SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK)
49-year-old Will Bennett is passionate about resilient martial arts. 43-year-old Doug Carpenter is a clinical psychologist. They live two different lives, but both men have suffered embarrassment over their breasts.
"I am rarely without a shirt on in public, rarely go to pools," said Bennett.
"I've always worn baggy clothes or my shirts untucked," said Carpenter.
The problem brought both men to plastic surgeon Ruthie McCrary. Bennett said it has bothered him since he was a teen in the locker room.
"I happened to notice that my chest was different, that it was larger, more feminine," he told us.
There are three different times when hormones can trigger growth in male breast tissue, officially called gynocomastia.
"When you're first born and then when you're an adolescent and then the older men between 40 to 60 range when the hormone levels change," McCrary said.
Carpenter recently lost about 50 pounds, but he couldn't make his man boobs disappear, so he opted for surgery.
The procedure involves liposuction and sometimes skin removal.
We asked Dr. McCrary if once you have the surgery whether the man boobs are gone forever.
"There's no more fat cells in that area, so if they gain weight, it would go to another area," she said.
Capoeira is the Brazilian martial art that has helped Bennett get fit. Soon he said he will have the surgery, and both guys said they have no trouble going public with a problem they have always tried to hide.
"I think that I can help other men who are experiencing the same challenge if I'm open about it," said Bennett.
"I want, especially teenage boys, to know that there's a healthy alternative. You don't have to live with the condition," said Carpenter.
We checked out some research in the Journal Pediatrics that shows most teenage boys will outgrow gynocomastia in two years after their hormone levels stabilize.
The cost for the cosmetic procedure ranges from $5,000 to $7,000.