Gynecomastia, or excess breast tissue in men, can result from many different factors including puberty, excessive weight gain, low testosterone, and consumption of anabolic steroids. Gynecomastia is actually relatively common, affecting one in four men ages 50 to 70. Yet, no matter what the cause, it can be psychologically crippling to a man when they are self-conscious of their bodies.
Cosmetic surgeons are noticing in increase in men seeking the benefits of male breast reduction surgery to help them improve the look of their chests and regain confidence. This article describes five facts that men considering male breast reduction surgery should know.
1. Who’s a Good Candidate for Male Breast Reduction Surgery?
Men who are in overall good health, but have had enlarged breasts that persist despite a healthy diet and exercise regimen may be good candidates for male breast reduction surgery. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, you could be a good candidate for gynecomastia surgery:
- Excess breast tissue and fat
- Sagging stretched skin
- Asymmetrical breasts
- Experiencing physical symptoms such as back, neck and shoulder pain and discomfort while exercising
- Stretched or enlarged nipples
A cosmetic surgeon can help you decide during your consultation whether or not male breast reduction is right for you. He or she will examine your concerns, review your past and current health history and discuss your treatment options.
2. How to Prepare for Breast Reduction Surgery
Preparing for surgery can help maximize your recovery and results as well as reduce the risks of complications. Your cosmetic surgeon will discuss how you can prepare yourself and your home for surgery and recovery. Here are some initial steps you can take to prepare yourself before, during and after surgery.
- Do not smoke or use any products containing nicotine
- Arrange a leave of absence from work
- Let your cosmetic surgeon know if you become ill in any way as they may want to reschedule your surgery
- Make sure you have a ride to and from the hospital
- Acquire surgery chest compression garments and make sure they fit well
3. What Is Involved with Male Breast Reduction Surgery?
The techniques and procedures involved in male breast reduction surgery depend on your specific needs and goals. Many men experience enlarged glands as well as excess fat cells in the chest area and require a combination of liposuction and gland removal surgery to optimize their results. Depending on the extent of the procedure and the surgeon’s preference, local anesthesia or general anesthesia may be used during the surgery.
4. How Much Scarring Is Involved in This Surgery?
Unlike women who can hide their breast reduction surgery scars beneath the fold of the breast, for men, there is no particular area to hide these scars. In most gynecomastia cases, the cosmetic surgeon performs a peri areolar incision which is around the lower border of the areola. The location of the incision is intended to make the resulting scar less noticeable.
As the recovery time progresses, the incision should fade naturally becoming less visible as time passes. Keep in mind that the actual incision is based in relation to the extent of the gynecomastia and is evaluated meticulously on a case-by-case basis. If excess loose skin is also an issue, skin removal may be included to tighten the area resulting in more scarring.
An important factor in healing and reducing your risk of infection is following your cosmetic surgeon’s post-operative care instructions.
5. Risks Associated with Male Breast Reduction Surgery
Male breast reduction surgery, like other types of surgery, does entail some risks which you should consider before you have your operation. These may include:
- Adverse side effects associated with anesthesia
- Breast asymmetry
- Blood clots
- Changes in sensation in the breast or nipple including possible numbness — these can be temporary or permanent
- Fluid retention
- Inverted nipples
What is essential to good outcomes is a scrupulous surgical technique and good pre-, peri- and post-operative management. It is important to consult a board-certified cosmetic surgeon with experience in male breast reduction surgery to discuss your treatment options.
These days, it is more and more acceptable for men to have cosmetic surgery. Male breast reduction surgery is one of those procedures.
Dr. Gordon Andan is a cosmetic surgeon in New York City. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. In addition to Dr. Andan’s extensive training and experience, he has co-authored articles in many peer-reviewed journals. His frequent participation in conferences around the country ensures that his knowledge is up-to-date with the latest innovations and scientific discoveries in cosmetic surgery.