April 12, 2018

Breast Reduction for Men

When you think of cosmetic procedures, you may imagine a breast augmentation, in which the breasts are enlarged. However, breast reductions are also done, albeit less commonly. These are usually done for women whose breast size causes back issues and other problems.

Breast reduction can also be done on men. Some men–and even boys going through puberty–may find that they start to develop breast tissue. This condition is known as gynecomastia. While it has several possible causes, it often requires surgical intervention.

What Causes Gynecomastia?

All men have some amount of breast tissue, but gynecomastia causes this tissue to swell. This often results in the appearance of breasts (sometimes called “man boobs”). While gynecomastia is sometimes only an appearance issue, it causes pain and tenderness in some cases.

It is important to understand that gynecomastia is more than just an accumulation of fat. Excess weight may cause you to look like you have gynecomastia, but true gynecomastia is caused by an imbalance of the hormones testosterone and estrogen. Every man has both testosterone and estrogen, but when testosterone is too low and estrogen too high, health problems can result.

High estrogen in men tends to lead to loss of muscle mass, fat gain, and fatigue, and it also can lead to gynecomastia.

There are several possible causes of high estrogen in men. The use of street drugs and alcohol may increase estrogen and lower testosterone, and anti-androgens used to treat prostate cancer and other illnesses may contribute. Anabolic steroid use also frequently causes gynecomastia, especially in those who do not also use anti-estrogen therapy.

Gynecomastia also affects some adolescent boys. As they go through through puberty, hormonal fluctuations may lead to a temporary overbalance of estrogen. Puberty-related gynecomastia typically goes away on its own, although it make take up to two years.

More rarely, other health conditions, including kidney failure and some tumors, may contribute to gynecomastia. If you find yourself experiencing gynecomastia symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor to make sure there isn’t a dangerous underlying cause.

How Do You Know if You Have Gynecomastia?

The main symptom of gynecomastia is swollen gland tissue in the breast region. However, many men with this condition also have pain and tenderness. In some cases, discharge may come from one or both nipples.

If you are unsure whether your symptoms are simply weight gain or gynecomastia, be sure to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can tell you whether you have this condition, and he or she also may be able to help you pinpoint the cause.

What Can You Do About Gynecomastia?

In some cases, though not all, gynecomastia goes away on its own. However, this medical condition is often embarrassing and sometimes very painful. If your doctor has told your your symptoms may be permanent, or if you don’t want to wait for symptoms to go away, pursuing breast reduction for men may be a good option. In this surgery, the glandular tissue that swells when gynecomastia is present is removed. Depending on how much is removed, a male breast reduction may prevent you from having to deal with this medical condition again.

How Does Male Breast Reduction Work?

There are two possible surgery types for gynecomastia. For less severe cases, liposuction is typically used. In liposuction, your surgeon will insert a cannula, which is a hollow metal tube, beneath the skin. Then, gland tissue and fat is suctioned out, helping to create a flatter chest. The cannula only makes an extremely small incision, so this option typically results in the least amount of scarring. After you are completely healed, you may not even see a scar at all.

If you have a severe case of gynecomastia, however, your surgeon may need to use a method called tissue excision. While this method is slightly more invasive, it is often necessary in cases with excessive tissue swelling, or where the swelling is enough to cause stretching of the skin. Tissue excision results in the removal of more tissue, but it often provides permanent or near-permanent results.

While tissue excision may result in some scarring, plastic surgeons are skilled with the placement of incisions. After healing is complete, you likely will notice little to no scarring.

How Much Downtime Can I Expect?

Male breast reduction is not quite as invasive as some forms of plastic surgery, but it does require some downtime. Many men are able to return to work in a few days, although vigorous physical activity should be avoided for a few weeks. Your surgeon will likely give you a compression garment to wear after the surgery as well. This garment will help minimize swelling and reduce pain. Post-surgical pain is usually minimal, especially with the liposuction option, and you may even find that over-the-counter pain medication is enough to manage it.

Healing times will vary depending on both the surgical method used and your individual physiology. At your consultation, be sure to discuss healing time with your doctor. Your doctor can take into account your symptoms and preferences, and he or she can then decide on an appropriate treatment plan for you.

Are You Ready to Get Started?

Gynecomastia can be painful and embarrassing, but you don’t have to let it hold you back. If you are ready to get started on improving your life, the first step is setting up a consultation with a surgeon who performs male breast reduction. At your consultation, your surgeon will examine you and discuss your symptoms to start formulating a surgical plan. And if you are near New York, NY, Madison Plastic Surgery may be the practice you need. This established surgical practice is known for a variety of cosmetic procedures, including male breast reduction. It is the home of Dr. Robert Tornambe, one of New York’s top plastic surgeons.

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