Naluda magazine, an online publication which covers topics on lifestyle, fashion, travel, social events, sports and celebrity news, recently sat down with Dr. Cruise and Bravo TV reality star Brandon Liberati to discuss the topic of gynecomastia. Brandon and his partner Craig Ramsay were one of the couples on the most reason season of Newlyweds: The First Year. In one of the episodes, Brandon opened up about suffering with the condition of gynecomastia. The show highlighted Brandon going through male breast reduction surgery to not only correct his male breasts, but to also rule out the possibility of having breast cancer.
Naluda interviewed both Dr. Cruise and Brandon to find out more about the physical and emotional aspects of gynecomastia, surgery, the healing process, as well as Brandon’s overall experience and message he wants to send to men who are still hiding in shame. Here are some excerpts from the article.
Interview with Dr. Cruise -
When men decide to have Gynecomastia is there any psychological impact before and after?
Gynecomastia is more than a mere aesthetic concern. The emotional and psychological effects of this condition run deep and strip away self confidence like a cancer. It spares no age group or race, often rearing its ugly head early in puberty when young teenagers are already having a difficult time fitting in. They become withdrawn, and begin to feel alone and trapped in a body they begin to hate, eating away at their body image during a critical time. This emotional pain continues into adulthood on a broader scale as grown men begin to feel self conscious by the pool, changing at the gym, and ashamed in their own skin. Most patients, regardless of age, don’t even realize this condition has a name, let alone a treatment. Patients suffer in silence, enduring profound feelings of embarrassment and becoming extremely self-conscious. Patients choose to have Gynecomastia at all ages and stages of life to allow them the freedom they desire from the emotional trauma and physical insecurity they feel while enduring this condition.
I have seen nearly every demographic of men living with this condition. The affect it has on them before surgery is generally described as leaving them feeling very emasculated. It affects their confidence and self image. It also hinders them from participating in “normal” activities many of us take for granted such as being comfortable taking their shirt off at the pool or changing in a locker room. After surgery men stand taller, choose better fitting clothing as they are no longer selecting items to strategically hide their condition, and no longer feel embarrassed as they embrace their new masculine chest. The most common comment we hear from our patients is “I wish I did this sooner.”
Can you share with us some of the details of Brandon’s surgery?
I admire Brandon’s bravery in choosing to not only address this condition which hindered him nearly his whole life, but the fact that he chose to utilize his experience to help bring awareness to this condition so others do not continue to suffer in silence. Brandon not only grew up in the 80’s as a Gay Male, but in traditional Utah, and suffered from Gynecomastia. This combination created some deep emotional wounds for Brandon and this mixture had the potential to result in suicide, which thankfully it did not.
Brandon’s case was a great representation of the most common misconception about Gynecomastia, as he is not only an attractive but very fit individual. It is not merely a condition that overweight men experience. Brandon is in excellent physical shape, eats well, and exercises regularly resulting in very low body fat. His condition at its core was literally excess glandular tissue. There is no combination of diet and exercise that would have ever improved his condition. In fact, what frustrates many men when trying to fix the problem with exercise is that they notice more projection in the chest because the breast tissue sits above the muscle which becomes more defined with targeted, progressive exercise.
Interview with Brandon -
How do you feel watching the episode on TV?
It was interesting that days before the episode aired I was starting to have some anxiety and I could feel the shame that was a constant in my past start to creep back in. There was no turning back now, everyone was going to know the secret that plagued me. I think I held my breath through most of the episode! It wasn’t until I saw all of the support and outreach on social media during that I started to relax. Hundreds of people that were feeling the same effects that gynecomastia had mentally tortured me with. I made the right decision sharing this.
When did you decide to go trough this surgery and most important why?
I had discovered lumps in my chest, which at the time I did not know they were just fibrous, but because I have a chronic family history of double mastectomies and breast cancer related deaths, I didn’t want to put it off.
Do you think after the show aired and your social media interaction will help others?
I have already seen the positive impact sharing this experience with others has had. It’s almost like someone has given them permission to talk about it and it has made many feel like they are not alone.
Read full interview with Dr. Cruise and Brandon here: