Gynecomastia is enlarged breasts in men or boys. It’s a surprisingly common condition that is said to affect between 40 and 60 percent of the male population. Though the causes of gynecomastia are mostly unknown, other causes can be the side effects of medications, the complications of certain medical disorders or heredity. It’s seen sometimes in men who’ve lost a great deal of weight. Though exercise can help, often the skin sags to the point where male reduction surgery is recommended. When performed by our experienced plastic surgeon, this surgery can make a man’s chest flatter and firmer and more appropriately contoured.
About the Gynecomastia Procedure
Male breast reduction surgery is most often an outpatient procedure, which means the patient can go home soon after the surgery and won’t need to spend a night in the hospital. It’s performed under general anesthesia. This means that the patient is completely asleep and won’t feel pain. A male breast reduction can last anywhere from 90 minutes to about two and a half hours.
How the surgeon proceeds depends on whether the patient has too much fatty tissue or too much glandular tissue. The surgeon can remove the glandular and fatty tissue alone or this can be done as part of an overall liposuction operation. To remove glandular tissue, the plastic surgeon will make an incision under the arm or make a tiny incision around the nipple. If fat is removed, the surgeon will make a somewhat larger but still small incision around the edge of the nipple. If there’s a great deal of fat or glandular tissue, some skin might need to be excised as well and the incision may need to be made larger. This will inevitably result in more scarring.
The procedure to remove the fat or the glandular tissue is the same as liposuction. The surgeon inserts a vacuum cannula into the incision and the tissue is broken up and carefully sucked out.
Candidates for Male Breast Reduction
Though age isn’t that much of a factor, a good candidate for male breast reduction surgery is a man who has notably enlarged breasts but is otherwise healthy, doesn’t smoke and has skin that’s supple and firm. Well before the procedure, the physician will take a medical history of the patient. The physician will take note of any vitamins or supplements or other medications the patient is taking, whether he drinks or smokes and if he’s had surgery in the chest area in the past. Since male breast reduction surgery is considered cosmetic, it’s usually not covered under usual health insurance. The patient and the doctor can work out financing or a payment plan to help pay for the procedure.
Preparing for a Male Breast Reduction
In the weeks before the surgery, the patient should avoid any blood thinning medications like aspirin or ibuprofen. These medications can make it difficult for the patient’s blood to clot after the surgery. If the patient has pain, he should take pain medications like acetaminophen. The patient also needs to stop smoking at least in the fortnight before the surgery. Smoking will make it difficult to heal from the surgery, as will alcohol consumption. The patient should have someone drive him to and from the clinic and should have someone stay with him for at least the first full day after the surgery.
The doctor and the patient will also discuss what sort of anesthesia will be used and details about the patient’s post-operative regimen.
Recovering From a Male Breast Reduction
After the surgery, the area is bandaged and wrapped up to make sure that the skin doesn’t move. There will usually be a bit of bruising and swelling in the area and pain can be controlled with medications. Swelling can be controlled if the patient wears a pressure garment for a week or two. Still, the results of the breast reduction surgery can be seen right after the operation though it will take about three months to a half a year before the final results can be seen. After two weeks, stitches are removed.
Patients can usually return to work and other usual activities about two days after the operation but only if the job or activities aren’t too arduous. The patient shouldn’t indulge in any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for three weeks at least. Scars may be prominent right after the operation but then they’ll fade in about a year or nine months. Complications after this surgery are rare and easily remedied. Most men with gynecomastia are very pleased with the results of male breast reduction surgery.