Gynecomastia refers to excessive breast development in men. More specifically, it refers to benign growth of the breast glandular tissue in a male. The growth of the glandular tissue causes the breast to enlarge. Around 4 percent of boys experience gynecomastia during puberty. However, the most common age for gynecomastia to occur is from age 50 to 85. Some estimates place the incidence of gynecomastia in older men as high as 70 percent. Causes of gynecomastia are diverse and include hormonal changes, hormone-secreting tumors, liver disease, obesity, and a variety of medications.
Although gynecomastia is a benign process that poses no threat to a man’s health, it can be a very distressing condition. The first step in treatment is to clarify that the condition is actually gynecomastia and isn’t just fat deposits that will respond to a weight-loss regimen. Male breast cancer also has to be ruled out. If an obvious cause can be identified, such as a medication or an underlying health condition, treatment revolves around eliminating the underlying cause. In some cases, testosterone replacement therapy may improve the condition. Gynecomastia in pubertal boys generally resolves on its own.
Male breast reduction surgery is often necessary to treat adult-onset cases of gynecomastia. Even in cases where the underlying cause is identified and treated, the enlarged tissue may remain. There are two primary approaches to male breast reduction: liposuction and subcutaneous mastectomy. In subcutaneous mastectomy, a small incision is made either near the nipple or in the armpit. The enlarged glandular tissues are resected and removed through the incision. In cases with a large amount of fatty tissue, liposuction may be preferable, performed through a small incision made just under the nipple. In severe cases, excess breast skin may also need to be trimmed away. Sometimes the area around the nipple (the areola) requires cosmetic surgery to return it to a more normal male appearance.
After male breast reduction surgery, a small tube may be left in place for a few days to allow fluids to drain out of the surgical site. A compression garment or bandages will be applied across the chest for the first few days, and there will be some swelling and bruising. The swelling and discoloration should diminish after four days and completely vanish after two to three weeks.
Generally, the patient should rest for the first three days after male breast reduction surgery. Exercise should be limited for the first two weeks, after which walking and jogging are permissible. Active, intensive use of the shoulders and arms should be avoided for four to five weeks. Some patients will experience a temporary loss of sensation in the nipple following breast reduction surgery, which usually returns within a year of the procedure. There should be no visible scarring.
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If you’re suffering from gynecomastia, Dr. Kenneth Sumida can help determine if male breast reduction surgery is right for you. At Nuance Cosmetic Surgery in Folsom, we work with each patient individually to determine the safest and most effective treatment for his needs. Contact Nuance Cosmetic Surgery today to schedule your consultation.