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Male Breast Reduction (Gynecomastia)

Men who are affected by a condition known as gynecomastia – a buildup of excess fat and/or breast tissue in the chest – can often successfully address their concerns with advanced male breast reduction procedures. Our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Semira Bayati, offers a number of surgical treatment options that can give the chest a flatter appearance and help reduce both the physical and emotional effects this very common condition can cause.

What Is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is typically characterized by an excess of fat, skin, and/or glandular breast tissue – or a combination of all these elements – in the breasts. This condition often results in an enlarged breast appearance, which can lead to extreme self-consciousness and even depression in men. It can also cause breasts that look disproportionate, as well as breast tenderness and a swelling or protruding effect on the nipples. Gynecomastia is experienced by millions of men and can have a significant impact on one’s self-esteem. Oftentimes, men who suffer from gynecomastia will feel uncomfortable or embarrassed when wearing form-fitting clothing or removing their shirt at the pool or beach. Plus, many individuals find that diet, exercise, and weight loss often prove ineffective at addressing the condition. Fortunately, there is treatment available that can recontour the chest area with exceptional results.

True Gynecomastia vs. Pseudogynecomastia

The term “gynecomastia” is often used to generally describe the condition characterized by enlarged breasts in men; however, there are actually two types of gynecomastia that are quite distinct from each other. True gynecomastia usually indicates breasts that are enlarged primarily due to excess glandular or breast tissue. Pseudogynecomastia is the term ascribed to breasts that have taken on an enlarged appearance due to excess fat deposits. In some cases, men are affected by both excess glandular tissue and excess fat in the breasts. The differences between true gynecomastia and pseudogynecomastia are important because one may require a different treatment technique than the other. The best way to determine which type of gynecomastia you have is to schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon. Dr. Bayati can perform a comprehensive evaluation and help you decide upon the most ideal treatment for your needs.

What Are the Causes of Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia often begins to affect males in adolescence. The exact cause of gynecomastia is unknown, and in a majority of the cases, no attributable cause can be distinguished. However, there are a variety of factors that may potentially contribute to this condition, including:

  • Weight loss or gain
  • Heredity
  • Problems with liver function
  • Herbal testosterone additives
  • Specific prescription drugs, including blood pressure medications
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Marijuana use

This list of possible factors is not comprehensive, and for some of our patients with gynecomastia, there is no discernible cause. Procedures such as male breast reduction surgery allow Dr. Bayati to remove excess fat and skin among the breasts and successfully address the effects of gynecomastia.

What Are the Benefits of Gynecomastia Surgery and Male Breast Reduction?

The benefits of male breast reduction surgery can include:

  • Elimination of excess fat and skin
  • Removal of surplus glandular breast tissue
  • A flatter, firmer chest
  • Repositioning or resizing of the nipples and areolas
  • Providing better pectoralis definition

Many patients experience a boost in confidence in regard to their appearance after male breast reduction surgery and often report an overall improvement in their quality of life.

What Does the Male Breast Reduction Procedure Involve?

In cases where enlarged male breasts are due simply to an excess of fat (pseudogynecomastia), the desired results can potentially be achieved with liposuction alone. In cases where the enlarged breasts are due to a combination of fat and glandular breast tissue, liposuction can typically address a large percentage of the desired volume reduction, while a direct excision of the residual breast tissue under the nipple and areola may also be necessary. This additional incision can often be well-hidden in the pigmented area of the areola for results that look natural and inconspicuous after the recovery process is complete.

What Can I Expect During Male Breast Reduction Recovery?

Immediately following your male breast reduction surgery, you should notice a significant change. The full extent of your results should become visible as the body continues to heal. Most male breast reduction patients can return to work within one week. Patients with more physically demanding jobs may need to wait longer. Dr. Bayati recommends that patients wear a compression garment under their clothing for four to six weeks to aid in the healing process. In addition, upper body and arm exercises should be avoided for at least six weeks and general cardiovascular exercises should be avoided for at least three weeks.

Are the Scars from Gynecomastia Surgery Noticeable?

