It’s not just women who seek out ways to rebuild confidence with their bodies. Although most people, including our patients here at Dr. Fugo Plastic Surgery & Laser Skin Care Center think of breast surgery as purely a female endeavor, many men also consider procedures to treat Gynecomastia, or “enlarged male breasts.”
What Is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a common condition in which a male has excess breast tissue and/or fatty tissue of the chest. This seems to be largely genetic in nature, due to an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone, although many external factors can cause Gynecomastia as well. For those men affected, it can significantly lower self-esteem. “Men become very frustrated as they quickly realize that no matter the diet or exercise routine, their chest never really looks normal”.
Defined by the presence of excess tissue in the breast area, gynecomastia may be the result of excess fat, an enlargement of breast tissue itself, or both.
What Causes It and What Are the Symptoms?
Several factors may cause Gynecomastia, including medications like those used for stomach ulcers, anxiety, depression, heart problems, cancer, and HIV, and recreational drugs like marijuana, steroids, heroin, amphetamines, and methadone.
Some examples are:
- Spironolactone (a diuretic with anty-androgenic properties)
- Calcium channel blockers
- ACE inhibitor drugs for hypertension
- Antibiotics like isoniazid and ketoconazole
- Anti-ulcer medications like ranitidine (Zantac) and omeprazole (Prilosec)
- Drugs used to treat prostate cancer
Medical conditions also play a role in Gynecomastia, including:
- Malnutrition or recovery from malnutrition
- Diseases that affect male sex organs, like Klinefelter’s Syndrome (when a male is born with an extra X chromosome), reduced blood flow, infection, and trauma
- Liver or kidney disease
- Genetic conditions
Don’t Worry, Gynecomastia Is Not Cancer
Although many men might fear they have breast cancer, there are important distinctions that will help rule out any serious diseases. Cancer is usually confined to one side, is not necessarily centered around the nipple, feels hard or firm, and can cause nipple discharge and enlargement of the underarm lymph nodes.
Gynecomastia is typically asymmetrical in location regarding the nipples and may have a rubbery or firm feel. It usually occurs on both breasts but can sometimes be unilateral, and usually the enlargement is greater on one side than the other, even if both sides are involved.
How Does Male Breast Reduction Surgery Work?
During your consultation, Dr. Fugo will walk you through what to expect. Breast reduction surgery for men usually only involves liposuction, although a combination of excision and liposuction might be necessary depending on your condition. Only tiny incisions are required at the sites remote from the breasts, and the tissue is removed through a surgical vacuum. Once removed, it’s gone for good.
Discomfort is normal after the first few days of surgery. You can expect minor soreness. You’ll be able to return to work in several days, but you will be restricted from certain activities for approximately 21 days.