Gynecomastia, also known as male breasts, is a condition normally caused by a hormonal imbalance. Males are most at risk of developing this condition during infancy, puberty, and old age because it is the result of an excess of estrogen and a lack of testosterone. If you believe you suffer from this condition, male breast reduction at Boulder Plastic Surgery in Boulder, CO can help. Here is what you need to know about the procedure.
What Is Male Breast Reduction Called?
Male breast reduction goes by many names. Some people call it gynecomastia reduction. Others call it reduction mammaplasty, and some people call it male breast correction. However, we’d like to clarify that each name refers to the same procedure.
What to Expect During the Procedure
Before gynecomastia reduction begins, we will administer general anesthesia so you are asleep and comfortable. Furthermore, your chest will be sanitized to mitigate the risk of infection. Once you’re asleep and your skin is prepared for the procedure, we will make small incisions around the nipple so there will be no visible scarring as the incisions heal.
Through these small incisions, excess glandular tissue will be removed and a small amount of fat can be excised. However, male breast correction is not a fat removal procedure, so you should not expect much fat loss. Furthermore, excess skin will be removed as necessary and the remaining skin will be tightened.
What to Expect After the Procedure
If you are returning to a desk job, there is no reason to spend over a week out of the office. Contrastingly, if you have a physically demanding job, you will need to take two full weeks off from work. It is advisable to not perform physically taxing tasks or lift over 10 pounds for the first three weeks post-op; if your job is physically demanding, let your supervisor know that the scope of your job will need to be adjusted for three weeks post-op.
How Long the Results Will Last
Causes of Male Breasts
Other fairly common preventable causes of male breasts include excessive use of alcohol and other drugs. For the sake of your health and appearance, you should not drink more than two units of alcohol per day. Both the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that consuming over two units of alcohol daily for men is incredibly detrimental to health and should be avoided. Also, drink eight ounces of water between units.
Medical Conditions Can Also Cause Male Breasts
It’s not just drugs and hormonal imbalances that can cause male breasts. Medical conditions can also the swelling of male breast tissue or an excess of male breast tissue growth. Hypogonadism can occur at any age and prevents your testes from producing enough testosterone to keep your serum hormone levels in balance. Hypogonadism is usually caused by pituitary insufficiency or Klinefelter syndrome but may be caused by genetics.
Furthermore, the development of male breasts may be a sign of a tumor. Tumors that lead to male breasts are most often found in the pituitary gland, adrenal glands, or testes. If you have a family history of testicular cancer, you may want to ask an oncologist if screening would be appropriate for you. Other conditions that can affect your body’s hormone balance include renal failure, hyperthyroidism, malnutrition, and liver failure.
How to Extend the Results of the Procedure
You can also extend the results of your procedure by talking to your primary care physician and finding alternatives to medications you are currently taking that can cause male breasts. For example, if you are taking Valium for your anxiety, ask your psychiatrist about anti-anxiety drugs that do not increase the chance of male breasts, or see if CBT would be a viable solution for you. Similarly, see if there’s a safer alternative for supporting your prostate if you take flutamide.
Liposuction May Also Be Helpful
Liposuction is a fat removal procedure that has been around since 1974 and was popularized in 1982. The procedure is performed by making a tiny incision through which a cannula (very fine tube) is inserted. This cannula houses a suction device that sucks white fat cells out of the area. Although individual results vary based on the volume and specific location of excess fat beneath the skin, it usually results in a fat reduction of around 26%.
The Two Procedures Can Be Performed at the Same Time
It’s not uncommon to have excess breast tissue and a significant amount of fat in the chest. While male breast correction excises some fat, it is not as effective for fat removal as liposuction is. Luckily, both procedures can be performed at the same time for the best results. Male breast correction usually takes 90 to 120 minutes to complete. Having liposuction performed on the chest shouldn’t take more than an hour.
Therefore, even if you need both glandular tissue and a significant amount of excess fat removed, your total male breast correction will only take around three hours. If you don’t need liposuction performed on other regions of your body to further enhance your masculine physique, you can expect your recovery period to be just as smooth as if you only had male breast correction performed.
Risk Factors for Developing Male Breasts
There are several risk factors for developing male breasts. The most common risk factor for developing the condition is age. The male body starts to produce testosterone at a reduced rate beginning at the age of 31. This reduced production rate is so significant that 25% of men between the ages of 50 and 69 develop male breasts.
Another incredibly common risk factor for developing male breasts is the use of recreational drugs. Recreational drugs that can cause male breasts, or the appearance of male breasts, include marijuana, heroin, methadone and amphetamines. If you are self-treating a medical condition, such as ADHD with street drugs, seek the counsel of a licensed psychiatrist.
When You Should See a Doctor
When male breasts occur in infants and adolescents, the condition usually resolves itself on its own. For infants, the condition may only last two to three weeks. Alternatively, it may resolve when the infant stops drinking his mother’s breast milk, which may provide him with too much estrogen. Similarly, a pubescent boy may find that his male breasts go away when he has progressed through puberty enough for his body to produce adequate testosterone levels.
However, you should see a doctor if you are at least 18 years of age and concerned about the appearance of your chest. If you’re 18 and going through puberty late, the contours of your chest may change again within six to 24 months. However, if you have already been through puberty, and you are experiencing swelling, tenderness, pain, or nipple discharge, schedule an appointment right away.
Good Candidates for Male Breast Correction
The only way we can determine whether you are a good candidate for male breast correction is to evaluate you during an initial consultation. If you are at least 18 years of age and feel self-conscious about the appearance of your chest or experience swelling, tenderness, pain, or nipple discharge, you will probably be considered a good candidate for this procedure.
However, we must review your medical history and assess your current health before we can make that determination. To be put under general anesthesia safely, your heart and lungs must be healthy. Furthermore, you should be healthy overall for a quick, smooth recovery. You should also have realistic expectations about the preparation for the procedure, the procedure itself, the recovery process, and the results.
How to Prepare for the Procedure
The first thing you should to do prepare for your male breast correction is to come in for an initial consultation. During this initial consultation, we will assess your perceived male breasts to determine if you suffer from excess glandular tissue growth or pseudo-male breasts caused by an excess of fat and skin tissue. From there, we will determine which procedure or procedures will achieve your aesthetic goals most effectively.
Once we have determined that you are a good candidate and have a treatment plan for you, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of everything you should do and avoid in the six weeks leading up to your procedure. For example, you must stop smoking and drinking alcohol for six weeks post-op and drink plenty of water in the two weeks pre-op.
Gynecomastia is a condition that affects up to 65% of men who are at least middle-aged. However, it is not a condition that you must live with. If you feel like your chest looks more like breasts, you may suffer from male breasts or pseudo-male breasts. Either way, we can help. To learn more about male breast reduction, contact our experts at Boulder Plastic Surgery in Boulder, CO to discover the appropriate solution for you.