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All you need to know about gynecomastia

What is a gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia can occur at any age.


It is a condition of overdeveloped or enlarged breasts in men as a result of hormonal changes, heredity, obesity, or the use of certain drugs, medications, and certain health conditions like hypogonadism.


The issue can cause emotional discomfort and lack of self-confidence, characterized by excess localized and glandular tissue development, and sometimes excess breast skin. Some men may even restrain from exercising or intimacy.


Gynecomastia surgery, also known as male breast reduction, is an outpatient plastic surgery procedure that corrects unwanted glandular breast tissue and excess fat using a combination of surgical techniques and liposuction.

What are the signs and symptoms of gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is typically symmetrical in a location with regard to the nipple and may have a rubbery or firm feel.


Tenderness and sensitivity may be present, although there is typically no severe pain.

Who is an ideal candidate for gynecomastia surgery?

According to a study by the Mayo Clinic, gynecomastia is prevalent in 50% to 60% of adolescent males, but this usually goes away as you get older.


The same study also says that up to 70% of men aged 50 to 69 have some level of gynecomastia.


Ideal candidates for gynecomastia surgery include:


  • Body mass index of 19 and up to 30.

  • Enlarged glandular breast tissue not responsive to medical treatment or weight loss

  • Men in good overall health, with no medical conditions that may impair proper healing

  • Non-smokers

  • Men with realistic expectations about the surgery

  • Men who are self-conscious about their enlarged breasts.

What are the benefits of gynecomastia surgery?

Besides the emotional improvement, gynecomastia surgery carries the following health benefits:


  • Long-term results if you maintain a stable weight and a healthy diet

  • Pectoral contouring improvements

  • A safe and effective procedure at a low risk


You’ll see a difference in your pecs right away, but it will take a few days after your surgery for the initial swelling to go down.


Your new look won’t be fully apparent until your breast tissue heals, which could take four to six weeks, according to Dr. Doherty.

How is gynecomastia surgery like?

Gynescomastia surgery takes one to three hours and is performed under general anesthesia, local anesthesia, combined with an oral or IV sedative.


A few small incisions are made either under your arms or around your nipples.


If you only need liposuction, your plastic surgeon will use a cannula to remove the extra fat, contour the chest, remove excess tissue and a gland if found underneath the areola.


After the excess breast tissue is removed, your plastic surgeon will close the incisions with stitches and places a surgical drain tubes to prevent fluid build-up as you heal.


Depending on the extent of your surgery and gynecomastia, your doctor may also need to reposition your nipple.

What can you expect after gynecomastia surgery?

You should expect to have dressings or bandages applied to your incisions, and a support garment to assist to reduce swelling and help proper healing.


Gynecomastia surgery takes less than a week of downtime from work. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication for the first week.


A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.

What should I expect during a recovery?

You should expect to restrain from any strenuous activity for at least two weeks and wear a compression garment to help your tissue heal and reduce swelling.


Expect instructions about proper care of the surgical site and drains, medications 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.


About five days after surgery, the stitches will dissolve or removed by your doctor, along with the surgical drains.


Complications from surgery are rare. Make sure to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions for a successful surgery.

Are gynecomastia results permanent?

Gynecomastia surgery results are permanent if you maintain a stable weight and exercise the pectoral muscles.


You will notice a substantial difference in the size of your pecs right after surgery, which is more noticeable as the swelling goes down.


It may take between three to six months for the final results to show up. Incision lines usually fade over time depending on your skin type.


According to a study published in the World Journal of Plastic Surgery, on a scale of 1 to 10, the majority of patients rated their satisfaction with a score of nine, while the mean satisfaction score among physicians who performed the surgery was 8.36.

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