What is Gynecomastia?
Breast reduction is not a subject that is often associated with men, but the condition is actually quite common. Gynecomastia affects an estimated 40 to 60 percent of men of all ages in one or both breasts. While certain drugs and medical conditions can contribute to the breast overdevelopment, most cases do not have a known cause. Some possible factors are puberty, steroid abuse, obesity, tumors, genetic disorders, side effects of medications, and aging.
Breast reduction surgery can address this problem for men who feel self-conscious about their appearance. The procedure removes fat and/or glandular tissue from the breasts, and if necessary, excess skin. The result is a flatter, firmer chest consistent with masculine body contour. As with all cosmetic surgery procedures, healing and final results are very individualized.
In bodybuilders, the development of gynecomastia comes as a result of the body making estrogen due to the men taking anabolic steroids which when broken down, some of it changes to the female hormone estradiol and as a result creates breast enlargement. In the case of bodybuilders, usually liposuction is not needed to reduce the breast, and instead your doctor can just remove the excess breast tissue.
Puberty and obesity can be one of the leading factors of gynecomastia in younger men. In cases of obesity, weight loss can alter the gynecomastic condition, but for many it will not eliminate it in which case surgery is the only known physical remedy. In this case, removal of the breast tissue is necessary as well as some liposuction in order to eliminate the gynecomastia. In younger patients, it is also important to evaluate them for other pharmacologic or endocrine influences to determine the reason for the gynecomastia.
In a typical procedure, an incision is made in an inconspicuous location – either on the edge of the dark skin around the nipple, or in the underarm area. Through the incision, the surgeon cuts away the excess glandular tissue, fat and skin from around the areola and from the sides and bottom of the breast. If your surgeon has determined that liposuction will be used in conjunction with excision to remove excess fat, the cannula can be inserted through the incisions. In a reduction involving greater amounts of excess tissue, larger incisions may be necessary and can result in more noticeable scars.
If your surgeon has determined that your Gynecomastia consists primarily of excessive fatty tissue, liposuction would be an appropriate surgical technique for removal of this tissue. At the edge of the areola, the dark skin that surrounds the nipple, a very small incision, less than a half inch in length is made. Depending on individual factors and preferences, the incision may be made in the underarm area. A cannula, which is a slim, hollow tube attached to a vacuum pump, is inserted into the incision. Your surgeon moves the cannula through the layers beneath the skin, breaking up the fat and suctioning it out.
In cases where large amounts of tissue have been removed, it may be necessary for excess skin to be removed so that the remaining skin will adjust to fit the new breast contour.
Occasionally, a small drain will be inserted through a separate incision to relieve excess fluids. Upon completion, the incisions are usually covered with a dressing and the chest may be wrapped with an elastic bandage to hold the skin firmly in place.
It is normal to feel some discomfort for a few days after your procedure. This can be controlled with medication prescribed by your surgeon.
Bruising and swelling may make it appear that there’s been no improvement in your condition initially. You will most likely be told to wear an elastic pressure garment 24 hours a day for a week or two, and for several weeks longer at night. The extreme swelling will resolve in the first few weeks but it may be three months or longer before your true result is visible.
You may resume normal activity within a day or two, as soon as you feel well enough. If you have stitches, they will be removed one to two weeks after the surgery. You should avoid heavy exercise for about three weeks and MUST avoid any activity or job that risks a blow to the chest area for at least a month. Keep all exposed scars covered from the sun for at least six months and cover scars with a strong sun block if exposure is unavoidable.
If you think you are a good candidate for Gynecomastia surgery, call us today for your consultation!
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Group