GYNECOMASTIA

If you’re considering Gynecomastia…

Gynecomastia is a medical term that comes from the Greek words for “woman like breasts”. Though this oddly named condition is rarely talked about, it’s actually quite common.  Gynecomastia affects an estimated 40-60 percent of men. It may affect only one breast or both.  Though certain drugs and medical problems have been linked with male breast overdevelopment, there is no known cause in the vast majority of cases.

For men who feel self-conscious about their appearance, breast reduction surgery can help.  The procedure removes fat and glandular tissue from the breasts, and in extreme cases removes excess skin resulting in a chest that is flatter, firmer, and better contoured.

Click here for Before and After Patient images

THE BEST CANDIDATES FOR GYNECOMASTIA CORRECTION

Surgery to correct gynecomastia can be performed on healthy, emotionally stable men of any age.  The best candidates for surgery have firm, elastic skin that will reshape to the body’s new contours.

Surgery may be discouraged for obese men, or for overweight men who have not first attempted to correct the problem with exercise or weight loss. Also, individuals who drink alcohol beverages in excess or smoke marijuana are usually not considered good candidates for this surgery.  These drugs, along with anabolic steroids, can cause gynecomastia. Therefore, patients are usually first directed to stop the use of these drugs to see if the breast fullness will diminish, before surgery is considered an option.

ALL SURGERY CARRIES SOME UNCERTAINTY AND RISK

When male gynecomastia surgery is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Nevertheless, as with any surgery, there are risks.  These include: infection; skin injury; excessive bleeding; and excessive fluid accumulation.  The procedure may also result in: noticeable scars; permanent pigment changes in the breast area; or slightly mismatched breasts or nipples.  If asymmetry is significant, a second procedure may be performed to correct the problem. The temporary effects of gynecomastia surgery include loss of breast sensation or numbness, which may last up to a year.

Don’t hesitate to ask your surgeon any questions you may have during your initial consultation – including your concerns about the recommended treatment or the costs involved.

PREPARING FOR SURGERY

Smokers are not good candidates for gynecomastia surgery.  Smoking decreases circulation and interferes with proper healing and can result in post-operative bleeding.

WHERE YOUR SURGERY WILL BE PERFORMED

Surgery for gynecomastia is performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia which allows the patient to sleep through the entire operation. The surgery itself usually takes about an hour or two to complete.  However, more extensive procedures may take longer.

THE SURGERY

If excess glandular tissue is the primary cause of the breast enlargement, it will be excised.  The excision may be performed alone or in conjunction with liposuction.  In a typical procedure, an incision is made in an inconspicuous location usually on the edge of the areola or under the breast on the chest.  Working through the incision, the surgeon removes the excess glandular tissue, fat, and if necessary skin from around the areola and from the sides and bottom of the breast.  Major reductions that involve the removal of a significant amount of tissue and skin may require larger incisions that result in more conspicuous scars. If liposuction is used to remove excess fat, a cannula may be inserted through the incision.

In extreme cases where large amounts of fat or glandular tissue have been removed, skin may not adjust well to the new smaller breast contour.  In these cases, excess skin may have to be removed to allow the remaining skin to firmly readjust to the new breast contour.  Sometimes, a small drain is inserted through a separate incision to draw off excess fluids for a few days.  Once closed, the incisions are covered with a dressing. A chest binder is used to keep the skin firmly in place and to prevent any blood collections.

AFTER YOUR SURGERY

You will feel some discomfort for a few days after surgery. However, discomfort can easily be controlled with ice packs and prescribed medications. In any case, you should arrange to have someone drive you home after surgery and to help you out for a day or two if needed.  Limit any arm movement where you are using your chest muscles.

You’ll be swollen and bruised for a while.  To help reduce swelling, you should wear the elastic pressure garment continuously for a week or two, and for a few weeks longer at night.  Although the worst of your swelling will dissipate in the first few weeks, it may be three months or more before the final results of your surgery are apparent.

Stitches will generally be removed about 4-5 days following the procedure.  You should avoid sexual activity for a week or two, and any heavy exercise for about three weeks.  Stay away from any sport or job that risks a blow to the chest area or lifting heavy objects for at least four weeks.  In general, it will take about a month before you’re back to all of your normal activities

You should also avoid exposing the resulting scars to the sun.  Sunlight can permanently affect the skin pigmentation, causing the scar to turn dark. If sun exposure is unavoidable, use a strong sunblock or wear a shirt.

YOUR NEW LOOK

Gynecomastia surgery can enhance your appearance and self-confidence. The results of the procedure are significant and permanent.  If your expectations are realistic, chances are good that you’ll be very satisfied with your new look.