Gynecomastia is a medical term used to describe overdeveloped or enlarged breast tissue in men. Gynecomastia surgery is a cosmetic surgery procedure involving male breast reduction to remove excess glandular tissue, fat and surplus skin from the chest area. This type of plastic surgery is technically called a Reduction Mammoplasty. The result is the restoration of a firmer, flatter, more masculine chest profile.
What Causes Enlarged Male Breasts?
Enlarged male breast tissue can occur at any age or stage of life. Known causes include genetics, certain medications, excessive weight gain and persistent hormonal imbalances. Some estimates suggest up to 50% of men develop some degree of gynecomastia in their lifetime.
Why Are The Effects Of Gynecomastia?
Enlarge male breasts (sometimes referred to as man boobs) frequently cause issues with self-confidence. The associated emotional discomfort can result in adverse modifications in behaviour both socially and physically. This may include avoiding certain physical activities such as swimming or running, feelings of embarrassment when wearing tight-fitting clothing and avoiding intimacy in an attempt to hide or disguise the condition.
How Can Surgery Help?
Gynecomastia surgery has become more and more popular over the years as men seek to improve the appearance of their chests. The surgery offers a practical and relatively straightforward treatment for gynecomastia that can be performed safely and successfully on men of all ages.
What Does Gynecomastia Surgery Involve?
The specifics of gynecomastia surgery varies between patients; however, generally speaking, removing the breast tissue will involve liposuction of the excess fat, surgical removal of excess glandular breast tissue and excess skin, and sometimes reducing and repositioning the nipple and areola.
Incisions are made at the intersection of the areola and the skin around the breast, and sometimes a further incision is needed across the breast if there is excess skin to remove or nipple adjustment is required.
Incision patterns do vary depending on the specific requirements of each surgery and the preference of your surgeon. The technique/s most appropriate for each individual will be discussed prior to your procedure.
In general, gynecomastia surgery is performed under general anaesthesia, however sometimes it may be undertaken with the use of oral sedation and local anaesthesia. Depending on the extent of the surgery, fluid drains may be used to help the body dispose of excess fluid from the wound. Compressions vests are also required for a period of time following surgery to aid in the reduction of swelling and discomfort.
Preparing For Surgery
Preparing for breast reduction surgery usually involves:
- Stopping any medications that increase the risk of bleeding
- Stopping smoking or drinking alcohol
- Eating well to aid recovery and healing
Who Can Get Gynecomastia Surgery?
Gynecomastia surgery is possible for men of all ages and stages of life, however, there are a few conditions that will make you a better candidate for achieving the best results from this type of surgery, these are;
- Your weight sits in a relatively normal weight range
- You are a non-smoker
- Your breast development has stabilised (particularly for adolescents otherwise, future procedures may be required)
- You are generally a healthy individual (no existing life-threatening illness or medical conditions)
- You have a positive outlook on life and have goals in mind for improving yourself
- Alternative treatments have failed
- You have realistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery
Recovery After Surgery
Every patient’s healing process is unique, therefore recovery times will depend heavily on the individual, however, the extent of the surgery will also be a strong determining factor.
For liposuction only, a return to moderate exercise and work is typically one to two weeks. For the more complex surgical procedures, patients will generally need between two to four weeks before being able to tolerate their regular daily activities. Patients may experience discomfort when using the upper body, particularly when raising the arms above the head for some time beyond these estimated timeframes.
Compression garments are usually worn for around 2-4 weeks, and swelling and bruising should begin to disappear around 3-4 weeks. After approximately 6 months, the final results should be evident without any residual pain or restriction in movement. Any complications resulting from the surgery will, of course, affect these estimates.
Gynecomastia Surgery Complications
As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. However, due to the fairly straightforward nature of the surgery and the fact that the surgery is confined to the breast tissue, gynecomastia surgery is considered relatively safe. The majority of patients will experience a smooth recovery.
Some of the more common risks and complications associated with Gynecomastia Surgery are; are bruising, bleeding, and fluid collection around the site. Irregularities in contour and/or shape, loose breast skin, visible scarring, loss of sensation in the nipple and the possibility of inverted nipples.
Choosing an experienced surgeon with meticulous surgical technique and attention to detail is essential to achieving a good outcome.
How Much Is Male Breast Reduction Surgery?
All elective surgery is highly customised to your specific requirements, so it is difficult to provide exact costs. Your surgeon will give you a breakdown of the costs for your surgery prior to its commencement. Some of the expenses likely to be incurred are; consultation fees, post-surgery compression garments, prescriptions for medication, surgeon fees, anaesthetist fees, hospital fees and nurses fees.
As a very general guide, the average cost of gynecomastia surgery in New Zealand is between $10,000- $20,000. Speak to your surgeon about the possibility of health insurance or finance options.
Maintaining Your New Chest Contour
The results of male breast reduction surgery are designed to be permanent. However, gaining an excessive amount of weight, steroid use, or certain medical conditions can mean the condition is likely to reoccur. Recreational drugs and things that alter testosterone levels could also affect your results. Living a healthy lifestyle following gynecomastia surgery or any surgery is essential for best results over the longer term.
Are you suffering from gynecomastia and a lack of confidence about your appearance? Would you like to speak to someone about male breast reduction surgery? Call qualified cosmetic surgeon Howard Klein for a confidential consultation today.