Male Breast Reduction
Gynecomastia Surgery with Alabama Plastic Surgeons
Gynecomastia is a condition of over-developed or enlarged breasts in men. This condition can occur at any age and often results from hormonal changes, heredity, obesity or the use of certain drugs.
Gynecomastia is characterized by excess localized fat, the development of excess glandular tissue and sometimes the presence of excess breast skin in one of both breasts. This condition can cause emotional discomfort and impair self-confidence. Some men may even avoid certain physical activities and intimacy to hide their condition.
Male Breast Reduction, or Reduction Mammaplasty, is the plastic surgery procedure used to correct gynecomastia. Gynecomastia surgery with Dr. William Hedden or Dr. Stephen Gunn at our cosmetic surgery center in Birmingham, Alabama can create a more masculine-looking chest by reducing breast size and flattening the chest contours.
Male Breast Reduction Candidates
Candidates for male breast reduction include:
- Men who are bothered by the feeling that their breasts are too large.
- Men whose condition cannot be corrected through alternative medical treatments.
- Healthy men who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing.
- Non-smokers and non-drug users.
- Men with a positive outlook and specific goals for improving the physical symptoms of gynecomastia.
- Men who are physically healthy and of relatively normal weight.
- Men who have realistic expectations.
- Men whose breast development has stabilized.
Adolescents may benefit from male breast reduction surgery, though secondary procedures may be needed in the future should breast development continue.
Your Male Breast Reduction Consultation
By choosing a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) for your male breast reduction procedure, you can be assured that you are choosing a highly-trained, board-certified plastic surgeon. ASPS Member Surgeons must meet rigorous standards for training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery.
The success and safety of your male breast reduction depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You will be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle. Be prepared to discuss:
- Your surgical goals.
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments.
- Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and recreational drug use (including steroids).
- Previous surgeries.
Your male breast reduction surgeon may also:
- Evaluate your general health and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors.
- Perform diagnostic testing to determine the underlying cause of gynecomastia. This may include testing your endocrine function.
- Examine your breasts and possibly take detailed measurements of their size and shape, skin quality and placement of your nipples and areolas.
- Take photographs for your medical records.
- Discuss your body contouring options and recommend a course of treatment.
- Discuss the likely outcomes of male breast reduction and any risks or potential complications.
- Discuss the use of anesthesia during your procedure.
Be sure to ask questions at your consultation. It is very important to understand all aspects of your male breast reduction procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether preoperative stress or excitement about your anticipated new look. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
Male Breast Reduction Risks and Safety Information
The decision to have male breast reduction surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits of male breast reduction will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.
The risks of male breast reduction include:
- Reactions to tape, suture materials, glues, topical preparations or injected agents.
- Anesthesia risks.
- Bleeding (hematoma).
- Blood clots.
- Breast asymmetry.
- Breast contour and shape irregularities.
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation (may be temporary or permanent).
- Damage to deeper structures (such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles and lungs), which may be temporary or permanent.
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications.
- Fatty tissue found in the breast might die (fat necrosis).
- Fluid accumulation (seroma).
- Persistent pain.
- Poor wound healing.
- Possibility of revisional surgery.
- Unfavorable scarring.
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all of your questions directly with your plastic surgeon. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.
Preparing for Male Breast Reduction
In preparing for male breast reduction, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation.
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, as they can increase bleeding.
Male breast reduction may be performed in an accredited, office-based surgical facility, licensed ambulatory surgical center or hospital. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and stay with you for at least the first night.
Male Breast Reduction Procedure
Anesthesia options for male breast reduction surgery include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best option for you.
In cases where gynecomastia is primarily the result of excess fatty tissue, Liposuction techniques alone may be used. This requires insertion of a cannula (a thin, hollow tube) through several small incisions. The cannula is moved back and forth in a controlled motion to loosen the excess fat, which is then removed from the body by vacuum suction.
Various liposuction techniques may be used. The technique most appropriate in your case will be defined prior to your procedure.
Excision techniques are recommended where glandular breast tissue or excess skin must be removed to correct gynecomastia. Incision patterns vary depending on the specific conditions and surgical preference.
In severe cases of gynecomastia, the weight of excess breast tissue may cause the breasts to sag and stretch the areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple). Excision is also necessary if the areola will be reduced or the nipple will be repositioned to a more natural male contour.
Combination of Liposuction and Excision
Gynecomastia is sometimes treated with both liposuction and excision.
Male Breast Reduction Recovery
Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself. Following your physician's instructions is essential to the success of your male breast reduction surgery and recovery. These instructions may include:
- How to care for the surgical site and drains.
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection.
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health.
- When to follow-up with your plastic surgeon.
After surgery, dressings or bandages will be applied to your incisions and an elastic bandage or support garment may be used to minimize swelling and support your new chest contour as it heals. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluids that may collect.
When recovering from gynecomastia surgery at home, seek medical attention immediately if you experience shortness of breath, chest pains or unusual heart beats. You may require hospitalization and additional treatment should any of these complications occur.
It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion or motion during the time of healing.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your male breast reduction recovery period.
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery, and when will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed, and when?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
Male Breast Reduction Results
After male breast reduction, your improved upper body will likely enhance your self-image and confidence, whether in a shirt and tie, a t-shirt or baring your chest at the beach. Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover from surgery.
The results of male breast reduction are immediately visible. Final results will appear over the next few months as post-surgical swelling resolves and incision lines fade.
The final results of male breast reduction are permanent in many cases. However, if gynecomastia resulted from the use of certain prescription medications, drugs (including steroids) or weight gain, you must be fully free from these substances and remain at a stable weight in order to maintain your results. Please discuss this with your physician before making changes to your prescription medications.
Any surgical treatment to correct gynecomastia will require incisions. While most incision lines are concealed within natural contours, permanent scars may be visible and are a necessary result of male breast reduction surgery.
The practices of medicine and surgery are not exact sciences. Although good results are expected from your male breast reduction, there is no guarantee. In some situations it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single procedure to treat gynecomastia. Another surgery may be necessary to perform additional tightening or repositioning of the breasts and to treat any complications that occur.
Male Breast Reduction Words to Know
- Areola: Pigmented skin surrounding the nipple.
- Bilateral gynecomastia: A condition of over-developed or enlarged breasts in men affecting both breasts.
- Endocrine system: A group of glands that make hormones which help to control activities in your body such as reproduction, metabolism, growth and development. Testing of your endocrine system may be done to look for signs of diabetes, thyroid disorders, growth hormone deficiency, osteoporosis, hypertension and obesity.
- Excision: To remove the skin.
- General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
- Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin.
- Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection to help you relax.
- Liposuction: Also called lipoplasty or suction lipectomy, a procedure which vacuums out fat from beneath the skin's surface to reduce fullness.
- Local anesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision to relieve pain during an operation.
- Reduction mammaplasty: The surgical removal of breast tissue to reduce the size of breasts.
- Sutures: Stitches used to hold skin and tissue together.
- Unilateral gynecomastia: A condition of over-developed or enlarged breasts in men affecting just one breast.
Procedure Information © American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Contact our Alabama plastic surgeons today to learn more about body contouring with Male Breast Reduction for Gynecomastia.
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