Gynecomastia is a medical condition that can affect men at any age or stage in life, causing the chest to develop excessive breast tissue. Gynecomastia is commonly seen in young boys going through puberty, as well as older men whose bodies are changing with age. While for many men the cause is unknown, most doctors believe gynecomastia is related to an imbalance of the hormones, estrogen and testosterone. Gynecomastia creates the appearance of "male breasts," which can make men feel less confident and embarrassed to remove their shirt. At Elite Plastic Surgery in Arizona, plastic surgeons Dr. Tim Matatov and Dr. Rozbeh Torabi perform male breast reduction surgery for a more muscular, toned chest that can restore your confidence and self-esteem. This reduction can help remove excess glandular tissues and trim down the size of breasts through liposuction, excision, or a combination of both procedures to attain a normal chest appearance. Every patient is different, so results and surgical techniques may vary from patient to patient. Call our Phoenix, AZ office today to schedule your gynecomastia appointment.
Causes of Gynecomastia
Large breasts cause psychological distress in men, and impact their masculine figures. Male breast reduction procedures enable trimming down these over-developed "man-boobs," and restore the normal chest size and shape. While there is no definitive cause for all cases of gynecomastia, which impacts 40 – 60% of men, some of the reasons are:
- A congenital abnormality
- Unusual breast tissue growth
- Using steroids
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Using Illegal drugs, such as marijuana
- Sagging skin
- A hormone imbalance
Do I Qualify?
The best candidates for male breast reduction surgery have been diagnosed with gynecomastia and have tried other treatments such as diet, exercise, or medication. The most favorable candidates are those who are in good health, but need assistance getting rid of excess fat and tissue in the breasts. Patients with other medical conditions should discuss their medical history thoroughly with Dr. Matatov or Dr. Torabi prior to surgery. Gynecomastia's breast enlargement affects men at any stage of their life, which can be at birth, adolescence, or in old-age. Men can undergo the breast reduction procedures at any time after the teen period and is subject to their health. A man may be considered for breast reduction if he has:
- Overall good health
- Medically proven gynecomastia
- Enlarged breasts causing physical discomfort and lack of confidence
- Over-developed breasts that are unresponsive to weight loss methods
- Reasons to seek improvement to overall body proportions
- At a stable weight
- Have been checked for breast abnormalities, like tumors
During the Surgery
Usually performed as an outpatient procedure with local anesthesia in 1 – 2 hours, our plastic surgeon will use a combination of liposuction and tissue excision to decrease the size of the breasts by removing any unnecessary fat and tissue. Using liposuction, fat is removed through small incisions made on each side of the chest, along the edge of the areola, or within the armpit, depending on the best and safest technique to meet your cosmetic needs. Our plastic surgeons use a few different methods depending on the amount of excess skin to be removed from enlarged male breasts:
- Liposuction: small incisions are made and a small flexible tube is inserted to remove fat using suction. The procedure to remove the fatty tissue is also known as liposculpture.
- Excision: if there is excessive glandular tissue that cannot be removed using liposuction, excision method is performed. A small cut is made at the lower edge of the areola, and if required, into the skin of the breast. The incision allows the wound to heal quickly with minimal scarring.
- Combined procedure: both liposuction and excision are also used when a patient has stubborn excessive glandular tissues in the chest.
- Fat flap sculpture: As a post-breast reduction cosmetic surgery, it is used when removal of excessive breast tissue requires elimination of skin and tissues from the chest wall. This helps to prevent a crater forming in the breast area.
Gynecomastia can affect one or both of the breasts, in different ways. In most cases, it is not a serious condition, but it can cause some physical ailments such as back pain and emotional stress from embarrassment. Male breast reduction surgery not only removes excess breast tissue, but also sculpts the chest for a more masculine look. In more severe cases of gynecomastia, patients may require a tissue excision. During a tissue excision, the surgeon is able to remove more tissue and skin than with liposuction alone.
A firm bandage is applied following the procedure to reduce any swelling and provide a level of comfort. Patients are advised to remain in an upright position to aid in the healing process. Most breast reduction surgeries require drains to remove any excess swelling and fluid that has accumulated in the area during the surgery. Here are a few other post-operative instructions for our male breast reduction patients:
- Keep the bandaged area dry and clean
- Complete rest is suggested for 2 – 3 days
- No shower for 48 hours, and no deep bath for a week
- Wear a compression garment as suggested by your plastic surgeon
- Schedule a follow-up visit for one week after surgery
- Start low-impact exercises after a week, but no stressful work or exercise for 3 weeks
- No direct sun exposure or tanning for 6 weeks
The recovery period depends on the severity of surgery and your body’s ability to heal. A mild painkiller may be prescribed for the first few days to help overcome any discomfort. The dressing remains for 2 days before it is removed along with drains. Stitches are removed after 10 – 14 days with the recommendation during this time for the patient to wear a strong support to overcome any discomfort, and provide support to the healing breast tissues.
Following male breast reduction surgery, no matter the technique used, you will experience bruising and swelling on and around the chest area for the first couple of weeks. Although you may feel sore after surgery, this will subside after a few days. Some men may experience a loss of sensation in the chest area, but this is only temporary. Each patient will experience a different healing process and should follow the surgeon’s care instructions for optimal results. Within a week, you can see the impending changes. It becomes clearer once the swelling subsides in six weeks and complete benefits are visible as your skin tightens in 4 – 6 months. If you maintain your weight and continue to balance your hormones with medications, you should see positive, long-term results.
Plan Your Procedure
Although gynecomastia is a common condition that is not life-threatening, it may cause you to feel insecure about your appearance. If you suffer from gynecomastia and are considering male breast reduction surgery, please schedule a consultation to learn more about your treatment options. We will work closely with you to create a care plan that best suits your needs and cosmetic goals. At Elite Plastic Surgery, we have two of the leading plastic surgeons in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area.