Gynecomastia is the swelling of male breast tissue, or simply enlarged male breasts. The condition is commonly referred to as “man boobs.” A gynecomastia procedure, also known as male breast reduction or reduction mammaplasty, reduces this enlargement, to give men a flatter, more appealing chest appearance.
Gynecomastia can happen at any age, but it’s most prevalent around puberty and middle age because of hormone fluctuations. About 36 % of young adult men have it, and 57% of older men have it. Sometimes it’s painful, but there are usually no symptoms. The primary reason men have a gynecomastia procedure is to reduce feelings of embarrassment and improve their appearance.
Embarrassment may seem like a minor reason to have surgery, but this embarrassment can drastically affect someone’s life, curtailing their participation in outdoor activities or affecting their romantic relationships. Gynecomastia surgery can have a profound effect on your daily activities. One study found that gynecomastia surgery significantly improved men’s life quality in all aspects and especially in the social issue and psychical health.
What causes gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a result of hormonal imbalance. When men’s testosterone decreases and the female hormone estrogen increases, fatty tissue around the breast accumulates. This hormonal imbalance can happen for a variety of reasons. They include:
- Natural life changes such as puberty or getting older
- Certain medications such as tricyclic antidepressants, antibiotics, and Valium
- Illicit drugs and alcohol
- Health conditions such as hypogonadism, hyperthyroidism, and kidney failure
In some cases, gynecomastia is caused by a tumor, in which case the condition is a more serious health issue.
Who is a good candidate for a gynecomastia procedure?
Most healthy men with enlarged breasts can benefit from a gynecomastia procedure. It has a high success and low complications rate. However, it is not a good option for those who smoke or do drugs, are obese, or have a health condition that could complicate the healing process.
What should I expect during the procedure?
Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Theodore Diktaban, MD, FACS, uses a combination of techniques to accomplish the most aesthetically pleasing results. Depending on your condition, Dr. Diktaban performs one or a combination of the following:
- Breast tissue removal
- Excess skin tissue removal
- Repositioning of your areola
You’ll be given a local anesthesia with a cocktail of medications to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure. The procedure should last two to three hours.
What are the risks of gynecomastia surgery?
As with any invasive surgery, there are risks. Some of these risks include:
- Blood clots
- Anesthesia risks
But in the hands of an experienced surgeon such as Dr. Diktaban, risks are rare.
What will be recovery be like?
You’ll have bandages covering the incision sites to minimize swelling and protect your new breasts as they heal. Dr. Diktaban goes over directions for care to help promote a quick and uneventful recovery, which will include rest and restrictions on lifting and physical activity. You should expect a full recovery within six weeks.
When will my results be noticeable and how long will they last?
The best news about gynecomastia surgery is that your results are immediate and permanent. There will be some swelling and incision lines, but those will subside and fade over time. Though the results of surgery are lasting, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to include a balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise.
If you gain a significant amount of weight, take medications that could lead to a hormone imbalance such as steroids, or start abusing drugs and alcohol, you could develop gynecomastia again.