Male breasts or gynecomastia is not an uncommon problem. 70% of teens and 70% of older men may have this problem. In the majority of patients the problem usually resolves spontaneously in a few years. If you are one of the few for whom the problem does not resolve, you should seek an evaluation by a physician.
Your primary care provider will evaluate you for problems that may cause gynecomastia such as hormone disturbances, brain or testicular problems, breast diseases, genetic problems, or drug use like marijuana, alcohol abuse or digoxin use. Depending on the findings, you may be sent to see a specialist like an Urologist or an Endocrinologist. Once it has been determined that you need surgery to correct your problem you will be referred to a plastic surgeon.
Gynecomastia has different levels of severity ranging from Stage I is the lowest level with minimal breast tissue, to Stage III, the most severe that includes extra skin and breast tissue. Each stage may require a different surgical approach such as use of liposuction alone to remove breast tissue or use of liposuction in conjunction with surgical removal of breast tissue and skin, leaving a scare at the natural breast crease. In the latter, the nipple and areolar may be need to be removed and sutured back onto the chest.
Like all surgical procedures there are risks. Some of these include anesthetic reactions, pneumonia, blood clots, infection, bleeding, possible need for a blood transfusion, serums, pain, nipple numbness, nipple necrosis, skin necrosis, wound healing problems, scars, keloid scarring (particularly in people of color), fat necrosis, asymmetries, irregular contouring, no guarantee of size or amount removed, unexpected pathology findings, failure of nipple grafting and the need for revisions. Smoking has been found to be harmful during the perioperative period and may increase some risks significantly. Therefore, don’t smoke for at least 1-2 months before and after your procedure.
Gynecomastia surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. Plan to have a family member or friend help you for a few days. Most patients need 2-3 weeks of recovery. You can expect certain restrictions during the postoperative period including no driving for 2-3 weeks, no lifting greater than 15 lbs, no strenuous activity, caring for a drain, and wearing a restrictive garment for about a month.
For more information about this or other procedures, please call 770-948-8421