Between 40% and 60% of men suffer from the condition known as Gynecomastia, often referred to as “man boobs” or “moobs”. Having gynecomastia can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable situation to live with from both a physical and emotional point of view. Suffering from gynecomastia can hinder a man’s self-esteem and confidence in participating in activities like sports, working out at the gym, or going to the beach or the pool.
Fortunately, breast reduction surgery for men has become increasingly popular. Understanding the condition of gynecomastia is the first step toward resolving it, as you’ll see.
Causes and Symptoms of Gynecomastia
Understanding Gynecomastia starts with knowing what it is and what causes it. Gynecomastia is an enlargement of one or both breasts in men, and it can appear in early childhood, puberty, and even in men 60 years and over, which can be categorized as a normal part of aging.
Gynecomastia can be caused by circumstances ranging from biological genetics, hormonal imbalances, excessive weight, and obesity. Certain medications such as anti-androgens, Androgens, Anabolic Steroids, AIDS medications, antibiotics, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs can also contribute to the condition. Diseases like hypogonadism, hyperthyroidism, tumors, kidney failure, liver failure and cirrhosis, malnutrition, and common aging can also be causes of gynecomastia.
Symptoms that are commonly observed with gynecomastia are:
- Swollen breast tissues
- Breast tenderness
- Pain accompanied by swelling
- Nipple discharge
Gynecomastia has four stages of development:
- Stage 1: tissue growth around areola, nipple puffiness, breast discoloration
- Stage 2: firmness around nipples, chest tightness, softness and fattiness in chest outer area
- Stage 3: excess skin, increase in width of chest and breast sagginess
- Stage 4: most severe stage–breast sagging is apparent over shirts, breasts become more feminine-like
Gynecomastia Breast Reduction Surgery as Treatment
Male breast reduction is the main treatment option and is similar to female breast reduction. The procedure is performed to give the large male breast a reduced appearance by removing the excess fat and tissue in the breasts. Liposuction has often been recommended as a treatment option, but alone only works for certain patients.
An ideal candidate for gynecomastia surgery is a male patient who is of any age and is in good physical health, has no other afflicting diseases, and is a non-smoker and non-drug user. He should also have had no success with other medical treatments for his condition and still wants to improve his appearance, eliminate the physical discomfort of enlarged breasts, and boost his emotional frame of mind and self-confidence.
Tips to Prepare for Gynecomastia Surgery
The first step leading up to male breast reduction surgery is to have a consultation with your board-certified surgeon. At Aristocrat Plastic Surgery & MedAesthetics, board-certified surgeon Dr. Kevin Tehrani performs your pre-surgical consultation, to learn about your health, medical condition, any drug or alcohol consumption (which can include the taking of steroids), cigarette smoking, supplement use, any prior surgeries, and what you wish to see as your results.
Dr. Tehrani will also examine your breasts and measure their size, shape, and skin quality in addition to recommending the male breast reduction surgery option that’s best for you. After your surgery has been scheduled, you can start your preparation:
- Arrange for Time Off: If you work in a job that requires a lot of strenuous activity, you should look into taking a leave of absence for at least 15 days. For other lines of work, a couple of days will do.
- Secure a Ride Home: Ask a friend or relative to drive you home following your surgery.
- Get your Labs Done: Schedule the lab work your plastic surgeon orders for you and take all the diagnostic tests required.
- Quit Smoking: At least two weeks before your surgery, do not smoke. This would also be a good time to seriously consider giving them up for good. Smoking can cause blood vessels to constrict which can affect blood flow to the operation site for proper healing.
- Adjust Medication Routine: Following your consultation with Dr. Tehrani, you may be asked to adjust the taking of certain medications to minimize any complications or negative side effects.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet: Eating nutritious foods before your surgery can help you shed some extra pounds to reduce the amount of fatty tissue that will need to be removed.
- Fill Prescriptions: if your physician provides you with post-op prescriptions, get them filled before you have your surgery so that you’ll have them waiting and ready for you at home, and won’t need to trouble someone to make a special trip to the pharmacy while you’re still experiencing pain during recovery.
