What is Gynecomastia & Male Breast Reduction?
Gynecomastia is the excessive development of the male breasts. Male breasts can have many negative effects from tenderness and pain to emotional pain and humiliation. The fact is that many conditions, hormonal imbalances, and medications may affect breast size in males. Seeing a physician about your concerns is paramount.
It can be a particularly awful condition for adolescent boys who become victims of taunts and bullying. In general, however, the condition will regress naturally. If it doesn’t, there are options and you are not alone. Half of boys are born with the condition, but it works itself out within a few weeks.
At Executive Plastic Surgery we find the most common concern of men with gynecomastia is the appearance. They simply no longer want to have breasts. They may feel uncomfortable shirtless or feel inadequate as men. The emotional impact of this condition cannot be underestimated as it can be traumatic for many males. Men try chest exercises, dietary changes and more in a desperate attempt to get rid of the excess fat. Contact us to schedule a consultation.
What Causes Male Breasts?
There are many ways that male breasts may develop. They include:
* Hypogonadism – Any illness that interferes with normal testosterone production can be associated with gynecomastia.
* Aging – Hormonal changes that crop up with regular aging (particularly in men who are overweight) can cause male breasts.
* Undernourishment and starvation. When deprived of adequate nutrition, the body’s testosterone levels go down causing a hormonal imbalance.
* Kidney failure, cirrhosis, liver failure, hyperthyroidism, tumors.
* Steroid use.
Gynecomastia Is Relatively Common
Gynecomastia in infants is very common as more than half of male newborns are born with it due to their mother’s estrogen. The babies’ swollen breasts subside within two to three weeks after delivery. Male breasts during the teenage years is caused by hormone changes and, as with babies, the engorged breast tissue will generally subside without treatment. Gynecomastia in older men between the ages of 50 and 69 is prevalent with at least a quarter of the men in this age group affected.
Why Can’t I Have The Surgery Just Because I Am Young?
Male breasts are embarrassing for many pubescent boys, but they will so often rectify on their own that it is not advisable to have the surgery until they are in their 20s and the size and shape of the chest has been developed. It is simply irresponsible – barring very specific circumstances – to perform male breast reduction on a minor.
Emotional Considerations For Gynecomastia Surgery
Even though it is common, the condition is very difficult for many men. It may cause physical pain or issues, but the emotional effects are probably more problematic for most patients. For a man, enlarged breasts can be outright devastating to their confidence. Gynecomastia can be stressful and embarrassing because it is difficult to hide and can be a challenge during romantic contact. During puberty, gynecomastia can make boys a mark for mockery from peers. It can make taking one’s shirt off in front of others traumatic. Coping with the issue is an important part of the process.
Therapy and counseling can help you avoid anxiety and depression, help you find ways to communicate with your partner or family members about the condition and allow an outlet for negative emotions. You may feel uncomfortable explaining your situation and asking for support but your openness with them will likely strengthen those bonds. Connect with other men who have the condition.
Most of the time, gynecomastia regresses on its own without medical treatment in less than 24 months. However, if gynecomastia is caused by an underlying condition, you need to talk with your doctor. Action may be required if gynecomastia doesn’t get better on its own or if it causes major soreness, tenderness or humiliation. But, first, your surgeon will check your breast swelling in order to make sure that it is – in fact – gynecomastia and not another issue. Other conditions might include:
* Fatty breast tissue is not gynecomastia.
* Breast cancer is uncommon in male patients but not impossible.
* A breast abscess – or mastitis – is an infection of the breast tissue.
Dr. Shaher Khan MD will also want to discuss which medications you take. Medicines that can cause the condition include but are not limited to:
* Anabolic steroids
* AIDS and HIV medications
* Anti-anxiety medications like Valium
* Tricyclic antidepressants
* Ulcer medications like cimetidine
What Is The Treatment Of Gynecomastia?
Dr. Khan takes each patient’s unique situation into account when deciding on their surgical plan. We know that each patient is different and all the staff at both of our Detroit area offices are committed to patient-centered care. Treatment options are:
* Liposuction: The procedure is typically performed using local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia. The surgery involves a small cut on each side of the chest through which the doctor removes surplus fat while sculpting a new chest shape. The recovery process often includes a compression garment to minimize swelling and support healing. Most patients are able to return to work or school within several days.
* Mastectomy: This surgery removes the breast gland tissue. Patients who have severe cases of gynecomastia or stretched, sagging skin may require excision. The incisions are typically peri-areolar incisions, which means that they are located around the edge of the areola and this minimizes visible scars. This is usually an outpatient procedure. The patient will receive either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. The recovery process is similar to that for liposuction. Typically, patients return to work within about a week.
Maintaining Your Improved Chest Contour
In general, a healthy lifestyle will allow for a desirable chest appearance. It will depend on whether you got liposuction or excision or a combination of the two. Liposuction removes a percentage of the active fat in a specific area and, as time goes on; if you put on weight it should not go to the breast region. However, steroid use or other non-recommended activities may bring back chest fat and male breast symptoms. Therefore, a generally healthy lifestyle free of drugs and including exercise and taking all prescribed medications will hopefully lead to a long life with a flat chest.
Life After Male Breast Reduction
While gynecomastia can be very difficult for some men it is correctable, and men can go on to live very full and happy lives. They can find new confidence with their shirt off and be able to enjoy swimming. As a surgeon who cares, it is Dr. Khan’s responsibility to address the main concerns of his patients. As mentioned earlier, the most common anxiety of men is the appearance of the male breasts. Therefore, his goal as he develops a customized plan for the needs of each patient is to be sure to do his best to correct whatever it is that is plaguing the patient.
He has earned the trust of many local men and women through his commitment to patient centered care. We hope to meet you for a consultation soon at one of our Detroit area offices. To schedule your appointment call us at (734) 419-1615.