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Gynecomastia

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Gynecomastia is a condition of over-developed 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)

Gynecomastia surgery reduces breast size, 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.

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Gynecomastia surgery candidates
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
  • Non-smokers 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.

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
Gynecomastia surgery risks and safety
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:

  • Reactions to tape, suture materials, glues, topical preparations or injected agents
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Blood clots
  • Breast asymmetry
  • 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)
  • Infection
  • Persistent pain
  • Poor wound healing
  • Possibility of revisional surgery
  • Unfavorable scarring

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.

Preparing for gynecomastia surgery
In preparing for gynecomastia surgery, you may be asked to:
  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding