Male breast enlargement, or gynecomastia, is a common problem that causes embarrassment, social challenges, and immense self-consciousness. Fortunately, the condition is treatable with a simple cosmetic surgery known as our male breast reduction surgery.
What are the benefits of a male breast reduction?
- Restore a masculine chest contour
- Enhanced body confidence and self-esteem
- Increased comfort during physical activity
- Improved posture
Understanding your condition: What causes male breast enlargement?
What’s behind adult gynecomastia is somewhat of an unknown. The condition is common in pubescent boys, however. It is estimated that up to 70 percent of boys have gynecomastia to some degree. In pubescent boys, the cause is the changing levels of estrogen and testosterone. Teenage gynecomastia usually resolves as hormone levels stabilize.
With adults, causation isn’t clear-cut. Middle-aged and older men also are experiencing shifts in hormone levels, and that could be triggering gynecomastia. Certain medications can also cause gynecomastia:
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- AIDS treatment drugs
- Heartburn treatment drugs
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Marijuana use
- Heroin use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Herbal products with tree oil and lavender oil (each contain natural estrogen)
What is gynecomastia?
True gynecomastia is triggered by a decrease in the amount of the hormone testosterone compared with estrogen. This causes an increase in the amount of breast gland tissue in both teenage boys and men. Gynecomastia can affect one or both breasts, or it can affect them unevenly.
This breast enlargement isn’t a serious health issue, but it can be embarrassing for a man. It can make a man avoid scenarios where he would be required to take his shirt off, a trip over to Galveston to hit the beach for instance.
Can gynecomastia go away by itself?
Gynecomastia can go away on its own, and it typically does in adolescents at the conclusion of puberty. This can also happen with adults if the changes in aging have created variations in testosterone levels. But in adults, the condition is often combined with some fatty tissue and glandular enlargement, so it may not fully resolve.
Am I a candidate for male breast reduction?
When Dr. Wiener consults with a patient looking into potential breast reduction surgery, the question of whether surgery can fix a patient’s condition involves ruling some things out. If a man’s enlarged breasts are strictly due to weight gain, the first step is to lose the weight and see if the condition persists. Heavy drinkers and marijuana users also aren’t candidates for surgery, as their breast enlargement comes from their lifestyle choices.
How is gynecomastia diagnosed?
Dr. Wiener can diagnose when gynecomastia is to blame. When examining a patient’s chest, he feels for a firm, rubbery mass underneath the nipple area. The size of this mass is usually less than two inches in diameter. It will often be sensitive to applied pressure. Before opting for surgery, Dr. Wiener will likely begin treatment by prescribing medication that reduces the amount of estrogen the patient’s body is producing. In many men, there can also be an accumulation of some unwanted fat, but that’s not the main cause of their breast enlargement.
What are the signs when I could need gynecomastia surgery?
Typical symptoms of gynecomastia include swelling and tenderness in the breast gland tissue of one or both breasts. The areola, the area of pigmented skin that surrounds the nipple, may increase in diameter, and the chest tissue may appear asymmetrical.
It’s important to note that enlarged breasts due only to weight gain do not create a situation where surgery would be the answer.
How Long Does Male Breast Reduction Surgery Take?
Gynecomastia surgery may involve liposuction or the excision of glandular tissue. It often involves both techniques. Surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, usually under general anesthesia. Depending on the techniques used and the amount of tissue to be removed, the procedure may take one to two hours. You can expect to spend a short time in the monitored recovery area after your surgery is finished.
Are My Gynecomastia Treatment Results Permanent?
The results of your gynecomastia surgery are permanent in the fact that tissue will not grow back after your procedure. The body does not grow new fat cells or glandular tissue. Provided that you maintain healthy lifestyle habits that support a stable weight, you can expect the outcome of your surgery to endure for many years. It is important to understand that, even after treatment for gynecomastia, it is possible to experience pseudogynecomastia. This is male breast enlargement secondary to excess weight. The good news about pseudogynecomastia, unlike true gynecomastia which involves glandular tissue, is that you can resolve the issue by losing weight.
What Will My Scarring Look Like from Male Breast Reduction Surgery?
Surgery incurs scarring. There is no way around this. However, Dr. Wiener makes incisions as discreetly as possible. In most cases, gynecomastia surgery can be performed using very small incisions measuring about one inch in length. These are usually placed at the edge of the areola, the colored skin around the nipple. Here, the scar eventually fades to a point at which it is barely noticeable. Scarring is more extensive in terms of length when the surgeon must also tighten the skin over the pectoral muscles. In this situation, there may be a vertical scar that runs downward from the areola. It can take several months for scars to recover fully, at which point they may look like very faint lines.
Is Male Breast Reduction Surgery Covered by Insurance?
It is uncommon for medical insurance to cover the costs of cosmetic surgery procedures. Gynecomastia surgery is deemed an elective plastic surgery, so rarely receives coverage. That said, please do not hesitate to discuss your circumstances with our team and with your insurance company directly. Also, do not let the absence of insurance coverage keep you imprisoned by enlarged male breasts. We accept several different forms of payment and also work with CareCredit®, a credit care designated for health, wellness, and beauty.
What Should I Avoid after Male Breast Reduction Surgery?
Primarily, you need to avoid alcohol consumption, smoking and tobacco use, and strenuous activity after undergoing treatment for gynecomastia. We also strongly advise against doing too much too soon. You may feel fatigued for a few days. Take that time to rest and take the medications prescribed to you as directed. You should feel well enough to return to work and light activities after two to three days, although it may take four or five. The key to a smooth recovery is to not push yourself beyond what your body can do.
Can Weight Loss Get Rid of Gynecomastia?
There are two direct factors in the enlargement of male breasts: fat and glandular tissue. Only one can be mitigated with diet and exercise. If you are significantly overweight, it may be beneficial to implement lifestyle habits that will help you reclaim your ideal body weight and BMI. These are not ideals based on social media or marketing but on your body frame. Your doctor can help you set goals that are healthy for your body type. Losing weight can result in some degree of chest contouring. However, this may be limited if you also have glandular involvement. The bottom line is that, if you have true gynecomastia, in which you have excess fat and glandular tissue, weight loss may not be enough to fully resolve the issue. Gynecomastia surgery is straightforward, safe, and effective at removing the excess that is causing you to feel self-conscious about your appearance.
Tests + Exams: How is gynecomastia diagnosed?
When gynecomastia occurs in puberty, an evaluation should be done by an endocrinologist. If no treatable cause is found and breast growth has been stable for two or more years, a male breast reduction can be performed.
If the condition develops slowly in adulthood due to weight gain, no extensive diagnostic tests will be necessary other than a physical examination. However, if the breast increase is rapid or primarily one-sided, a more thorough evaluation may be warranted.
How do I prepare for male breast reduction surgery?
Dr. Wiener’s patients prepare for these procedures as they would with any surgery. You’ll need to stop taking any anti-inflammatory medications and blood thinners. Certain supplements will also need to be curtailed. These restrictions are usually for one week before your surgery. If you smoke, you’ll need to stop for at least two weeks prior to surgery and two weeks following, as smoking inhibits wound healing.
Surgery: A lasting solution to male breast enlargement
To begin your male breast reduction in Houston procedure, Dr. Wiener will make a discreet incision along the lower portion of the areola. Through that opening, he will surgically remove prominent breast tissue before performing liposuction to remove excess fat.
Does gynecomastia require anesthesia?
Our gynecomastia surgery is done under intravenous anesthesia.
The Recovery Process
After the surgery is complete, you will need to wear a compression vest for a few weeks to ensure optimal results. You may notice some residual swelling up to two months later, though it should resolve gradually over time.
Most of our male breast reduction patients find that they are able to return to work in just a few days. Although you may experience a loss of sensation in the treatment area, this is usually temporary and any loss should return within a few months.
What our patients have to say
"I’m two weeks post-op gynecomastia surgery and am very pleased with the results. Even from day 1, the pain was minimal and the results were dramatic. I was back to work within just a few days. The only regret I have is not doing the surgery sooner. I’d highly recommend Dr. Wiener and am extremely happy with my results."
Is gynecomastia dangerous if left untreated?
No. Gynecomastia doesn’t lead to any other health problems. It is typically only a cosmetic issue for men.
How soon after male breast reduction surgery can I begin exercising again?
It is unfortunate that more men who suffer from enlarged breasts don’t have surgery to correct the problem. After the first week or two at most, patients can return to light exercise, such as walking. Strenuous exercise needs to wait for a month or so. But you’ll quickly be able to return to work and regular activities. Any exercise, such as weight training that targets the chest, will likely need to be avoided for up to six weeks.
What are the risks involved with male breast reduction surgery?
These are very low-risk procedures with Dr. Wiener. As with any surgery, there is a risk of infection, poor wound healing, and the like. But these are quite rare. The main risk with male breast reduction is loss of nipple sensation, but Dr. Wiener works hard to ensure this does not happen. Overall, these are successful, satisfying procedures for men who have been embarrassed by their enlarged breasts.