Gynecomastia is the abnormal development of female-like breasts in men. This excess breast tissue may be in the form of glandular tissue, fat and/or skin on the chest. Men of any age can develop gynecomastia, and it can affect just one breast or both. While it’s not a disease or physically dangerous condition, gynecomastia may have detrimental psychological effects.

Gynecomastia can be embarrassing and devastating for the men affected by it, as the contours of their chest resemble a woman’s breast. This condition can lead to low self-esteem that adversely affects all aspects of their lives. Most often, patients are uncomfortable in social situations and with intimacy. Simple activities that involve removing their shirts, such as going to the beach or a swimming pool, can be very stressful and embarrassing. They may also wear overly large shirts in an attempt to hide their chest, leading to issues finding clothing they are comfortable wearing.

Unfortunately, there are no non-surgical options for eliminating enlarged male breast tissue. The treatment for gynecomastia generally involves a minor surgical procedure to remove the abnormal breast tissue.

What Is Gynecomastia Surgery?

Gynecomastia surgery, commonly known as male breast reduction surgery, is designed to reduce the size of overly large breasts in men. It may also adjust the size and projection of the nipple-areola complex. The goal of this male plastic surgery procedure is to achieve a flatter, firmer chest while maintaining the natural contours of the chest wall.

After surgery, men can enjoy the confidence that comes with having more masculine chest contours and improved pectoral definition.

What Causes Gynecomastia?

Overdeveloped breast tissue in men is generally the result of imbalanced sex hormones in the body. There are many potential causes for this anomaly, ranging from residual effects of puberty to the abnormal side effects of exogenous medications such as steroids. Hereditary factors and obesity can also play a part in the development of this condition.

Gynecomastia often starts to develop during puberty, a time when the body stimulates the release of testosterone and estrogen hormones. Regardless of the mechanism, gynecomastia can cause low self-esteem in many teenagers, with effects that last into adulthood.

Am I a Candidate for Gynecomastia Surgery?

Candidates for this procedure should be healthy without any medical conditions that could impair their ability to heal from surgery. The best gynecomastia results are typically achieved by patients at a healthy, stable weight they have maintained for at least six months. Patients should also be non-smokers or willing to quit for an extended period of time before and after surgery.

Can Teenagers Get Gynecomastia Surgery?

Adolescent boys whose breast tissue has fully developed may be candidates for gynecomastia surgery. If they undergo this procedure before their breast development stabilizes, a subsequent operation may be necessary if their gynecomastia reoccurs.

Dr. Vasisht has experience performing gynecomastia surgery on teenage patients. He tries to assess all of the patient’s issues before embarking on surgery. This is a difficult decision for most parents, and Dr. V will guide you in making the best decision for your child.

Male Breast Reduction Procedure Options

Your options for treating gynecomastia can vary based on the size and shape of your existing breast tissue. During your examination, Dr. V will determine the amount and type of enlarged tissue present and grade your level of gynecomastia depending on the severity. He will help you choose the best treatment option and come up with a plan that fits your particular needs.

Dr. V may use one or a combination of the following gynecomastia surgery options. The procedure may take between one and two hours to complete.

Fat Removal

The correction of mild gynecomastia involves liposuction of the fatty breast tissue. This procedure may be performed in the privacy of our office with local anesthesia, which allows for a shorter recovery time and fewer risks of side effects.

Liposuction is performed through small, inconspicuous incisions on the chest. Dr. V often uses VASER liposuction, which employs ultrasound technology with a vibrating handpiece to break down the breast tissue. VASER is short for vibration amplification of sound energy at resonance. This technology loosens the fat cells and separates them from the deeper tissues, making it easier for Dr. V to effectively vacuum suction the fat cells out of the body with liposuction.

Excision of Breast Tissue

Patients whose gynecomastia presents in the form of excess glandular breast tissue will need surgical excision of the abnormal breast tissue. This technique involves a short incision under the areola through which the enlarged tissue is removed. The incision is generally so small that it is undetectable once it heals.

