Gynecomastia is a medical condition that affects around 30% of men at some point during their lifetime. It is characterized by the enlargement of male breast tissue. Men who grow male breasts often feel shame and embarrassment as a result of their affliction. This has caused the number of gynecomastia surgeries to rise more than 30% in the past five years.
Otherwise referred to as male breast reduction, gynecomastia surgery is a major surgery. It deserves serious consideration before you go ahead and schedule the procedure.
The best way to find out if you are a good candidate for gyno surgery is to schedule a consultation with a gynecomastia surgeon. After a medical examination, you will learn the cause of your problem and if surgery can help.
In the meantime, here are some things all men should know when considering gynecomastia surgery. The procedure is also called male breast reduction.
Am I the Right Age for Gynecomastia Surgery?
Gynecomastia can affect men of any age, even boys. When puberty leads to hormonal surges, male breast growth can result. For many boys, the breast tissue shrinks on its own. But there are some boys who keep the breasts long-term, much to their displeasure.
Gyno is present in 60% to 90% of young boys and 50% to 60% of adolescents. Up to 70% of men 50 to 69 years of age also experience this growth of male breasts, otherwise known as “man boobs”.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
Hormone fluctuations during puberty are a major cause of gynecomastia. More specifically, higher than normal levels of estrogen can cause the breast tissue to grow. Excess weight gain is another. Bodybuilders who use anabolic steroids and users of marijuana also put themselves at risk of developing the condition.
What Does Gyno Look Like?
Gynecomastia typically grows on both sides of the chest. Although, asymmetry does occur in some patients. The best way to tell if you have gynecomastia is to undergo an examination by a trained gyno doctor.
You can perform a self-breast-exam at home. While not a definite test, it can help you determine if you should see a doctor.
Feel around the breast tissue. The presence of male breast growth usually identifies itself as a firm, mobile, and disc-like mound. This mass is usually located just under the center of the nipple.
A mass doesn’t always indicate gyno. If you feel a hard and fixed object peripheral to the nipple, that could indicate male breast cancer. Other signs of cancer include nipple discharge, enlarged lymph nodes, and skin changes. A proper diagnosis of breast cancer will require the use of mammograms and MRI.
How to Correct Gynecomastia with Surgery?
There are multiple parts to gynecomastia surgery. Most men want the fat tissue removed from their breasts. This will involve a surgery you probably know well – liposuction. Traditional liposuction is used to suction out the fatty tissue underneath the skin.
For men who experience growth of glandular tissue, surgical excision will be used to remove the targeted mass. Excision may also be used if excess tissue needs to be cut away, which is the case for men with overly large breasts.
How Does One Prepare for Gynecomastia Surgery?
Male breast removal surgery is performed by a gynecomastia surgeon. Your surgeon will give you explicit instructions on how to prepare before surgery. You may be advised not to eat or drink 24 hours before the procedure. You may also be told to wash with antibacterial soap.
Your surgeon is sure to mention that you stop taking any medication that can increase your risk of bleeding. If you smoke, you’ll be advised to quit at least two months before.
Your doctor may ask you to take a multivitamin once per day for two weeks before surgery. This helps to ensure you are in the right state of health to have the male breast surgery removed.
Plan to have a caretaker drive you to and from the surgical center on the day of surgery. In the best-case scenario, that person would stay with you for the first 24 hours to tend to your pressing needs. Your doctor will recommend that you fill any prescriptions before surgery. Doing so will allow you to have the medications available when you need them, and as you heal.
Finally, plan to schedule a few days off work. If you have a physically demanding job, plan to take at least two weeks off. Your doctor can often provide you with a letter to give to your employer to request the time off if needed.
Is There Anything You Should Avoid Before Gyno Surgery?
Frequent visitors to the tanning bed will want to avoid sun tanning at least two weeks before gynecomastia surgery. Stay away from alcohol at least one week prior to the procedure and stop all blood thinners and herbal supplements ten days before.
What is Recovery Like After Gynecomastia Surgery?
Post-surgical care involves taking care of your surgical site dressings. You are also encouraged to eat healthily to promote healing. Make sure you get plenty of rest and wear your compression vest as ordered. The compression vest improves circulation, which aids you in healing. The vest also helps to reduce swelling and control bruising.
For instances where only liposuction was used, you should be able to return to work in less than a week. When glandular tissue is to be removed, you may require two to four extra weeks to heal before returning to your regular work duties.
Is Gynecomastia Surgery Worth It?
Ideal candidates for gynecomastia surgery are those who experience discomfort on account of their condition. There may be chafing or rubbing of the skin where the breast tissue is present. Another consideration for surgery is if the male breast growth leads to a lack of confidence. You may also be considered if you have tried other methods to reduce the breast tissue but to no avail.
Gynecomastia surgery can alleviate any discomfort you feel. Chafing can become a thing of the past. Your self-esteem can skyrocket. Imagine taking your shirt off at the pool or beach without issue. Picture yourself showing off your flat and masculine chest where there was male breast growth before.
In some cases, getting a gynecomastia diagnosis and signing up for surgery can uncover more serious issues, such as hyperthyroidism, low testosterone levels, and breast cancer.
Yes, gyno surgery can be worth it, as long as you have realistic expectations, are in good physical health, and are at a healthy weight.
How Much Does Gynecomastia Surgery Cost?
The American Society of Plastic Surgery puts the average cost of gyno surgery at around $4,123. The fees you pay may vary depending on a variety of factors. These include the type of surgery, the extent of the male breast growth problem, the state of your health, body type, surgical center, anesthesia, and the doctor’s fees. The best way to get the true cost of gynecomastia surgery is to schedule a consultation with a gyno surgeon near you.
Ready to Discuss Gyno Surgery with a Gynecomastia Surgeon?
The decision to have gynecomastia surgery is not an easy one to make. Hopefully, by learning these facts about this common male affliction, you will feel inspired to schedule a consultation. Many gynecomastia patients report a positive body image and boosted self-esteem following their procedures. Dr. Babak Moein of Moein Surgical Arts can help you determine if gyno surgery is right for you. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Moein today in Los Angeles by calling (310)694-4486.