Gynecomastia Surgery and You

Posted on January 29, 2016 by Cynthia M. Poulos, M.D.

Gynecomastia, or the excess fat and breast tissue growth on the male chest that sometimes occurs as a result of a number of different issues including certain diseases, substance abuse, or as a side effect of responsible drug use. Though the condition causes no physical harm to the human body, it commonly induces feelings of poor self-image, and appearance anxiety. These affect the overall quality of life of the sufferer. Fortunately, surgery can be performed to remove the unwanted  tissue.

Understanding Underlying Factors and Other Similar Conditions

Though gynecomastia surgery is available at my practice, we must first determine the reason enlargement of the breasts is occurring. Often unnatural growth of the male breast tissue can be a symptom of a more serious condition, instead of the effect of long-term use of a medication or drugs. It can occur because of hormone imbalances . Very frequently it can show up in the teen years and not regress with age.  Once we determine the cause of the excessive growth we can then determine the best course of treatment.

What the Procedure Entails

Once  a determination has been made that a procedure is the best option, I do recommend undergoing a minimally invasive operation. During this process, patients are screened for candidacy. Only after the patient understands the possible risk factors can we proceed.

Different types of gynecomastia call for different forms of surgery. For swelling caused by excess fatty tissue I use a cannula, a thin hollow tube, to work below the skin surface and remove excess fatty tissue with vacuum suction. This is known as liposuction, and only requires a few small incisions. In cases where swelling is the result of excess fat and solid breast tissue, excision may be necessary to remove the excess breast tissue. Sometimes both liposuction and excision need to be performed.  If there is a component of loose skin contributing to the appearance, the removal of extra skin may be needed as well. The patient will always be informed of the surgery I will be doing.

Safe and Healthy Recovery

After gynecomastia surgery, patients are expected to get plenty of rest. A special vest is used for 2 weeks after surgery to give support to the chest to minimize swelling and aid in the improved contouring of the chest. While some bruising and swelling of the area is normal, we follow our patients closely to make sure things are progressing well. Within the first week, I see all patients for  at least two follow-up appointments. It’s important to let us know how the body is healing so we can make adjustments in the recovery process. Many patients return to work in 5 to 7 days, and resume working out at 2 weeks.