Male breast reduction is a procedure that corrects male breast enlargement (gynecomastia). Gynecomastia usually begins after puberty and may persist despite out-growing your teenage years or attempts at diet and exercise. Increasingly, men with this problem are undergoing male breast reduction as the appearance of enlarged breasts can be embarrassing and may diminish one’s confidence.
Who is a candidate for male breast reduction?
Healthy normal-weight men who have enlarged breasts despite attempts at diet and exercise may be candidates for male breast reduction. If you are obese, it is advised that you go down to your normal weight before proceeding with surgery. This is especially true as fat cells contain an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone to estrogen, increasing your estrogen to testosterone ratio and possibly contributing to your gynecomastia. Also, it is important to rule out some identifiable causes of gynecomastia like marijuana, steroids, excessive alcohol consumption and certain medications. Please consult with your medical doctor if this is the case.
How is male breast reduction performed?
This procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia and can be done in several different ways depending on your anatomy. If you have just excessive fatty tissue at your breasts, liposuction alone through tiny hidden incisions would do the trick. If you have fatty tissue and some thicker glandular tissue, liposuction with excision of your glandular tissue through a small well-positioned incision at the areola border would be recommended. Finally, if your breasts are very large and include excess skin in addition to the excessive underlying tissue, your incision would be completely around your areola +/- an additional transverse incision at the base of the chest. This last method is seldom used as most cases fall within the first two scenarios. Plus much of your skin (if you have residual excess skin after surgery) will contract down to your chest as you heal and wear a compression garment.
What to expect after surgery?
Dr. Farris and his staff at Farris Plastic Surgery will provide specific instructions regarding your surgery.
You will be able to go home on the same day of surgery. Postoperative pain is limited. You will be advised to wear a compression garment for 3 weeks. Avoid strenuous activity for 3 weeks. Most swelling and bruising go away by the second week. Avoid exposure to sunlight and consider sunscreen for the first 6 months if exposed. Apply Vitamin E cream to your scars after the third week to optimize your scar healing.
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- Am I too young to have male breast reduction for gynecomastia?
We recommend that you are at least 18 years of age before proceeding with this procedure. Sometimes, gynecomastia after puberty resolves at the end of your teenage years. If it persists and there is no other identifiable medical cause, you may be a candidate for surgery.
- Is it worth it to have male breast reduction?
Many patients experience a boost in self-confidence and self-esteem after male breast reduction surgery. As long as you are healthy, have a defined problem and have realistic expectations, there is potential for great benefit.
- Does marijuana cause man boobs (gynecomastia)?
Research has shown that the THC in marijuana decreases testosterone levels, increasing the estrogen to testosterone ratio, which can contribute to gynecomastia. In addition to an imbalance of estrogen to testosterone and marijuana, other causes include steroids, excessive alcohol consumption, and certain medications. Most commonly however, the cause is unknown and considered idiopathic.
- How is male breast reduction performed?
In many cases, liposuction alone in addition to a small periareolar incision to remove thick glandular tissue under the nipple would do the trick. If you have a lot of excess skin however, you likely will need an additional incision to remove all the extra skin in order to flatten your chest.
- What is the downtime after male breast reduction?
After surgery, you will be able to go home the same day. Most of the pain occurs during the first couple of days and is controlled with prescription pain medication. Avoid strenuous activity like exercise or heavy lifting for about 3 weeks. During that time, it is advised that you wear a compression garment to reduce swelling.