination of the two. However, liposuction of the male breast can be difficult due to the vascular and fibrous nature of the breast tissue. And when excisional surgery is necessary, it leaves permanent scars that some men find objectionable.

The new ultrasound technique uses soundwaves to liquefy the fat before it is suctioned out, which results in less trauma to the surrounding structures such as blood vessels and connective tissues.

The technique is particularly beneficial in treating areas of fibrotic tissue interspersed with fatty deposits, such as breast tissue in males, say the study's authors. "There is less bleeding, less bruising and improved ability to contour the breast," says plastic surgeon Mary K. Gingrass, MD, Nashville, Tenn., who presented the study at the ASAPS meeting. "UAL may, in some instances, eliminate the need for excision of tissue with the associated scars."

The UAL technique and instrumentation have been refined over the last two years through a joint effort of the UAL Task Force (initiated by ASAPS), UAL device manufacturers and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The technique is currently being taught to plastic surgeons through a series of accredited courses organized by the task force. One such course is being held in conjunction with the ASAPS meeting in New York.

Some surgeons feel that the effectiveness of UAL, compared to traditional liposuction, has not been proven. In addition, UAL currently is not recommended for the treatment of certain areas of the body such as the face, neck, knees and inner thighs. Any prospective patient considering UAL should be certain that the surgeon is experienced in liposuction and has attended a training course accredited by the UAL Task Force.


The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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