The overdevelopment of male breasts, also known as gynecomastia, affects an estimated 40 to 60 percent of men. This condition may be caused by a hormonal imbalance, side effects from drugs, or may occur without any underlying identifiable cause. Regardless of what led to the enlargement of male breasts, the condition may create physical as well as psychological issues for men who are affected by it.
Men with large or sagging breasts can feel both physically and emotionally uncomfortable, often restricting themselves from certain activities because they are self-conscious about their appearance. Gynecomastia surgery aims to produce male breast reduction, thereby decreasing the size of a man’s breasts, helping him feel more comfortable, self-assured, and confident.
Candidates for Gynecomastia Surgery
A good candidate for male breast reduction surgery is any man who feels uncomfortable with his large breast size. The procedure can be performed on men of all ages from adolescence onwards, who are in good health, both physically and emotionally. The best candidates for male breast reduction surgery have excellent skin tone so that it will reshape well to their body’s new contours.
Gynecomastia Surgery Procedure
Male breast reduction surgery is usually performed under sedation or general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The surgery typically takes one to two hours. Several techniques can be utilized in male breast reduction, depending on the extent of the procedure.
If the enlarged breasts are primarily caused by excessive fatty tissue, liposuction can be performed through tiny incisions to remove the excess fat. The incision may be made around the edge of the areola (the area around the nipple) or in the underarm. If excess glandular tissue is the primary cause of the enlarged breast, the tissue will be excised, or surgically removed, in addition to performing liposuction.
In more extreme instances when large amounts of fat or glandular tissue have been removed, excess skin may remain that has not reshaped well to the new contour of the breast. In these cases, the excess skin may have to be removed as well. The incisions are then closed using sutures and are covered with a dressing. The chest is usually wrapped to keep the skin firmly in place.
Recovery from Gynecomastia Surgery
Following male breast reduction surgery, patients will experience some bruising, swelling, and discomfort. This discomfort usually dissipates after a few days and can be reduced with prescribed medication. To help reduce swelling, an elastic pressure garment should be worn for about two weeks, and at night for several weeks afterwards. Swelling and any skin discoloration from bruising most often subsides within the first 2 weeks. Stitches that need to be removed will be taken out at one of your post-operative follow up appointments within that time frame, whereas absorbable sutures will gradually disappear on their own.
You will be encouraged to walk around on the day of your breast reduction surgery and can expect to return to work in approximately one week. You may also begin light aerobic exercise after 2 weeks, and can gradually resume strenuous activities as your body fully recovers from surgery.
Risks of Gynecomastia Surgery
As with all surgical procedures, there is a small risk of complications after male breast reduction surgery. Although rare, these include infection, bleeding, fluid accumulation, unsightly scars, and changes in skin pigmentation. Prior to your surgery, Dr. Hutchinson will discuss your goals and expectations, details of the procedure, and post-operative management for a smooth recovery and optimal results.