Gynecomastia is when the male breast is larger than usual, usually caused by an estrogen and testosterone hormone imbalance.
In puberty, some infants, boys, and older men may develop enlarged breasts as their hormone levels change. It’s not a severe condition, but it can make boys and men feel self-conscious.
Gynecomastia often goes away by itself, but if it doesn’t, you may want to consider male breast reduction surgery.
Some symptoms of the condition include:
- Pain, most often in adolescents
- Swollen breasts
- Tenderness in the breasts
- Nipples are sensitive when rubbing against clothes
Some of the hormone imbalance conditions that can cause gynecomastia are:
- Aging: Hormone levels can change in men as they age, especially those who are overweight.
- Hyperthyroidism: The thyroid gland makes too much thyroxine, which can increase the size of the breasts.
- Liver failure: Hormone levels can change when the patient has liver problems.
- Malnutrition: If the body is deprived of food, there is a drop in testosterone levels, and estrogen levels stay the same.
Below is more information about gynecomastia so you can decide if you want to consider this procedure. You also may want to think about other procedures, such as a tummy tuck or double chin removal.
Having more than one procedure at once is more cost-effective and allows you to have all of your recoveries completed at one time.
Gynecomastia Surgery Overview
The goal of the procedure is to restore the male breast to its normal contour. Your surgeon may use liposuction, excision, or a combination of these procedures. If you have extra glandular breast tissue, liposuction is ineffective, so it needs to be excised.
Surgeons most often use the intra-areolar incision, which goes along the bottom part of the areola; the length of the incision depends on your anatomy.
One of the most popular gynecomastia procedures today is the ‘pull through’ method. First, your surgeon makes a tiny incision at the edge of the areola. Then, after liposuction, the glandular tissue is pulled through the small incision.
This procedure is desirable because of the small incision that is almost invisible when it heals.
Another popular method to reduce the size of the male breasts is ultrasonic liposuction. This form of liposuction uses ultrasonic waves to break up the fat tissue for easier removal.
However, ultrasonic liposuction isn’t effective if you have glandular gynecomastia; this condition requires excision surgery for best results.
Can Gynecomastia Return?
Yes. Gynecomastia can return after you have male breast reduction surgery. But cases where the condition comes back are unusual. Most plastic surgeons agree that it doesn’t usually return, which is shown in research.
A study in the Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Journal in 2017 found that about 12% of men who had gynecomastia surgery had recurrence within a decade.
The most common reason that it returns is the surgeon didn’t remove all of the glandular tissue. This may be because the surgery was done by an inexperienced surgeon.
Another reason may be that the patient was treated for another condition called pseudogynecomastia. This means you have excess fatty tissue over the breast but not extra breast tissue.
Gynecomastia is usually treated by removing the extra glandular tissue, while pseudogynecomastia is treated by removing the excess fat with liposuction.
Clinical studies also suggest various factors can cause gynecomastia, such as using several drugs and medications.
Steroids, alcohol, and opioids are known to cause gynecomastia. If you continue to use these substances after surgery, you could have a recurrence.
Keep in mind that you will have some swelling and scarring during your recovery that can make you think you’re having a gynecomastia recurrence.
Swelling is substantial after this surgery, but it should recede after three or four weeks. However, some patients also report their chest starts to fill out after four or five weeks. This is often caused by scar tissue, but it won’t affect how your chest looks in the long term.
If you feel hard scar tissue in your chest after surgery, massaging it gently with your fingers can help.
However, if the hardness is only under the nipple and there’s swelling, you may have fluid buildup, also called a seroma. If you think this is happening, have it checked by your surgeon.
Fortunately, seromas can be drained with a needle at the doctor’s office.
Statistics indicate that up to 70% of men will have gynecomastia to some degree during their lives. This condition can be embarrassing, and many men may become depressed or anxious and suffer lowered self-esteem.
Most patients who have male breast reduction surgery are pleased with the results. So, talk to your plastic surgeon about gynecomastia today.
Request a Houston Gynecomastia Consultation
Interested in gynecomastia surgery in Houston? ? Please set up a consultation with Dr. Ashley Steinberg today. She’ll talk to you about the benefits and risks of gynecomastia and determine if you’re a good candidate. Dr. Steinberg specializes in Gynecomastia, breast augmentation, and breast lifts.
The Satisfaction Rate Among Patients And Surgeons After Perareolar Surgical Approach To Gynecomastia Along With Liposuction. (2016). Accessed at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5109391/
Gynecomastia Causes. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gynecomastia/symptoms-causes/syc-20351793
Enlarged Male Breast Tissue – Gynecomastia. (n.d.). Accessed at https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16227-enlarged-male-breast-tissue-gynecomastia
Gynecomastia Overview. (n.d.) Accessed at https://www.smartbeautyguide.com/procedures/for-men/gynecomastia/