If you are suffering from overdeveloped male breast tissue, you are not alone. A significant number of men in the United States develop enlarged breast tissue in their chest. Some estimates suggest 40 to 60% of men can be affected to some degree. This condition is called gynecomastia, and it can affect one or both breasts.
Even though gynecomastia is quite common, it can still be a significant source of embarrassment. Often, men who suffer from gynecomastia will refuse to remove their shirt even when at the pool or gym because of social embarrassment. This condition can affect also affect your intimate life. At Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery, we want you to feel comfortable and confident in your own skin.
There are several surgical options for removing the enlarged tissue and excess skin, giving you a more masculine chest contour. Schedule a consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeons today by calling 303-706-1100. We serve patients in Denver, Lone Tree, and local Colorado communities.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
For patients who want to improve their gynecomastia, it is necessary to look for an underlying treatable medical cause prior to surgical correction. If you believe you have gynecomastia, you should consult your primary care physician to find out if an underlying condition or medication may be contributing to it. Only a qualified health care professional can determine the cause of your gynecomastia.
Things that may be causing your gynecomastia can include:
- Hormonal imbalance, especially in which estrogen levels are higher than testosterone levels
- Diseases, including chronic liver disease
- Marijuana use
- Alcohol use
- Use of or exposure to anabolic steroids
If you are using certain medications, please do not make any changes and do not stop taking your medication without first consulting your doctor. If there is an underlying disease, drug, or other issue causing the swollen breast tissue, you need to work with your doctor to resolve the problem.
We only perform male breast reduction surgery after we know the male breasts will not continue to swell and enlarge. By doing so, we ensure that your results are permanent and that any underlying health problems have been addressed.
Is Male Breast Reduction Surgery Right for Me?
First, a correctable medical cause for gynecomastia should be sought. If your gynecomastia is caused by an underlying health condition, we may recommend first seeking treatment for the health condition and then revisiting the prospect of gynecomastia surgery.
Once this has been done, most healthy men who are bothered by the appearance of their chest are reasonable candidates to be evaluated for surgery. Our plastic surgeons can determine if you may benefit from the procedure during your consultation.
You may be a good candidate for gynecomastia if you:
- Are dissatisfied with the appearance of your chest
- Have enlarged breast tissue and excess skin
- Have sought medical treatment for the underlying cause of gynecomastia
- Are generally in good health
- Are near a stable weight
- Do not smoke or are willing to quit in order to facilitate healing
If you are an adolescent male who suffers from enlarged chest tissue, often the best advice is to wait until the end of puberty to allow hormonal changes to settle out. Gynecomastia will usually disappear in adolescents and patients can avoid a scar from surgery. However, there are rare cases that warrant surgical correction earlier, and these can be discussed with your doctor and our plastic surgeons.
Who is not a candidate for Breast Reduction Surgery?
When it comes to gynecomastia surgery, most men who are self-conscious about their enlarged male breasts are good candidates. Teenagers, on the other hand, should usually wait to schedule the procedure until after puberty. That’s when their bodies are done changing, and their hormones have settled down. By that time, the swelling may have gone away on its own. Some factors may disqualify adults from gynecomastia surgery. Those factors include: Certain health conditions Underlying breast disease Smoking and/or substance abuse Unreasonable expectations
Preparing for Your Gynecomastia Surgery
Before your male breast reduction procedure, you will get a set of pre-operative instructions describing how you should prepare for surgery. Certain medications and nutritional supplements can thin the blood and need to be stopped 2 weeks prior to surgery. The need for a blood transfusion because of gynecomastia surgery is extremely rare and is not anticipated for this surgery.
Patients should stop smoking one month prior to surgery because smoking is known to increase the risk of surgical complications, slow wound healing, and worsen scars.
How to choose between Liposuction and direct incision?
Several different techniques can be used during gynecomastia surgery. Our board-certified plastic surgeons will help select the right option for you based on the nature of your condition. Men who suffer from true gynecomastia typically have excess fat and glandular tissue.
They may also be experiencing hanging skin and a certain degree of chest sagging. In those cases, a combination of surgical excision and liposuction techniques will likely achieve the best results. Meanwhile, some men suffer from pseudo-gynecomastia. Pseudogynecomastia is a condition in which male breasts develop excess fatty tissue around and behind the nipples. Unlike with true gynecomastia, glandular tissue is not much of a concern, and liposuction may be all that’s needed to achieve a flatter and more sculpted chest.
What to Expect from Gynecomastia Surgery
There are several techniques for correction of gynecomastia depending on the severity of the physical characteristics of the breast gland itself. Each patient is different, so your surgeon will discuss with you the best option after examining you. Some techniques only address the underlying gland with minimal scaring of the skin. Other techniques for severe gynecomastia must remove the extra skin as well as the breast gland which will leave larger visible scars.
Your procedure will be performed on our premises at Park Meadows Outpatient Surgery, a state-licensed and Joint Commission-accredited facility. Typically, patients do not need to stay overnight after gynecomastia surgery. In most cases, the procedure can be completed in one to three hours.