While there will be residual scarring from gynecomastia surgery, incisions for this procedure can often be placed in quite inconspicuous locations, so the noticeability of the scars should be minimal. Plus, in cases where only liposuction is necessary, the incisions are usually very small. For patients who require removal of excess glandular tissue, the incisions can typically be created in areas where scarring is less noticeable once healing is complete. Dr. Bayati has performed both types of gynecomastia surgery many times and prioritizes the placement of incisions in areas that can yield the least possible amount of noticeable scarring.

How Much Does Gynecomastia Surgery Cost?

The total price of gynecomastia treatment typically varies from one patient to another based on a number of factors involved in the customized treatment plan. In general, the surgeon’s fee for this procedure can range from about $4,000 to $9,000, and treatment components such as the techniques that are utilized (whether skin reduction and/or liposuction will be required), surgical facility fees, the cost of anesthesia, fees for post-surgical garments, and other related expenses will also be taken into account. During the initial consultation, a customized gynecomastia treatment plan will be developed and a member of our team will produce a cost estimate that will include all components of surgery. Our practice wants to make payment for our services as convenient as possible for all patients, which is why we accept a full range of payment methods and work with reputable plastic surgery financing companies such as CareCredit® and ALPHAEON™ CREDIT. These lending agencies offer many helpful ways for qualified applicants to finance their procedures with low- to no-interest monthly payment plans.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Gynecomastia

Is there a way to treat gynecomastia without surgery?

In general, the only effective way to treat true gynecomastia, which is characterized by excess breast tissue or glandular tissue, is with surgery. In cases of pseudogynecomastia, which is the type of gynecomastia that is caused by excess fat deposits, some individuals may find that diet and exercise have a positive effect. Exercises that focus on the chest may help replace excess fat with muscle, and could potentially reduce the aesthetic effects of pseudogynecomastia to a certain degree. However, if the condition is primarily caused by glandular or breast tissue rather than fat, exercise will likely have no significant effect, often making surgery the most viable option to successfully address the concern.

Is liposuction performed alone an adequate treatment?

The answer to this question will largely depend on the type of gynecomastia that is diagnosed. Liposuction alone may be all that’s necessary for patients with pseudogynecomastia, as long as the condition is almost exclusively the result of excess fat accumulation in the breasts. For individuals with true gynecomastia, liposuction may be used as an adjunct to glandular tissue removal; however, liposuction by itself will likely not be adequate in those cases, and tissue excision will be necessary to achieve the most optimal results.

During surgery, will the entire gland be removed?

Yes, the entire excessive glandular tissue will be removed during treatment for true gynecomastia to create the best possible aesthetic outcome. Dr. Bayati will make a determination based on the extent of treatment necessary to produce a flatter chest with results that look natural and balanced.

Can the breast tissue come back after surgery?

Breast and glandular tissue should not rematerialize after gynecomastia surgery in most cases; however, excess fat can accumulate in the breasts, just as it normally would, if weight is gained later in life.

Is the surgery painful?

Most patients will experience some degree of soreness and discomfort in the chest area for a few days following gynecomastia surgery; however, these effects are common after surgical procedures and can be well managed with medication. In fact, many individuals do not need to take pain medicine after the second or third day.

Will nipple sensation be affected?

It is common to have loss of nipple sensation after excisional gynecomastia surgery, when glandular tissue is removed. However, when only liposuction addresses the issue, the diminished sensation could be temporary.

Are there risks with gynecomastia surgery?

It is very important to note that all surgical procedures have inherent risks; however, Dr. Bayati is extensively trained and experienced in treatment for gynecomastia, and takes extraordinary precautions to minimize those risks. Although rare, potential complications that can result from gynecomastia surgery include a reaction to the anesthesia, excessive bleeding, infection, permanent numbness in the treatment area, blood or fluid accumulation under the skin, signs of “rippling” in the skin, a change in skin pigmentation, and under- or over-resection of tissue. Dr. Bayati will explain all of the risks of gynecomastia surgery during your initial consultation and address any concerns you may have.

If you would like to learn more about male breast reduction surgery, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bayati, please contact us today.

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