01 December 2008

The number of male chest reduction operations performed in the UK is continuing to rise, according to one leading surgeon.

Raj Ragoowansi, a consultant plastic surgeon at St Bartholomew's Hospital in east London, told Radio 1's Newsbeat that he has seen a significant rise in the number of men requesting the procedure in the last three months.

Enlarged male breasts - often colloquially referred to as 'man boobs' - are caused by gynaecomastia, a condition that causes tissue in the chest area to grow into female-like breasts.

Dr Ragoowansi said: "[Gynaecomastia] becomes a particular embarrassment for that person and they either become reclusive or shy.

"It also affects their confidence and their self esteem and they have to adjust their social lives and fashion accordingly.

"This is a problem which should be taken very seriously."

According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, the number of men undergoing male chest reductions rose by 27 per cent in 2007 compared to 2006.

Nigel Mercer, then the president-elect of BAAPS, stated at the time of release: "There are a variety of reasons for male breasts getting bigger, these include a rise in obesity, a rise in drinking and potentially, more female hormones in the environment."

The number of male cosmetic surgery procedures performed in the UK in general has also seen an 18 per cent rise in last year, as aesthetic treatments cease to be seen as a female-only domain.

The most popular surgeries include rhinopasty (nose surgery), otoplasty (ear reshaping) and liposuction (fat removal), while the number of men turning to wrinkle relaxing injections like Botox has also seen a rise.