What is gynecomastia?
Also known as male breast reduction
The goal of gynecomastia treatment is to reduce breast size in men who are embarrassed by overly large breasts. Reduction methods include liposuction, cutting out excess glandular tissue or using a combination of liposuction and excision. If you are treated by a board-certified plastic surgeon, gynecomastia can be effectively and safely improved or corrected completely.
What is gynecomastia surgery?
Gynecomastia surgery reduces breast size in men, flattening and enhancing the chest contours.
In severe cases of gynecomastia, the weight of excess breast tissue may cause the breasts to sag and stretch the areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple). In these cases the position and size of the areola can be surgically improved and excess skin may be reduced.
Plastic surgery to correct gynecomastia is technically called reduction mammaplasty.
Who is a good candidate for gynecomastia surgery?
Gynecomastia surgery candidates include:
Men whose condition cannot be corrected through alternative medical treatments
Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
Nonsmokers and non-drug users
Men with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for improving the physical symptoms of gynecomastia
Men who are physically healthy and of relatively normal weight
Men who have realistic expectations
Men whose breast development has stabilized
Men who are bothered by the feeling that their breasts are too large
What should I expect during a consultation for gynecomastia surgery?
During your gynecomastia surgery consultation be prepared to discuss:
Your surgical goals
Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and recreational drug use (including steroids)
Your gynecomastia surgeon may also:
Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
Perform diagnostic testing to determine the underlying cause of gynecomastia; this may include testing of your endocrine function
Examine your breasts and may take detailed measurements of their size and shape, skin quality and placement of your nipples and areolas
Take photographs for your medical records
Discuss your options
Recommend a course of treatment
Discuss likely outcomes of gynecomastia correction and any risks or potential complications
Discuss the use of anesthesia during your procedure
The consultation is the time to ask your surgeon questions. It's very important to understand all aspects of your surgical procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your surgeon.
What are the risks of gynecomastia surgery?
The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal, and you will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of gynecomastia surgery are acceptable.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.
Gynecomastia surgery risks include:
Reactions to tape, suture materials, glues, topical preparations or injected agents
Breast contour and shape irregularities
Changes in nipple or breast sensation may be temporary or permanent
Damage to deeper structures—such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs—can occur and may be temporary or permanent
Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
Fatty tissue found in the breast might die (fat necrosis)
Fluid accumulation (seroma)
Poor wound healing
The possibility of revision surgery
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It's important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
What should I expect during my gynecomastia surgery recovery?
During your gynecomastia surgery recovery period, dressings or bandages will be applied to your incisions and an elastic bandage or support garment may be used to minimize swelling and support your new chest contour as it heals after surgery.
A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
You will be given specific instructions that may include how to care for the surgical site and drains, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
Be sure to ask your surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.
Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? When will they be removed?
Are stitches removed? When?
When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
When do I return for follow-up care?
It's very important to follow your surgeon's instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.
The final results of gynecomastia surgery are permanent in many cases. However, if gynecomastia resulted from the use of certain prescription medications, drugs (including steroids) or weight gain you must be fully free from these substances and remain at a stable weight in order to maintain your results.
Please discuss this with your physician before making changes to your prescription medications.
Recovering from gynecomastia surgery at home
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains or an unusual heartbeat, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
Following your physician's instructions is essential to the success of your surgery.
It's important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.