Both of our board-certified plastic surgeons have experience performing the male breast reduction procedure. Using either liposuction, direct excision techniques, or a combination of both, your plastic surgeon will remove the excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin on your chest. After you heal from the procedure, you will have a flatter, more masculine chest contour.
Often the scars can be kept just around the nipple. For the worst cases, a scar along the bottom of the breast, mimicking the natural chest muscle fold (pectoralis muscle fold) is sometimes needed. Sometimes the surgeon will recommend a second stage to allow the skin to shrink from the first operation to keep from making a larger scar.
You will be given a comprehensive set of post-operative instructions prior to your surgery. You will have steri-strips covering your incisions. Some patients will have tape or bandages covering the chest to help shape or support the skin after surgery. You will be given a post-surgical garment to wear for approximately 4 weeks.
Some patients will need drains under the chest skin for a short time. If you have drains, you and your family will be instructed on how to care for them. Most patients are able to return to work 10 to 14 days after surgery if they do not have a very active job that requires heavy physical lifting or activity. It can take several months for the chest skin to “settle” and achieve its final contour.
Patients can experience random, shooting, discomforts or pain after surgery. This is normal and typically improves within several weeks to months. Some men will notice changes in their chest and nipple sensation after surgery. Some men are more sensitive, while others are less sensitive. These sensations tend to even out over time and return to normal, but in a few cases can be permanent.
In the vast majority of cases, your chest can be reshaped in one surgery. However, in some patients, healing can be unpredictable resulting in significant differences in breast/chest shape, symmetry, or nipple position. In some cases, a second smaller “touch up” surgery is required to give you the best result possible.
Gynecomastia Surgery Aftercare and Recovery
All of our gynecomastia patients receive detailed post-operative and home care instructions. In these instructions, you will find diet, driving, activity, work, and smoking/alcohol restrictions.
You will also find helpful information about caring for your surgical site and taking medications. It’s okay to shower (not bathe) 48 hours after your procedure. Don’t remove your post-surgical garment if it gets wet, simply pat it dry and leave it on until your follow-up appointment. You can remove your compression shirt or compression garment in the shower, but it’s important to put it back on when you’re done. It helps reduce bruising and swelling to ensure a great result.
Most patients don’t need much downtime after gynecomastia surgery. You’ll likely be able to return to work after two weeks, light activity after four weeks, and strenuous workouts and lifting after six weeks. Keep in mind that your timeline will depend on the extent of your surgery.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Gynecomastia
Surgery is usually the best solution for men with persistent gynecomastia. However, some lifestyle changes may have a positive impact on the appearance of your chest, such as:
- Eating well and exercising regularly
- Stopping the use of steroids and certain medications
- Avoiding alcohol, illegal drugs, and cigarettes
- Trying to avoid stress
- Getting enough sleep
Treating gynecomastia can also involve treating an underlying medical condition. And sometimes, your doctor may recommend off-label medications or testosterone therapy. Finally, you may consider non-surgical body contouring treatments. However, know that these treatments will only target excess fat — not glandular tissue. You may need to address both to achieve a flat and firm chest.
CoolSculpting® For Non-Surgical Male Breast Reduction
For some men, CoolSculpting can be an incredibly effective alternative to male breast reduction surgery. This non-invasive treatment uses gentle cooling energy to freeze and eliminate targeted fat cells. Applied through comfortable applicator paddles, the energy is painless and does not affect or harm the surrounding tissue.
Depending on the degree of your gynecomastia, CoolSculpting may be able to provide the contoured, defined look you desire. CoolSculpting tends to offer the most significant results for men who are dealing with enlarged breasts comprised primarily of fatty tissue.
This treatment may be a good option if you are looking for a way to avoid an involved surgical procedure. However, CoolSculpting may not be the ideal solution if you are dealing with excess glandular tissue.
No matter your situation, our CoolSculpting team leads will happily explore this non-surgical alternative with you. In some cases, CoolSculpting may be used after you have healed from surgery to further enhance your results.
Can Gynecomastia come back after surgery?
Gynecomastia can come back after male breast reduction surgery. However, most men can prevent that from happening by maintaining a stable weight. In fact, studies have shown that the procedure ranks highly in terms of patient satisfaction. Keep in mind that the natural aging process will cause some sagging over time due to lost skin elasticity. If that bothers you, non-surgical skin tightening treatments may be able to address it.
Be aware that some medications, health conditions, and lifestyle choices that impact hormones might cause gynecomastia to return. Talk to our surgeons for more information about achieving long-lasting results in your unique situation.
Schedule Your Gynecomastia Surgery Consultation
For most men, gynecomastia surgery can be an effective option for restoring body confidence. If you are interested in male breast reduction in Denver, please contact Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery through the form on this page or by dialing 303-706-1100 to schedule a complimentary cosmetic consultation. We happily serve patients from Denver, Lone Tree, and nearby areas in Colorado.