In Gainesville, FL, it can get pretty warm in the summer. That’s when we all seek out an open chair poolside or hop in the car for a trip to Juniper Springs, or maybe even over to Daytona Beach. But many men avoid those options for beating the heat due to their enlarged breasts. Taking their shirt off in public isn’t something they want to do.
What many men with enlarged breasts don’t know is they may be suffering from a condition known as gynecomastia. This isn’t a handful of men, either — 40 to 60 percent of men are affected by gynecomastia — and it can really impact a man’s self-esteem.
Dr. Gaines performs male reduction surgery to reduce enlarged breasts and make patients feel good about taking their shirt off!
What is gynecomastia?
The word “gynecomastia” has its roots in the Greek language, where it translates to “woman-like breasts.” The condition can affect one or both breasts, and it’s thought to affect possibly as many one in two men. The problem is that most men never do anything about it or even know they have a problem. Again, they just assume they have a few extra pounds, and their larger breasts are part of it. They assume their “man boobs” are their fault.
Gynecomastia is even more common in teenage boys, affecting three out of four. For them, their enlarged breasts are due to the high levels of estrogen and testosterone coursing through their bodies with puberty. When their hormone levels stabilize, their gynecomastia, like their acne, will usually resolve.
Causes of Adult Gynecomastia
Unlike teenage gynecomastia, which has definite hormonal links, the causes behind enlarged breasts in adult males isn’t so clear cut. In adults, their breast enlargement usually occurs in middle age and above. As during puberty, this is a time of fluctuating hormones. Beyond hormones, certain medications are linked to enlarged breasts.
Here’s a list of risk factors for a person developing gynecomastia. As you can see on this list, the condition is a side effect of many types of medications:
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Heartburn treatment drugs
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- AIDS treatment drugs
- Elevated estrogen levels
- Heavy drinking
- Frequent marijuana usage
- Weight gain
Candidates for Male Breast Reduction Surgery
When Dr. Gaines 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 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.
Dr. Gaines 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. Gaines 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.
The Male Breast Reduction Procedure
During male breast reduction surgery, the cosmetic surgeon may simply use liposuction to remove an excess build up of fat in the chest area. If the patient’s gynecomastia involves excessive amounts of glandular tissue and skin, surgical excision of the excess tissue is required. In such cases, the surgeon will make an incision around the areola or in the underside of the arm. Working through these incisions, excess tissue and fat will be removed. More incisions or a larger incision may be required depending on the extent of the procedure.
Does a Male Breast Reduction Procedure Require Anesthesia?
Dr. Gaines performs these reduction procedures on an outpatient basis with the patient under local anesthesia.
Recovery from Gynecomastia Surgery
Recovery from male breast reduction surgery is not difficult. The incisions are relatively small. There will be some swelling and discomfort, but this is short-lived. Patients will wear a compression garment to help the chest adhere to its new contour and to minimize swelling. There is often some loss of sensation in the treated areas after gynecomastia surgery, but this is almost always only temporary.
We will be able to provide patients with in-depth post-surgical instructions following male breast reduction surgery at our Gainesville, Florida practice.
Male Breast Reduction Before and After Photos
How long after my gynecomastia surgery can I begin exercising again?
It is recommended that patients refrain from heavy exercise and strenuous activity, particularly activity that may involve possible blows to the chest area, for at least three weeks to four weeks.
Will my gynecomastia return after surgery?
In most cases of reduction surgery, where Dr. Gaines removes a majority of the breast gland, this also removes the chances of the condition returning.
However, if the gynecomastia was due to the use of steroids, marijuana, or other medications, it is possible for a patient’s breasts to become enlarged again if usage is continued. Also, a sizeable increase in weight can allow fat to accumulate in the breasts, although this isn’t true gynecomastia.