Male Breasts: Surgery Offers New Appearance and Outlook

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Male Breast Condition Stigmatizing

The procedure lasted about three hours, and ABC News' "Good Morning America" followed up with Holler for a few months after the surgery as he recovered.

Before having the procedure done, Holler was very embarrassed by his appearance, something common among men with gynecomastia.

"The psychosocial impact is significant," said Dr. Julius Few, founder of the Few Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in Chicago. "Often, patients are subjected to wearing multiple tee shirts or being afraid to go swimming, even in warm weather."

Holler didn't even want to play in his own pool with his kids without a shirt. But since the surgery, there's been a remarkable change -- he went on a beach vacation with his family and played in the water with no shirt on.

"That was something I never thought I'd see him do," Kathy Holler said.

Erik Holler also remembers painful taunts from his own family members.

"They'll say something somewhat demeaning in some ways like, 'Wow, pretty soon you're going to be borrowing your wife's bras.'"

Gynecomastia was even the subject of an episode of the TV show "Seinfeld" that featured two of the characters debating whether to call their male bra a "mansiere" or a "bro."

While seeing that show was difficult for Holler, one plastic surgeon who specializes in gynecomastia surgery said it was helpful for men who live with the condition.

"The 'Seinfeld' episode made men aware that this is a condition," said Dr. Rick Silverman of New England Plastic Surgical Associates in Brighton, Mass. He also credited the Internet.

"We are seeing more patients now than in the past," he said. "The Internet has done a lot to make men aware that this is a medical condition that can be treated."

Holler feels better now than he ever did, and he's sharing his story to get the message out to other men.

"I'm very proud of him, and I'm hoping that he helps other men who are out there, going through the same suffering and frustrations that I watched him go through every day," Kathy Holler said.

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