Gynecomastia is a condition where men develop swollen or enlarged breast tissue, commonly known as ‘man boobs’.
Just as women are constantly exposed to media expectations of their bodies, men living with this condition can feel self-conscious if their chests don’t stand up to the perceived masculine standards. No amount of targeted exercise will help to reduce this breast tissue, which can cause a great amount of embarrassment for men.
What can cause gynecomastia?
Increased breast tissue in men is normally triggered by a hormone imbalance. This imbalance may be caused by natural factors (such as adolescence or ageing), obesity, prescription medications, anabolic steroids, alcohol, street drugs or a range of health conditions.
For many men, there is no identifiable cause to their gynecomastia.
Who is a good candidate for gynecomastia surgery?
All surgery, even the most routine of procedures, carries some level of risk. It’s therefore important that male breast reduction surgery candidates are in good overall physical health. Good emotional stability is also a consideration, as it’s important to keep in mind that a surgical procedure alone cannot restore your levels of confidence.
Men who are overweight should first consider a new regimen of diet and exercise. This can often achieve the results men are looking for. Men who use marijuana and anabolic steroids should cut them completely out prior to surgery.
This condition can be present in teenagers. It’s preferable to wait until adolescents have fully matured before considering cosmetic surgery. Gynecomastia in particular can often resolve without intervention in those who are younger.
Are there any risks to male breast reduction surgery?
In the hands of an experienced plastic surgeon, the surgery is generally considered safe. As is the case with any surgery, there is potential for complications. These could include a poor reaction to anaesthesia, bleeding and infection post-surgery, and a reduction in sensation in the nipple or breast. Most patients experience a level of numbing immediately after surgery, but this normally goes away with a few months of healing.
What can be expected from gynaecomastia surgery?
Gynecomastia surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis. The type of surgical technique that is used will be determined by the size of the breasts and the type of gynecomastia.
Generally speaking, when the concerns are simply excess fatty tissue, it can be easily removed using liposuction. When the gynecomastia is caused by glandular breast tissue, the surgeon will need to remove the tissue surgically.
The majority of reduction surgeries combine both procedures, for optimal results. Scarring is minimised by keeping most incisions around the nipple.
Prior to your procedure, your cosmetic surgeon will discuss your best options with you. Be sure to ask any questions that you may have, so that you are confident with the results that your procedure will produce.
Recovering from male breast reduction surgery
Postoperative pain levels can vary and often depend on the extent of the surgery that you underwent. Pain levels can be managed with prescription and over-the-counter pain reliever medications, as needed. Most pain experienced will ease up within a few days of surgery.
Patients will find that there is some swelling and bruising present after the surgery. This will resolve within a few weeks. Compression garments are recommended in order to speed up the recovery process.
Most patients are able to be up and walking within a few hours of the procedure, but should heavily restrict their activities for two weeks.
Surgery for gynecomastia can have positive results on your appearance and can also help to boost your self-confidence levels. Be sure that you have realistic expectations about the changes that surgery can bring.