Enlarged breasts in men are more common than you think, and are the result of gynecomastia, which can occur at any age due to hormonal changes, heredity, obesity or the use of certain medications. For a lot of men, so-called ‘man boobs’ are the difference between pursuing an active lifestyle and staying home. Gynecomastia surgery aims to boost your confidence and get you to the beach – with the confidence to take your shirt off.
Male breast reduction methods involve liposuction, cutting out excess glandular tissue or a combination of liposuction and excision. Often only a few small incisions are needed. This generally results in less healing time and discomfort due to being minimally invasive.
Gynecomastia surgery will benefit you if:
• Your enlarged breasts make you reluctant to take your shirt off in public, participate in sports or go the gym
• You want to improve your physique and upper body proportions
• You’re experiencing issues with physical discomfort or self-esteem because of enlarged breasts
• You’ve already tried diet and exercise to reduce your breast size... but could not
What To Expect
Prior to your procedure, you’ll need to carefully follow pre-operative instructions. Specific medications and even certain nutritional supplements may thin your blood, so you’ll need to stop taking these for two weeks beforehand. You’ll also need to stop smoking one month before surgery because it can slow your healing, increase the risk of surgical complications and worsen scars. Consider it a golden opportunity to quit smoking altogether.
Intravenous sedation or general anesthesia will be administered to keep you comfortable during surgery, depending which is best for you. Excision techniques requiring an incision are used whenever glandular breast tissue or excess skin must be removed or if the areola must be reduced or the nipple repositioned. Liposuction techniques require the insertion of a thin hollow tube or cannula through a few small incisions. It’s moved in a controlled motion to loosen excess fat, which then gets removed by vacuum suction. Often times, gynecomastia is treated with a combination of both liposuction and excision for best results.
You’ll be bandaged, comfortably wrapped in a compression garment and given instructions for care. The first couple of postoperative weeks are critical to a successful recovery and the best results, so plan to wear your compression garments all day and night to give you the flattest, most toned results. When the anesthesia starts to fade, you may have some soreness, bruising and swelling but Dr. Kirman will prescribe pain medication to help with all this.
Things To Consider
• You will emerge with improved chest contours, both when you’re dressed and undressed, and enjoy results that will last a lifetime.
• Gynecomastia is caused by an excess of breast tissue, not obesity (aka pseudogynecomastia). Dr. Kirman will help you determine which one you have and how to treat it.
• Successful gynecomastia surgery requires skin with good elasticity. If you’re 50 or older, have significant sun damage, stretch marks or have undergone gastric bypass surgery, Dr. Kirman may adjust your surgical plan to give you your best possible results.
• You should not be significantly overweight prior to surgery. In fact, you’ll need to at least try to get within 40 pounds of your ideal body weight.
• Extracurriculars like marijuana, steroids and alcohol (in excess) are theorized to cause gynecomastia, therefore you should expect to quit them after undergoing your breast reduction surgery.
• You’ll need to avoid sun exposure and tanning for about six weeks. UV rays can prolong swelling, as well as cause permanent discoloration and scarring.
• You may notice a temporary decrease in breast sensation but this should return after a year at most.
Q. Will it hurt?
A. For most patients, the pain is moderate and extra-strength Tylenol does the trick. Depending on how much liposuction is required, you may experience some soreness equivalent to a day of intense exercise and be given a prescription for pain medicine.
Q. How soon can I see results?
A. Initial results can be seen – or at least imagined – straight away but due to swelling, it can take up to six months to see your final results.
Q. How long do results last?
A. Your results should be permanent. However, if you gain weight in the future and it contributes to breast tissue, you may need to have it removed again.
Q. What kind of scarring can I expect?
A. It varies according to the amount of breast tissue removed and the elasticity of your skin. Larger breasts are associated with larger incisions, but results are still satisfying with scars that are barely noticeable because they’re hidden in the creases of the skin. Smaller breasts involve smaller incisions, usually just large enough to admit a thin liposuction tube. If your areolas are large and require reshaping, a scar may be visible all the way around the areola. Note: After male breast reduction surgery, the diameter of the areolas may decrease all on their own – about 10 to 50 percent from their original size. This happens when significant amounts of glandular tissue are removed.
Q. What is the recovery time?
A. When you’re treated with the usual combination of liposuction and breast gland tissue excision, you can bet on being back to work within seven to 10 days after surgery. If you’re a gym guy, you can resume low-impact exercise in about two to three weeks at which point you can also slowly and gently begin to build upper body strength with weights.