What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a condition that causes the enlargement of male breast tissue. This condition can lead to embarrassment and decreased self-confidence in men who suffer with it. Over the years, the number of men seeking gynecomastia surgery has continued to increase.
Hormonal surges can lead to the growth of male breast tissue during puberty. Some cases show that after puberty, this breast tissue shrinks but, in many cases, it remains enlarged. The prevalence of asymptomatic gynecomastia is 60 to 90 percent in children, 50 to 60 percent in adolescents, and up to 70 percent in men 50 to 69 years old.
Puberty, excess weight, and the use of anabolic steroids in bodybuilding can cause gynecomastia. Using marijuana and several other medications can also cause male breast enlargement.
What is gynecomastia surgery?
Gynecomastia surgery is male breast reduction by removing the breast tissue, helping to flatten and enhance the chest contours.
When patients come in with gynecomastia, they may just have enlarged breast tissue, but they may also present with excess fatty tissue to the area. Gynecomastia involves surgical removal of the excess glandular breast tissue through an incision around the areola and/or skin excision (in case of very large male breasts). Liposuction is in some cases necessary to decrease and fatty tissue.
In some situations where it is needed, the position and size of the areola can be improved with this surgery and excess skin may also be reduced.
Gynecomastia Signs and Symptoms
Gynecomastia usually occurs in both breasts, but patients may have this occur in only one breast as well. Breast tissue usually presents more firm than fatty tissue and is movable and is usually located directly under the areola.
Some symptoms can include swelling and tenderness in the breast gland tissue, darkening and increased size of the areola, and the chest visually looking uneven. If there is unusual and persistent swelling, tenderness, pain, or nipple discharge, it is important to see your doctor.
Gynecomastia is not generally a serious medical issue, however, research shows that men suffering from this condition lose self-confidence and feel embarrassed. This can lead to problems with social functioning, mental health issues, low self-esteem, and eating disorders.
Why have Gynecomastia surgery?
Losing weight may help decrease the fatty tissue to the chest, however, this will not decrease true glandular breast tissue.
Gynecomastia surgery is the only consistently effective way to reduce the glandular breast tissue, providing long-lasting (if not permanent) results. It is common for patients who have had this surgery to report that it has greatly improved their confidence that they feel comfortable going shirtless for the first time in many years.
If you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious with the size of your chest tissue, or if you find yourself avoiding certain activities just because you are embarrassed, you might be a candidate for gynecomastia surgery.
Recovery After Gynecomastia Surgery
Most patients typically require surgical removal of the excess breast tissue and some may need liposuction as well. Typically, recovery is three to six weeks before you can engage in activities without limits. There is typically a weight restriction during the first three weeks after surgery along with a compression garment that needs to be worn during this time.
Overall, gynecomastia surgery is remarkably safe, and most patients that have this surgery have a smooth recovery. However, complications can still occur. Some common complications include, bruising, bleeding, fluid collection and visible scarring. Other not as common complications can include, contour irregularities, numbness of the nipples, loose breast skin, asymmetries.
Life After Gynecomastia Surgery
After gynecomastia surgery, there should be a noticeable improvement in the shape and appearance of your chest. You may feel sore for a few days to a week, but the pain is usually tolerable. Your plastic surgeon will most likely prescribe some pain medication. You are given a compression garment after surgery, you should wear it as directed — it will enhance your comfort and help your chest heal effectively. You will also have an external drain for a few days post operatively to alleviate any complications from excessive fluid collection. Your surgeon will direct you on when these drains can be removed but this is usually between three to five days after surgery.
Every patient’s healing process or recovery is unique, but most patients feel that they can already return to work just a few days depending on the nature of their work. Some men may experience a loss of sensation in the treated areas after surgery, but this is usually temporary. Loss of sensation should return a few weeks to months after your procedure.
If you are suffering from gynecomastia, this surgery may be the right solution. To learn more about gynecomastia surgery, visit the Aesthetic Center of Plastic Surgery. Schedule your consultation and contact us today!