In February’s first blog we got into some of the basics of enlarged male breasts, a condition known as gynecomastia. This isn’t the case of men having a few too many pounds and enlarged breasts because of it. Gynecomastia is a condition dictated by hormone fluctuation causing an enlargement of the breast gland under the nipple.
In this second February blog, let’s get into the surgery we perform at UMass Memorial to correct gynecomastia.
Who is a good candidate for male breast reduction surgery?
The question of whether surgery can resolve your enlarged breasts 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.
Our board-certified UMass Memorial plastic surgeons can diagnose when gynecomastia is to blame. During your consultation, we’ll feel 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, it’s likely we’ll begin treatment by prescribing medication that reduces the amount of estrogen your body is producing. One important criterion is that you still need to have good elasticity in your chest skin, so the skin can tighten down after this surgery.
How is male breast reduction surgery performed?
Called reduction mammaplasty, this surgery typically involves small incisions made around the edge of the areola. This makes scarring inconspicuous. Once our surgeons have access to the excess breast tissue, the tissue is removed, usually along with some excess fat. We may use some liposuction in combination with the excision surgery. If you have sagging, excess skin, that will be trimmed away. In cases where the patient has true gynecomastia, excess skin is not usually a problem. These are outpatient procedures and are not complicated.
What results can these surgeries provide, and how long will they last?
Having enlarged breasts due to gynecomastia can be very tough on a man’s self-confidence. It can make you self-conscious anytime you would normally need to remove your shirt, such as on a water-skiing trip. That’s no way to go through life.
When the enlarged tissue is removed, often along with some excess fat, you’ll have a slimmer, contoured chest. Our UMass Memorial patients often tell us that they now feel comfortable going shirtless for the first time in years. The results are immediately seen, and recovery is not difficult. This procedure can be a real boost for a man’s self-esteem.
How long will my results from gynecomastia surgery last?
We often get questions during consultation from patients who wonder if they will need to have this procedure more than once. True gynecomastia, versus enlarged breasts due to weight gain or other lifestyle factors, is caused mainly by excess glandular tissue. This causes the protrusion of the nipple-areola complex. In male breast reduction surgery, we remove most of the mammary gland, leaving enough to support the nipple-areola. With this tissue gone, the chances of recurrence are very low.
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 continues. Also, a sizeable increase in weight can allow fat to accumulate in the breasts, although this isn’t true gynecomastia.
Do you wonder if your enlarged breasts are gynecomastia? Call the team at UMass Memorial Medical Group, (508) 334-5990, and schedule a consultation.