The word gynecomastia means "female breast" and is the medical description that refers to an overgrowth or breast-like formation of the normally flat male chest around the nipple. Surprisingly, gynecomastia affects between 40 to 60 percent of all men, and as men age, the chance of having too much breast tissue increases. If the appearance of your chest makes you avoid taking off your shirt in public, or if you do not wear fitted shirts because you are self-conscious about the appearance of your chest, this procedure has the potential to change your life. The goal is to give you a noticeably flatter chest that features a more masculine contour.
Gynecomastia comes in two forms. The first can be caused by genetics, medication, or a handful of other reasons and is when actual breast tissue forms from the normally dormant cells under the nipple. The second type of gynecomastia is more esthetic in nature and occurs when fatty tissue builds up throughout the breast, causing an embarrassing feminization of the male chest. However, both forms can be treated, and the first is often considered a medical problem that can be paid for through medical insurance. The second form is not covered by medical insurance, as it is considered cosmetic but can be treated with liposuction.
Patients who seek to undergo this treatment should be at a stable weight and overall good health. Typically, gynecomastia patients display the following conditions:
If any of the above sounds familiar to you, we would love to meet with you to discuss the specifics of this surgery, and develop a personalized treatment plan.
Male breast reduction is usually performed with liposuction alone. Depending upon the shape and severity of each case, the approach can include small incisions at the edge of the nipple and near the armpit. Regardless of which incision site is chosen, the scar(s) will be nearly impossible to see after 6 months.
The procedure is done in our on-site surgical suite using twilight anesthesia to ensure safety and comfort. The areas to be treated are marked while the patient is sitting up, and, identical to the liposuction technique, tumescent solution (a combination of lidocaine for pain and epinephrine to reduce bleeding) is injected throughout the area to render complete numbness and a pain-free procedure. Using the incisions as entry points, we will remove an appropriate amount of fatty tissue to achieve the contour and results that you are seeking.
Once our goals have been achieved, dressings will be applied to the incision ports, along with a compression garment. Excess draining is typical for the first few days and can be managed by regular cleaning and changing your bandages. It is routine for patients to walk in and out of the procedure with ease.
Following the surgery, you will notice an immediate improvement in the shape of your chest. You will likely feel sore, but your pain should be minimal after the first 2-3 days. Prescription pain medication will be made available, but we have found that a moderate dose of Ibuprofen or Tylenol can provide satisfactory pain reduction for many of our patients. Ice packs also reduce swelling and provide relief during the healing process.
The compression garment should be worn continuously (except for wound care and bathing) for the first week—this will help your chest heal, and the support of the garment will relieve further discomfort.
Every case is different, but we find that most of our patients can return to work after only a few days. If surgery is done later in the week, you will likely be able to return to work on Monday or Tuesday of the following week (unless your work involves lifting of any kind).
Additionally, we recommend avoiding vigorous physical activity, contact sports, and weight workouts for 3-6 weeks after surgery. This will allow your chest to heal and will minimize the likelihood of prolonged swelling and recovery.
Gynecomastia surgery results are permanent, as long as you maintain a stable weight. If you’re happy with your new look once the healing process is complete, you shouldn’t need follow-up procedures. A healthy lifestyle, along with diet and exercise, can go a long way to ensure that your results stay true for the foreseeable future.
As mentioned before, the improved shape of your chest will be noticeable right after your surgery is completed, with even better results once you have completely healed. This surgery is a very effective and safe way to improve your chest's appearance, with results that can last for years to come.