Male Breast Reduction

What is Gynecomastia?

Enlarged breasts in men, a condition called gynecomastia, affects up to 60% of the male population to some degree. The condition is common in adolescent boys, but symptoms can remain into adulthood where it can disrupt social and physical activities and cause psychological trauma. Although certain drugs (anabolic steroids, medications containing estrogen, alcohol and marijuana) and certain medical problems may cause or contribute to male breast enlargement, the true cause is not completely understood. In cases of obesity, weight loss can improve the condition, but may not eliminate it. Gynecomastia can be caused by excessive glandular breast tissue, an accumulation of fat, or a combination of the two.

What Are the Symptoms of Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a common condition that typically begins to develop during puberty. In some cases, the condition resolves itself as hormones become more balanced, while for other men the condition persists into adulthood. The breasts may appear swollen or enlarged due to excess fat accumulation at the chest, excess glandular breast tissue, or a combination of both. Regardless of which type of tissue is causing the appearance of enlarged breasts, Dr. Matas can design a treatment plan that can meet your needs. The best way to learn if you have gynecomastia is to schedule a consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon who can perform a physical examination and give you an official diagnosis.

What is Pseudo-Gynecomastia?

Patients with gynecomastia have overly developed glandular breast tissue, which may also be accompanied by excess fatty tissue. “Pseudo-gynecomastia” is a condition that resembles gynecomastia, but is characterized solely by the presence of excess fatty tissue. For patients who have mild pseudo-gynecomastia (with no excess glandular breast tissue), non-surgical fat reduction treatments may reduce the appearance of enlarged breasts. However, in many cases, patients with pseudo-gynecomastia can achieve more satisfactory results with ultrasonic and tumescent liposuction, and even full male breast reduction techniques.

Can Dieting & Exercise Resolve Gynecomastia?

A healthy diet and regular exercise may effectively reduce fatty tissue at the chest, though this fat may be difficult to specifically target with diet and exercise alone. In some cases, liposuction can be used to further contour the chest. For patients with true gynecomastia, no amount of exercise or dieting can reduce the volume of glandular breast tissue. In fact, some patients with gynecomastia who begin an exercise routine that targets the chest notice the size of the breasts increase due to expanded muscle tissue. Most men with gynecomastia do not achieve their desired results with diet or exercise, and can greatly benefit from corrective surgical treatment.

Who Is a Candidate for Gynecomastia Surgery?

  • Healthy males with good skin tone, in their 20’s to 40’s; mature young men, age 15 or older, are often considered for the procedure if it is causing significant psychological problems.
  • Overweight or obese men who have not attempted weight loss are discouraged from the procedure, as well as individuals who consume excessive alcohol, marijuana, or steroids.

What Happens During the Gynecomastia Surgery Consultation?

Dr Matas and Staff 203At your initial consultation, board-certified plastic surgeon James Matas, MD will discuss your goals and motivations for surgery, along with assessing your physical and emotional health. He will also review information you provide about previous surgeries, past and current medical conditions. You will need to provide a list of nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, and pharmaceutical medications you take or have taken in the past.

Dr. Matas will examine your chest area to determine the quantity of tissue to be removed, as well as the tone and thickness of your skin. Since correction of gynecomastia can be accomplished by several methods, he will recommend the exact procedure(s) needed to bring about the desired result. During your consultation, he will be able to outline the techniques and incisions needed, the type of anesthesia that should be used, where the surgery will be performed, and the risks and possibility of complications.

How Is Gynecomastia Correction Performed?

Correction of gynecomastia can be accomplished by using ultrasonic-assisted liposuction to sculpt excess fat from the breast area, surgically removing the excess breast tissue, or combining the two procedures. The ultrasound technique, which uses sound waves to liquefy the fat before it is suctioned, results in less trauma to the surrounding structures and is most effective for this application due to the fibrous nature of male breast tissue. We have found the combination approach to be the most suitable treatment strategy for most patients.

First, small incisions are made below the nipple in a half-moon shape. A small cannula is inserted into each breast and, using ultrasonic liposuction, the excess fatty tissue is broken down and removed through a gentle suctioning process. Once the fat is removed, the excess glandular tissue is carefully excised from the pectoralis muscle, and the incisions are then closed using several layers of sutures. A drain is positioned in each breast and a compression wrap is applied.

The outpatient procedure is done under general anesthesia and normally takes 2 to 3 hours to perform.

What is Recovery After Male Breast Reduction Like?

before after BeforeAfter
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After surgery, bruising, swelling, numbness, and/or a burning sensation is common and can last several weeks to several months. The drain is removed when drainage is minimal, usually four to seven days after surgery. An elastic compression garment is worn for three weeks, and sun exposure on the incisions should be avoided for one year.

Postoperative massage therapy generally begins one week after surgery, and is used to relieve swelling, soften scar tissue and improve discomfort.

What Will My Gynecomastia Surgery Scars Look Like?

Depending upon your customized surgical plan, the incisions for gynecomastia treatment will be placed discreetly in the underarm area or around the perimeter of the areola. Since this surgery is performed in part so that men may feel more confident about the appearance of their bare chest, Dr. Matas takes great care to conceal the appearance of any scarring. Post-operative scar care instructions will also be provided to patients before surgery.

What Are the Results of Gynecomastia Surgery?

Within weeks, you will observe a firmer, flatter, more contoured chest. You may also feel a surge in self-confidence, no longer having to wear special outfits to hide your problem. Your results can be long-lasting and permanent, although excessive weight gain could create a gynecomastia-like effect.

Does Insurance Cover Gynecomastia Surgery?

The majority of medical insurance plans consider male breast reduction to be an elective cosmetic procedure and therefore do not cover it; however, in some instances partial or total coverage may be possible. If you are considering gynecomastia surgery and want to find out if you are eligible for coverage, you will need to contact your insurance carrier independent of our practice, as we do not accept insurance.

How Much Does Male Breast Reduction Cost?

Each gynecomastia treatment is customized to meet the individual needs of the patient, and there is no set price for the procedure. Factors that can influence the cost of gynecomastia treatment include the types of tissue to be removed, the volume of tissue excised, the complexity of the procedure, the experience of your plastic surgeon, and your geographic location. Dr. Matas wants all potential candidates for gynecomastia treatment to feel confident about their appearance, and our practice offers a number of financing options for patients seeking flexible payment choices.

For more information about gynecomastia and male breast reduction, we encourage you to contact the Advanced Centre for Plastic Surgery and schedule a consultation with Dr. Matas.

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