What is gynecomastia surgery?
Gynecomastia surgery reduces breast size in men, flattening and enhancing the chest contours.
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). In these cases the position and size of the areola can be surgically improved and excess skin may be reduced.
Plastic surgery to correct gynecomastia is technically called reduction mammaplasty.
What is gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a condition of overdeveloped or enlarged breasts in men that can occur at any age. The condition can be the result of hormonal changes, heredity, obesity or the use of certain drugs.
Gynecomastia can cause emotional discomfort and impair your self-confidence. Some men may even avoid certain physical activities and intimacy simply to hide their condition.
Gynecomastia is characterized by:
Excess localized fat
Excess glandular tissue development
Sometimes excess breast skin
Presence unilaterally (one breast) or bilaterally (both breasts)
Who is a good candidate for gynecomastia surgery?
Gynecomastia surgery candidates include:
Men whose condition cannot be corrected through alternative medical treatments
Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
Nonsmokers and non-drug users
Men with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind 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
Men who are bothered by the feeling that their breasts are too large
Adolescents may benefit from surgery, although secondary procedures may be needed in the future should breast development continue.
What are the risks of gynecomastia surgery?
The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal, and you will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of gynecomastia surgery are acceptable.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.
Gynecomastia surgery risks include:
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 – can occur and 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)
Poor wound healing
Possibility of revision surgery
Reactions to tape, suture materials, glues, topical preparations or injected agents
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It's important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
What should I expect during my gynecomastia surgery recovery?
During your gynecomastia surgery recovery period, 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 after surgery.
A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
You will be given specific instructions that 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 and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual 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? When will they be removed?
Are stitches removed? When?
When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
When do I return for follow-up care?
It's very important to follow your plastic surgeon's instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.
The final results of gynecomastia surgery 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.
Recovering from gynecomastia surgery at home
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains or an unusual heartbeat, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
Following your physician's instructions is essential to the success of your surgery.
It's important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
What results should I expect after gynecomastia surgery?
Gynecomastia surgery results are immediately visible. Over time, post-surgical swelling will resolve and incision lines will fade. Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover from surgery.
The final results of your gynecomastia surgery may take 3-6 months to achieve. Incision lines are permanent, but will continue to fade over time.
Gynecomastia surgery scars
Any surgical treatment to correct gynecomastia will require incisions. While most incision lines are concealed within natural contours, some may be visible and are a necessary result of male breast reduction surgery.
All gynecomastia surgery scars are permanent, even though some scars may be concealed in the natural contours of the breast. 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.
The practices of surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected from your procedure, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure to treat gynecomastia.
Another surgery may be necessary:
To perform additional tightening or repositioning of the breasts
To treat any complications that may occur
This article was taken from AMERICAN SOCIETY OF PLASTIC SURGEONS web page: