With all of the water around Guilford, our patients spend lots of time outdoors at the beach. For some men, however, this is about the last thing they want to do because of their enlarged breasts, what people condescendingly refer to as “man boobs.”
There is also a good deal of misconception about enlarged male breasts. For one thing, most people assume they are simply a result of weight gain, similar to the way a woman’s breasts can grow with extra weight. While this can be the cause behind some male breast enlargement, it can also be due to a condition that is known as gynecomastia.
Dr. Price performs male breast reduction surgery, usually on a simple outpatient basis, to reduce enlarged breasts and make patients feel good about going shirtless again.
What is Gynecomastia?
The term gynecomastia has Greek origins and means “woman-like breasts.” The condition can affect one or both breasts, and is not rare — it’s thought that up to one-half of men have this condition. The problem is that most men never do anything about it, or even know they have a problem. As a result, they just assume they have a few extra pounds, and their larger breasts are part of it.
Gynecomastia is even more common in teenage boys, affecting three out of four. For them, their enlarged breasts are due to the high levels of estrogen and testosterone coursing through their bodies with puberty. But like acne, in most cases, their enlarged breasts will pass with the end of puberty.
Symptoms of Gynecomastia
The stigma of having larger than normal breasts can really impact a man’s self-esteem, and reduction surgery can definitely improve self-image. Many cases of gynecomastia present themselves in a firm, rubbery mass directly underneath the nipple area. The area is sensitive to the touch and usually measures around two inches in diameter.
Unlike female reduction surgery, most cases of male reduction don’t require removal of excess skin. Instead, Dr. Price usually removes glandular tissue and excess fat.
Causes of Gynecomastia
In adults, their breast enlargement usually occurs in middle age and above. Like teenagers, this is a time of fluctuating hormones. Beyond hormones, certain medications are linked to enlarged breasts as well. Below is a list of all possible influences for the development of gynecomastia in men.
- Heartburn treatment drugs
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- AIDS treatment drugs
- Abnormal Hormone Levels
- Heaving Drinking
- Frequent Marijuana Usage
- Weight Gain
Steroids, in particular, are known to cause gynecomastia, probably due to their heavy hormone concentration.
Am I a Candidate For Male Breast Reduction Surgery?
Men of all ages in whom the medical causes for enlarged breasts have been ruled out may be good candidates for this surgery. It is sometimes performed for men in their teens, as well as men in their sixties or older that want to feel less self-conscious with their shirts off!
Gynecomastia Surgery Procedure
In most cases, this surgery is done on an outpatient basis and with local anesthesia only. The condition is often directly tied to excess glandular tissue. Dr. Price can remove this through small incisions made either around the areola or in the armpit. This makes scarring virtually invisible. Through these small incisions, Dr. Price removes excess glandular tissue, fat, and possibly some skin. In many cases where the enlargement is mostly fat, liposuction may be all that is needed. Dr. Price can determine the best plan for your individual problem after a consultation and examination.
Gynecomastia Surgery Recovery
Recovery from the surgery is not difficult. Immediately after your procedure, we’ll put you in a compression garment to minimize swelling and to help the chest skin adhere to its new contour. The incisions are small and they heal relatively quickly. There will be some swelling and discomfort, but this does not last very long. You may have some loss of sensation in the area, but this usually returns.
What is the Recovery Time for Gynecomastia Surgery?
Generally speaking, patients see obvious changes in the size of their breasts after about two weeks. After about six weeks, roughly 75 percent of the improvement is visible, while the full result may take three to six months.
Recurrence of Gynecomastia after Surgery
In most cases of reduction surgery, we remove a majority of the breast gland. This usually precludes the same stimulation that caused the condition from reoccurring. However, steroid or drug use, or major weight gain can cause the breasts to gain size again.