Male Breast Reduction Surgery for Gynecomastia

Published: October 22, 2019
Category: Dr. Christine Stewart, Liposuction, Gynecomastia

Effective surgical solutions to restore your confident edge

This morning, millions of both adolescent and adult men will wake up, look at their chest in the mirror, and feel embarrassed or concerned about the appearance of their breasts. Although rarely discussed in public or even amongst men themselves, Gynecomastia, or enlarged male breasts, is incredibly common. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), up to 60% of all male adolescents suffer from Gynecomastia, and upwards of 65% of men ages 27 to 92 experience some degree of Gynecomastia within their lifetime. This demasculinizing condition can have a severely detrimental impact on a man’s sense of self and overall confidence. It’s time to openly start the conversation about Gynecomastia, dissolve any shame associated with the condition, and discuss effective surgical solutions that can help men regain their confident edge.

What is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a condition in which a man’s breasts are enlarged and appear more feminine. Degrees of Gynecomastia can range from large, puffy nipples all the way to full breast development.

What Causes Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia generally develops because of a sex hormone imbalance, which causes breast tissue to proliferate. The majority of men develop Gynecomastia when they initially go through puberty. For many men, this spontaneously resolves itself after puberty, but for others, breasts continue to become larger.

Weight gain can also be a cause of Gynecomastia – causing “pseudogynecomastia.” In this condition male estrogen levels rise due to fat gain, and this can cause hypertrophy of breast tissue. As a man ages and his androgen (testosterone) levels drop, he may also experience Gynecomastia.

The next most common cause of Gynecomastia is most prevalent in the bodybuilding industry. In these cases, Gynecomastia develops from the prohormones (anabolic steroids) some men take to increase their muscle mass. This disturbance to their natural hormone balance can lead to a glandular type of Gynecomastia.

The last most common cause of Gynecomastia is due to a man’s potential response to some medications and drugs, including alcohol, marijuana, herbal supplements, and other medications used to treat acid reflux and hypertension.

Other less common causes of gynecomastia include testicular tumors, genetic syndromes, thyroid and other endocrine gland dysfunction, cirrhosis and alcholism, and kidney failure.

As you can imagine, it is important to meet with your primary care provider and an endocrinologist to determine the origins of your Gynecomastia before seeking treatment. In some cases, the condition can gradually be resolved through proper hormone balancing by treating the underlying condition or stopping the offending medication or drug. Although Gynecomastia is not directly correlated with breast cancer, a man, especially one with a family history of breast cancer, should have any mass evaluated by a physician.

What are the Symptoms of Gynecomastia?

Some men, especially adolescents, will experience slight pain and tenderness in their breasts with Gynecomastia. By far, the most concerning symptom is the negative impact the appearance of enlarged breasts can have on a man’s self-esteem.

“I dreaded the arrival of Summer each year because it meant being out on the lake with my friends and feeling so self-conscious about taking my shirt off,” shares Tim, a 34-year-old accountant from Edina, Minnesota. “I seriously had a permanent farmer’s tan on my arms and neck because I never, ever took my shirt off in the summer no matter how hot it got,” he continues. “Plus, it made my dating life kind of have this expiration date. Whenever things got to the point of getting physically intimate, I just shut down because I had zero confidence about my body and felt embarrassed. I finally scheduled a consultation with a surgeon to discuss treatment options because I felt like I was missing out on my own life!”

What does Gynecomastia Look Like?

A typical male breast is generally flat with nipples that are small and also flat. When a man moves, you can see the outline of his pectoral muscles. In a Gynecomastia breast, there is an excess of tissue that has accumulated between the muscle and skin. This increases the volume of the breast and gives the overall chest a more feminine appearance. A man’s nipples may also appear darkened, and puffy and areolas may be large and wide as well. A man may also notice a firmer lump of breast tissue beneath the nipple areola complex.

What is the Most Effective Treatment Therapy for Gynecomastia?

If other treatable and augmentable causes have been ruled out, Gynecomastia is best treated through surgery,” says Dr. Christine Stewart of Edina Plastic Surgery. “Although technologies like CoolSculpting® are sometimes used to reduce fat in the male breast, they do nothing to remove the excess skin that can result and will not effectively reduce actual breast tissue. A combination of liposuction to remove fat, and tissue excision to remove excess skin and breast tissue, is the gold standard in male breast reduction surgery for Gynecomastia.”

In male breast reduction surgery, liposuction is used to remove fatty tissue from the breast and provide contouring. This is then followed by surgical tissue removal under the nipple to restore a flatter, more masculine appearance to the chest. In some cases if men have a lot of extra skin and tissue, the nipple and areola complex may have to be completely removed and placed back onto the chest wall as a skin graft.

What is the Downtime Associated with Male Breast Reduction Surgery?

“Our male breast reduction surgeries are performed under general anesthesia,” explains Dr. Stewart. “That means you are asleep during the procedure and feel no pain. In certain cases, where there is not a substantial amount of excess fat and tissue, your surgery may be performed under a local anesthetic, and you will be awake. In this case, your discomfort only stems from the initial anesthetic injections.”

After your surgery, drainage tubes may utilized to ensure proper healing. You will be wrapped in a compressive dressing after surgery and will be able to return home the same day. Rest and light walking is recommended for several days, and most patients return to work in as little as a week as long as their job doesn’t include heavy lifting, pushing, or strenuous activity. Expect to have swelling for months after surgery, during which time you will be advised to keep wearing your compression garment. Scarring is inevitable with male breast reduction surgery but can be reduced with proper post-care. Hair on the chest can help camouflage scarring.

“This Summer was the first time I’ve had a full tan on my chest and back since I was 17 years old,” says Tim with a huge smile. “I scheduled my surgery last Fall so I would have the full Winter to heal and stay under wraps,” he continues. “The surgery itself felt like a long wind up for a fast pitch,” he jokes. “I was so worked up about it, and then it seemed like it was over in a flash, and I was left

wondering why I hadn’t done this sooner! I can’t even articulate how liberating it was to get out on the lake this Summer and proudly take off my shirt and truly enjoy the sun and feel confident about my body for the first time in decades!”

Are you a man who has been diagnosed with Gynecomastia and is struggling with the appearance of your breasts? If so, please know that you are in the company of many other men and that treatment options are available. Call (952) 925-1765 to schedule a consultation to discuss male breast reduction surgery with an Edina Plastic Surgery plastic surgeon.

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