The Gynecomastia Surgery
The procedure is technically referred to as “reduction mammaplasty” and uses liposuction and/or excision techniques to remove glandular tissue, excess local fat, or both, and to create a firmer chest area.. Your plastic surgeon may also make improvements to the size and position of the areola. Before your procedure begins, the surgeon will visit you in your room to draw marks around the areas of the breast that are to be treated.
For the surgery, you will be administered anesthesia to help you stay comfortable while being operated on. You’ll have the option of either intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, and your surgeon will choose which one is best for you.
Either a liposuction technique or excision technique will be used to perform your gynecomastia surgery. Under liposuction, a thin hollow tube called a cannula is used to make a few small incisions in which a succession of controlled movements are made to separate excess fat, which is sucked out with the help of a vacuum. Of the various liposuction techniques that can be performed, the one that’s right for you will be selected by your New York plastic surgeon.
The excision technique is used to remove glandular breast tissue or excess skin to fix a gynecomastia condition. It’s used in cases where the f has to be reduced and the nipple repositioned to achieve a more chiseled contour. Depending on the patient, incision patterns will differ.
The Benefits of Gynecomastia Surgery
Male breast reduction has its benefits from both a physical and psychological perspective. The reduced sagging and enlargement of the breasts help patients to achieve a flatter, firmer chest area with an enhanced chest contour. The results include a more masculine and shapelier physique with improved posture, breathing, physical capability, less pain, arthritis, and skin irritation. With an enhanced upper body comes psychological benefits such as–greater body image, self-esteem and self-confidence, reduced anxiety, emotional duress, and embarrassment over physical appearance.
Tips to Help You Recover from Gynecomastia Surgery
The recovery process lasts about four to six weeks. The pace of recovery will depend primarily on the health condition of the patient. Your first two or three days following your surgical procedure should be spent in total rest to help you heal internally. Following surgery, you’ll experience residual pain, uneasiness, and a feeling of tightness or tenderness around the surgical area. These symptoms should disappear within a week. During your time recuperating from gynecomastia surgery, here are some tips to help you have a successful and complete recovery:
- Watch your Diet: While you will only be on fluids for some time after your surgery, you’ll graduate to solid food in a short while. When you transition to solid foods, a healthy meal combined with plenty of water is standard procedure.
- Avoid Vices: Both smoking and alcohol consumption should be avoided at least 72 hours post-surgery.
- Get Enough Rest: For a speedy recovery, you need and must get plenty of rest. Any kind of strenuous activity is forbidden for at least 24 hours after surgery. You can work towards gradually increasing your level of activity on your second day home from surgery, starting with some brisk walks which will be a key component of a speedy recovery. Moderate activities are permitted beginning with the third day.
- Get Compressed: It’s highly important to wear a compression garment to help reduce swelling and bruising, as well as maximize the results of your recovery. Your compression garment must be worn twenty-four hours a day during the first week following your gynecomastia surgery, but by the following week it can be trimmed to 18 hours a day. Maintaining a clean garment is the only way to prevent infections. Wash it in cold water and let it dry completely. In about three weeks you can replace it with regular shirts and tops.
- Monitor Medication: Aspirin and ibuprofen are medicines that should be avoided while you recover as they could interfere with how your blood clots and potentially increase the possibility of post-surgical complications.
Say “Hello” to a New Look!
By maintaining the customary practices of keeping your incisions clean and treated with the proper and recommended ointments, dressing your wounds regularly, and following your surgeon’s orders, you’ll ensure a successful outcome. Gradually, you’ll notice how more chiseled and sculpted your chest starts to look, which will give you a substantially different outlook on yourself and the world. Before you realize it, the next time you put on a fitted shirt or top, you’ll see yourself in the mirror and be thrilled by the way you look. It’s time to say hello to all new you! Dr. Tehrani performs gynecomastia surgeries at Aristocrat Plastic Surgery & MedAesthetics locations in Manhattan (New York) and Great Neck (Long Island). Call us today to schedule your one-on-one consultation.