A firm, squared-off chest is the masculine ideal. But as all too many men know, gynecomastia (enlarged breasts), can be a source of discomfort as well as embarrassment and lost confidence. But there’s help: male breast reduction in the Westport and Fairfield, Connecticut, area from Dr. Ellen Mahony.
Ready to learn more about male breast reduction? As a Connecticut plastic surgeon, Dr. Mahony has the training to help you and give your surgical experience a personal touch. Request an appointment with her today to achieve real results from an experienced surgeon with a keen eye for detail.
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is the term used to describe enlarged male breasts. There are varying degrees of breast enlargement, ranging from puffy nipples to full, sagging, female-like breast mounds. There are no medical implications associated with gynecomastia. However, because men suffer significant emotional turmoil as a result of their appearance, the development of efficient treatment protocols has become vital. In young boys, gynecomastia may resolve naturally as adolescent hormones become more regulated. If this does not occur, surgery may be the only way to restore natural masculine contours.
What Causes Gynecomastia To Develop?
Several factors may influence the development of gynecomastia. The direct cause is believed to be a significant imbalance between the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. Usually, men have very low levels of estrogen compared to very high levels of testosterone. The decline of testosterone can lead to what is called estrogen dominance, which can then stimulate the breast gland to behave abnormally.
In looking at male breast enlargement, we must consider what can cause this shift in hormone balance. Studies suggest that there are certain stages of a man’s life when estrogen may override testosterone. These include infancy and adolescence. When a man reaches mid-life and the state of andropause, his testosterone levels will drop, opening the door for estrogen-dominance. Weight increase also affects the balance between these two hormones, as can the use of anabolic steroids and certain drugs.
Who is a Candidate for Male Breast Reduction Surgery?
Healthy men whose enlarged breasts have not been improved with weight loss and exercise may be good candidates for male breast reduction. The techniques employed by plastic surgeons have been successful in treating both true gynecomastia (related to the breast gland) and pseudo gynecomastia (related to fatty tissue).
The best results are achieved when the patient:
- Is generally healthy and does not have a medical condition that may impede healing.
- Does not smoke or will quit smoking for several weeks.
- Is at a stable, healthy weight.
- Does not drink or drinks conservatively.
- Does not use drugs or anabolic steroids.
How is Male Breast Reduction Surgery Performed?
The outpatient procedure is performed to reinstate masculine contours to the male chest and to correct nipple or areola deformities, if necessary. Surgical techniques differ depending on the extent of tissue enlargement the patient has. Liposuction has enhanced the surgical outcomes of gynecomastia treatment. This technique suctions fatty tissue from the subcutaneous space, leading to a flatter chest.
An appropriate amount of fat tissue is left over the muscle to support natural contouring when the muscles are toned through exercise. Because liposuction focuses only on fatty deposits, this technique may be combined with excision of the breast gland to prevent nipple puffiness or further accentuation of the breast mound.
Gynecomastia Surgery Before & After Photos
Is Male Breast Reduction Surgery Painful?
Breast reduction surgery is performed using appropriate anesthesia. Depending on the technique and extent of tissue removal being done, a patient may be given general anesthesia. This achieves an unconscious state in which no pain is felt. After waking up from surgery, patients can expect to feel noticeable but tolerable soreness and tenderness. Prescription medication may be taken to manage these side effects.
Are there any scars from gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia surgery may require larger incisions if skin tightening is necessary. Incisions may be made in different zones of the chest depending on the techniques used. In many cases, the scars that result from gynecomastia surgery fade to a point of near invisibility. Proper wound care management can help the skin heal as well as possible. During your consultation for gynecomastia surgery, Dr. Mahony will discuss surgical techniques and details including incisions and how to minimize scarring.
What is the Recovery from Male Breast Reduction Surgery?
Gynecomastia surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis. Patients are escorted home by a loved one and can expect to spend the remainder of the day resting. Drains may be inserted beneath the skin to decrease fluid buildup in the repositioned tissue. These may be removed the following day.
For the first few days after surgery, patients may rely on prescription pain medication to manage comfort. By the end of the first week, soreness and tenderness should be significantly improved. Comfort is also supported by a compression garment that may be worn for a week or two. Stitches may either dissolve or be removed 7 to 10 days after surgery. Patients are provided with detailed post-surgical care instructions to assist them during their recovery. Our staff is also available by phone to answer questions.
Physical activity may resume gradually after gynecomastia surgery. Patients often return to work after one week of recovery. Low-impact exercise can resume after 2 to 3 weeks of healing, though pressure on the chest must be avoided. Strength training should be postponed until 4 to 6 weeks post-surgery, with care taken to avoid overdoing upper body workouts.
Please see below some frequently asked questions about male breast reduction surgery: