What is gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia (overdevelopment of male breasts) is a common condition characterized by an excess of localized fat and/or glandular tissue in the breast.
Causes of Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia is sometimes caused by disease, hormonal changes, heredity or certain medications, although, in most cases, its cause is unknown. It can occur in one or both breasts and can affect babies, preteens, teenagers and grown men.
Symptoms of Gynecomastia
Symptoms of gynecomastia include enlarged breasts, breasts that feel rubbery or firm and, in young boys, nickel- or quarter-sized breast “buds.” Breast buds are common in adolescents and tend to go away on their own.
What are the benefits of gynecomastia surgery?
Male breast reduction offers physical and emotional benefits. Physically, this procedure reshapes the chest to achieve more masculine contours. Having smaller, more masculine chest shape, a man may no longer use a support garment, if that has been his habit. This can improve comfort during routine activities. When the chest is well-shaped to fit the body, a man may also stand and sit with improved posture. Some men slouch as a way of caving in the chest to hide enlarged breasts. Better contours enable a man to pull his shoulders back in a more confident stance.
Emotionally speaking, male breast reduction can be life-changing. We have a specific expectation for the male physique. Men whose bodies do not fit that ideal often feel embarrassed. Without proper treatment, men can feel isolated and hopeless; accepting that they may always have to rely on compression garments or loose clothing to hide enlarged breasts. The improvement in self-confidence after gynecomastia surgery can be steep, enabling patients to step into their best selves.
As long as breast development is complete, plastic surgery can be used to treat gynecomastia that is not caused by disease or medication. Treatment choices include liposuction or surgery, or a combination of the two; which technique is chosen depends on the amount and type of tissue in the breasts.
If the breasts consist mostly of fatty tissue, liposuction can be used to suction out fat through incisions made in the nipples or underarm areas. For breasts with an excessive amount of glandular tissue, excision surgery, which requires cutting away excess fat, skin and tissue, can be performed. This requires a larger incision than is used with liposuction.
“I had a procedure done by Dr. Olack and I just couldn’t be happier to have come across an amazing doctor. Very happy with the result and I’d recommend Dr. Olack highly. Staff is very professional as well!”
Gynecomastia Surgery Recovery
Patients are often surprised at the ease with which they can recover from male breast reduction surgery. The primary side effect to contend with is swelling. This is helped greatly by wearing a compression vest. This vest may be applied at the end of the surgical procedure and can be worn at all times for a few days. Swelling typically peaks about 5 to 6 days after male breast reduction surgery. After that point, the compression vest may be switched for a mildly tight-fitting sports shirt. Some patients wear gentle compression for up to one month. Though mild after the first week, swelling can take a few months to completely subside.
Patients cannot drive themselves home after male breast reduction surgery because the chest needs to be kept relatively still to ensure good incision healing. Driving cannot resume until narcotic pain medication is no longer being taken. Patients must also feel physically comfortable enough to make the necessary movements when driving. It is often wise to begin driving short distances first.
It is possible to return to work within a few days after gynecomastia surgery, depending on the extent of the procedure and use of narcotic pain medication. Some patients feel well enough to work from home the day after their procedure. When work requires more physical movement, more time off is needed. More time off may also be needed when breast excision is performed, as opposed to liposuction alone. Ultimately, each patient must listen to their body when it comes to returning to work.
Exercise is often a major aspect of a man’s life when he’s been living with gynecomastia. We understand the desire to get back to the gym after male breast reduction. This may be possible for about three weeks after surgery. Up until that point, the chest should be undisrupted. Cases of liposuction breast reduction may be different, allowing exercise to resume about two weeks after surgery. It is important not to rush strenuous exercise after male breast reduction. Doing so could impede optimal healing and could make swelling last longer.
Risks of Gynecomastia Surgery
All surgical procedures come with risks, while uncommon, gynecomastia surgery risks include:
- Breast asymmetry
- Possibility of revision surgery
During your consultation, Dr. Olack will discuss all the possible risks associated with his surgery.
Is male breast reduction surgery safe?
Yes. Male breast reduction is conducted using the same strict safety protocols of other surgical procedures. Patients are monitored while under anesthesia as well as for a short time after their procedure until they begin to wake up from their sedated state. Whether the only liposuction is performed or breast excision, it is necessary to undergo male breast reduction only from a board-certified plastic surgeon. This reduces the risk of a poor aesthetic outcome, infection, and excess fluid buildup. Post-surgical risks of complications are also managed by following care guidelines provided by our office. Patients should strictly avoid smoking and alcohol consumption until their incisions have healed.
Is male breast reduction surgery painful?
Male breast reduction is not a painful surgery. Patients receive appropriate anesthesia to make their procedure comfortable, and also their recovery. During the procedure, pain receptors are blocked so the chest area feels numb. When general anesthesia is administered, patients are in a comfortable sleep state. Upon waking, patients may feel sore. Many patients describe post-operative pain as feeling like they completed a strenuous workout. Pain medication is very successful at improving comfort. Within a few days, over-the-counter medication may be sufficient.
How much does male breast reduction surgery cost?
Several factors influence the cost of gynecomastia surgery. These include the type of anesthesia that is used (local or general), surgery center fees, medical supplies, and the surgeon’s training and experience. After your consultation and treatment plan, you will be provided with a detailed cost breakdown based on your procedure.
Is male breast reduction surgery covered by insurance?
Surgery to correct gynecomastia is typically not covered by insurance. Though the procedure can improve several aspects of a man’s life, it is not considered medically necessary in most cases. Still, male breast reduction is a common plastic surgery procedure performed today. Patients may find it easier to finance their procedure using a program that offers low interest or flexible payment plans.