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male breast

Gynecomastia (Male Breast Reduction Surgery)

Gynecomastia is enlargement of breast tissue in men. There may be enlargement of one or both breasts. This condition occurs in as many as 40 to 60% of men.

Cause of Gynecomastia

The cause of gynecomastia is not always known. However, the incidence of gynecomastia increases with obesity as well as use of certain drugs, including:

  • Digitalis
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Tagamet
  • Spironolactone
  • Marijuana
  • Alcohol

Social Effects of Gynecomastia

This condition can cause extreme embarrassment, social inhibition and self-consciousness for boys and men who suffer from it. In addition, many boys are the target of bullying due to their gynecomastia.

Gynecomastia Surgery

Gynecomastia surgery is very common nowadays. The surgery is a medical procedure in which you have excess fat or glandular tissue removed from the chest of the individual in order to reduce the size of the breast. In extreme cases, excess skin is also removed. The result from this procedure is a flatter, firmer, and more masculine-looking chest.

The procedure is done under general anesthesia and is similar to breast reduction surgery in females. The procedure usually takes about two hours and the patient is discharged home the same day.

The type of procedure used depends on the degree of breast enlargement. The options include removal of tissue under the breast or liposuction of the chest wall. In both instances, a small elliptical incision is made on the lower half of the nipple area (areola). For those men with tissue that is more glandular in nature, all breast tissue directly under the nipple is removed.

Recovery from Gynecomastia Surgery

Recovery time and privacy needs vary from person to person. Depending on the extent of surgery, pain can vary from minimal to moderate, and will last from several days to two weeks. The chest is usually swollen and bruised after the surgery. Although these symptoms are temporary, some degree of swelling and bruising may last for 3 to 6 months. One may also experience numbness or a burning sensation.

Although your chest will still be sore, light activities can usually be resumed within a few days after surgery. Most people are able to return to work within three to seven days and resume more strenuous activities within two to three weeks. Strenuous exercise, especially lifting, pulling, and pushing motions, should be avoided for at least 6 weeks after surgery, which will help the scars to heal.

Gynecomastia Surgery – Frequently Asked Questions

Many men have tried every form of intense chest exercises and low fat diets to alleviate their gynecomastia. Determination alone is usually not effective, and many men become frustrated by the amount of effort they have put forth to no avail. Usually, only surgery can correct gynecomastia.

Most patients say the surgery is not as painful as they expected. In fact, patients usually describe their recovery as easy, and the pain as being comparable to the discomfort they experience after a heavy chest workout in the gym.

Most men can return to work after 5-7 days unless they have a very physical job and need an extra week to recuperate.

Most patients may begin exercising slowly about one week after surgery and find they are back to their usual gym routine around two weeks later. However, strenuous exercises, especially lifting, pulling, and pushing motions, should be avoided for at least 6 weeks after surgery to help the scars heal.

Most men see an improvement in their chest contour almost immediately after surgery; however, complete results often take 4 to 6 months. Swelling and some bruising are normal after surgery, and the healing time will vary depending on the individual.

To learn more about gynecomastia, please contact our board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Scott Loessin at his plastic surgery office in Key West, Florida. Call Dr. Loessin today at 305-809-8011 .