Excision of Skin

Men with severe cases of gynecomastia may have a lot of overdeveloped breast tissue that has stretched the skin on their chest. To improve the contour of the chest wall and avoid loose skin remaining in the area, Dr. V performs surgical excision of the skin and glandular breast tissue.

This option is often performed with the patient under general anesthesia. The incision pattern for skin excision will be based on the amount of tissue that needs to be removed. In most cases, it results in a horizontal scar camouflaged by the natural contours of the chest.

Nipple and Areola Reduction

If desired, Dr. V can reduce the diameter of the areola and length of the nipple with excision techniques.

Gynecomastia Surgery Recovery Process

Immediately after surgery, the patient is wrapped in an Ace bandage that ensures tight compression of the chest area. Patients are usually required to wear a tight-fitting garment under their clothing for four to six weeks. This compression will help re-drape the affected tissue and restore the contour of the chest wall.

Once the effects of anesthesia wear off, patients may experience some pain or discomfort. This can be alleviated with over-the-counter pain medication.

In certain cases, Dr. V may decide to use drains to remove excess fluid from the body. They are left in the wound throughout the post-operative period and removed in about three to five days right in the office. Sutures are removed in about seven days.

Dr. V will provide you with detailed recovery instructions, and he and his staff will be available if you have any questions throughout the process.

When Can I Go Back to Work After Gynecomastia Surgery?

Patients can resume working after their drains are removed (in three to five days). However, men usually need about one week of downtime to recover from gynecomastia surgery. This time will vary depending on the physical demands of your job and how you are feeling after surgery.

When Can I Lift Weights After Male Breast Reduction Surgery?

While light exercise can be resumed after a week or two, patients should avoid strenuous activities and weightlifting for at least four weeks. Listen to your body to know your limits; if you begin exercising and feel pain, we recommend waiting a few more days to a week before trying the exercise again.

When Will I See the Results of Male Breast Reduction Surgery?

The results of surgery will be visible immediately, as the excess male breast tissue will be gone. However, patients will likely have swelling for a few weeks that camouflages their results.

The final gynecomastia surgery results will become apparent in three to six months once the tissues fully heal and settle into a natural position and incision scars begin to fade.

After surgery, patients can enjoy their resulting firmer, more natural-looking chest contours. Most patients feel more comfortable in their own skin and participate in shirtless activities with confidence.

Can Gynecomastia Come Back After Surgery?

The results of gynecomastia surgery are expected to be long lasting. While the majority of patients achieve permanent results, it is possible for gynecomastia to reoccur. The excess breast tissue may return due to weight gain, steroid use, or a medical condition that affects the release of sex hormones.

The best way to prevent gynecomastia from coming back is to maintain a healthy, drug-free lifestyle with a nutritious diet and regular exercise.

Is Gynecomastia Surgery Risky?

Precautions are taken before the surgery to prevent complications. However, as is true for most surgical procedures, infection and bleeding can occur post-surgery. There may be bruising, swelling and numbness around the areola. Some amount of scarring can be expected, but the incisions used for male breast reduction typically heal without a noticeable scar.

In general, complications are extremely rare, and careful pre-operative assessment from a board-certified plastic surgeon is the key to prevention. Dr. V will guide you through this process.

Can I Combine Gynecomastia With Other Plastic Surgery Procedures for Men?

Gynecomastia surgery can be performed as a standalone procedure, but men may choose to combine it with another cosmetic procedure. A common surgery combined with male breast reduction is eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) to achieve a more alert, rested eye appearance. Ear surgery (otoplasty) can also be performed with this procedure for patients looking to achieve a more natural ear shape, size and projection.

Find Out If You Can Benefit From Gynecomastia Surgery in Vorhees, NJ

Dr. V at South Shore Plastic Surgery is a board-certified plastic surgeon experienced in performing gynecomastia surgery. Patients often come to our practice from Vorhees, Philadelphia and other cities near the South Shore of New Jersey for this procedure.

Call us at 856-784-2639 to schedule your consultation with Dr. V and learn how you can benefit from gynecomastia surgery.