Summer can seem like forever for a man who isn’t comfortable taking off his shirt. Are you embarrassed to swim, participate in athletic activities – have difficulty with physical intimacy? Surprisingly, up to 60 percent of men are affected by the condition known as gynecomastia (male breast enlargement). The good news is that it can be easily fixed.
Gynecomastia is the presence of larger than “normal” breasts in men. Gynecomastia frequently occurs in two phases of life. And most commonly first appears in puberty. Sometimes it resolves on its own. If it doesn’t resolve itself after 12 months it will most likely not resolve. It can also appear later in life due to various diseases, hormonal irregularities, use of bodybuilding steroids, marijuana, or a side effect of various medications. Some supplements can cause disruptions in hormones leading to an increase in breast tissue. Careful medical evaluation is required in all patients with this condition.
For the majority of patients with gynecomastia, no cause can be identified. Sometimes you will see gynecomastia running in families. The breast size of gynecomastia can range from slightly increased to as large as a D cup female shaped breast. It may be due to excessive fatty tissue, excessive glandular breast tissue, or both. The degree of breast enlargement varies and the decision to have this corrected by surgery depends on the individual.
Male breast reduction surgery is the only recognized treatment. Creams, lotions, massage, injections, exercise and “magic pills” all will do nothing for established gynecomastia. Diet and exercise will not help resolved gynecomastia.
Male Breast Reduction Surgery
Gynecomastia excision, or male breast reduction, is a procedure designed to remove unwanted fat and glandular (breast) tissue, with minimal incisions, from the male breast. In some cases extra skin may also need to be removed.
With liposuction and glandular breast tissue excision, we can remove the fat and breast tissue permanently. When we remove the fat cells from the breasts, the fat never comes back. Similarly, the removal of glandular tissue is permanent.
All of our gynecomastia procedures are performed as an outpatient under IV sedation and tumescent anesthesia. We feel that it is important to keep you comfortable, yet avoid the unnecessary risks of general anesthesia.
Following intravenous sedation, the breasts are infiltrated with a numbing solution called tumescent anesthesia which allows removal of large amounts of fat more painlessly with minimal blood loss.
We begin with liposuction of the chest done through very tiny hidden incisions in the nipple or near the armpit The majority of patients also have some degree of breast tissue immediately behind the nipple. If, after liposuction, we identify additional glandular breast tissue then it will be removed to the small nipple incision. These incisions usually heal very well and are hardly visible in a few months.
In most cases, the skin of the breasts contracts and it is not necessary to remove excess skin. However, on occasion, the excess skin may need to be excised. This is usually performed at a second surgery a few months later. Waiting several months for the breast skin to contract may limit the amount of skin that needs to be removed and the length of the scar that the patient has in the breasts.
Male Breast Reduction Post Op Recovery
Most gynecomastia breast surgery patients take one to three days off from work, depending on the extent of their surgery. Patients with minimal gynecomastia are allowed to return to vigorous physical activity about 2 weeks postoperatively, while patients undergoing more extensive procedures are required to wait up to four weeks.
You will wear a support garment that is worn underneath your clothes for 4 to six weeks after the procedure.This helps the skin attach back to the underlying tissues after liposuction and reduces the chance of fluid collection under the skin. You can remove the garment to shower and rest your skin for short periods of time.
There will be some temporary numbness associated with the surgery. No matter what method is used for surgery, there is always post-operative numbness of the chest skin and the nipples. This is due to the temporary interruption of sensory nerve fiber conduction to the skin and nipples. There is not just one sensory nerve to the nipple – there are hundreds of tiny nerve endings. In essence, the nerves are “in shock” and need time to recover.This numbness usually persists for about 4 to 6 weeks. Eventually symptoms of the healing such as tingling, itching, and super sensitivity do subside. In the vast majority of men, normal sensation returns to the skin and nipples. It may take anywhere from 6 to 12 months for full sensation to be recovered.
Minor lumps and irregularities are common after liposuction. These irregularities are related to accumulations of fluid in the fatty layer under the skin, as a result of either infiltration of the fluid or from inflammation due to the trauma associated with liposuction. Irregularities even out after the first 2 or 3 weeks after the surgery. Minor asymmetry may be seen after surgery in this usually resolves over time.
Although scars may take several months to fade and flatten, they are usually hidden within the natural creases of the breasts. You will be able to enjoy the outcome of their surgical procedure immediately. Most men will experience a renewed outlook on life, and a newfound sense of confidence with their body.
The procedure results in a chest that is flatter, firmer, with more masculine contours. The surgical treatment, although simple, is carefully individualized for each patient.
Dr. Kevin Light is a well known gynecomastia surgeon in Dallas. He offers free consultations and spends considerable time with each patient discussing their particular needs. Schedule your visit today.