Tighten and Tone Your Chest
Gynecomastia refers to a male’s excess breast tissue and currently affects 40-60% of all men. Men who suffer from gynecomastia are often self-conscious about the appearance of their chest and may not be able to improve their condition with diet and exercise alone.
True gynecomastia can be seen in men whose breast tissue enlarges. Pseudo-gynecomastia occurs more often and is distinguished as the fatty male breast. While this develops during puberty, most men grow out of this by their twenties, but some still deal with this issue well into adulthood and throughout the aging process.
Gynecomastia is not commonly talked about, so men are often unaware of treatment options and instead try to hide or cover up their condition. While diet and exercise will help to achieve a healthier and well-balanced overall physique, gynecomastia cannot be corrected by a healthy lifestyle alone and often requires surgery.
What is gynecomastia?
True gynecomastia is triggered by a decrease in the amount of the hormone testosterone compared with estrogen. This causes an increase in the amount of breast gland tissue in both teenage boys and men. Gynecomastia can affect one or both breasts and it can affect them unevenly.
This breast enlargement isn’t a serious health issue, but it can be embarrassing for a man. It can make a man avoid scenarios where he would be required to take his shirt off, a water-skiing invitation over to Lake Saint Louis, for instance.
Gynecomastia can go away on its own, and it typically does in adolescents at the conclusion of puberty. This can also happen with adults if the changes in the aging have created variations in testosterone levels. But in adults, the condition is often combined with some fatty tissue and glandular enlargement, so it may not fully resolve.
What causes gynecomastia?
What’s behind adult gynecomastia is somewhat of an unknown. This is apropos, as the available common knowledge in the public is abysmal, as well.
The condition is common in pubescent boys. It is estimated that up to 70 percent of boys have gynecomastia to some degree. In pubescent boys, the cause is the changing levels of estrogen and testosterone. Teenage gynecomastia usually resolves as hormone levels stabilize.
With adults, causation isn’t clear-cut. Middle-aged and older men also are experiencing shifts in hormone levels, and that could be triggering gynecomastia. Certain medications can also cause gynecomastia:
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- AIDS treatment drugs
- Heartburn treatment drugs
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Marijuana use
- Heroin use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Herbal products with tree oil and lavender oil (each contain natural estrogen)
Who would be a good candidate for male breast reduction?
During your consultation with Dr. Boschert, Dr. Craig, or Dr. Mills, the first thing we need to do is to decide if surgery is the right choice for your enlarged breasts. To decide that, we first need to rule some things out. If a man’s enlarged breasts are due to weight gain, the first step is to lose the weight and see if the condition persists. Heavy drinkers and marijuana users also aren’t candidates for surgery, as their breast enlargement comes from their lifestyle choices.
Your Renaissance Plastic Surgery surgeon will examine your chest to diagnose if true gynecomastia is to blame. He will feel for a firm, rubbery mass underneath the nipple area. The size of this mass is usually less than two inches in diameter. It will often be sensitive to applied pressure. Before opting for surgery, we will likely begin treatment by prescribing medication that reduces the amount of estrogen the patient’s body is producing. It is important that the patient still has good elasticity in his chest skin so that it can tighten down over his slimmer contour after surgery.
What are the benefits of having male breast reduction surgery?
What’s the benefit of being able to take your shirt off and not wonder if people are snickering about your “man boobs?” What’s the benefit of accepting those offers for pool parties or simply being comfortable taking your shirt off when mowing the lawn on a hot Missouri summer day? Truth is — when a man has enlarged breasts it’s something that can make him very self-conscious about being seen without a shirt.
Unfortunately, misperception and misunderstanding surround the issue of enlarged male breasts, and this keeps many men from looking into the problem. Correcting it with the team at Renaissance Plastic Surgery is not difficult, and it can really give your self-confidence a boost.
Male Breast Reduction Options in St. Louis
During your consultation, our surgeons will speak with you and analyze your condition to determine what is causing your gynecomastia. It is important that you are currently at a stable weight and living a healthy lifestyle, as the appearance of male breasts can also be associated with being overweight.
At Renaissance, our surgeons will generally remove fat from your breast tissue using liposuction; however, in certain situations, liposuction may not be enough. Our surgeons may need to excise the excess tissue, surgically removing it through an incision made around part or all of the areola. If you have a glandular disorder, Dr. Boschert, Dr. Craig or Dr. Mills may recommend other alternatives to help you achieve the taut and masculine physique you desire.
What is the procedure for male breast reduction?
If surgery proves necessary, your Renaissance Plastic Surgery surgeon will discuss the procedure in detail with you. To avoid obvious scarring, we usually will make incisions either in the armpits or around the areolae. We will then remove the glandular tissue, along with excess skin and fat. Liposuction may be included if you have an abundance of fat in the breasts in addition to the glandular tissue. The procedure usually lasts around one hour.
How will recovery be after male breast reduction surgery?
Surgery to correct gynecomastia does not involve a difficult recovery. There will be some swelling and discomfort that may last up to two weeks (and can linger longer at times), but it will begin to resolve relatively quickly. You will need to wear a compression shirt or vest to reduce swelling and to help your chest conform to its new contour.
You should be able to resume most of your normal activities within one week after surgery, but any exercise, such as weightlifting, that directly involves the chest will need to wait for up to six weeks. Your Renaissance surgeon will discuss this with you during your follow-up appointments.
How soon after breast reduction surgery can I get back to normal activities?
It is unfortunate that more men who suffer from enlarged breasts don’t have surgery to correct the problem. After the first week or two at most, patients can return to light exercise, such as walking. Strenuous exercise needs to wait for a month or so. But you’ll quickly be able to return to work and regular activities.
Is male breast reduction permanent?
Recurrence of gynecomastia is very rare after excision surgery. True gynecomastia, versus enlarged breasts due to weight gain, is caused mainly by excess glandular tissue. This causes the protrusion of the nipple-areola complex. In male breast reduction surgery, we remove the majority of the mammary gland, leaving enough to support the nipple-areola. With this tissue gone, the chances of recurrence are very low.
However, if the gynecomastia was due to the use of steroids, marijuana, or other medications, it is possible for a patient’s breasts to become enlarged again if usage is continued.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you're interested in learning more about male breast reduction please contact us for a consultation at 636-535-2933 or fill out our contact us form. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.