Gynecomastia is the medical term for female breast enlargement in men. Although it's extremely common (it may effect as many as 50% of men), it can be the source of embarassment for many guys. Some men may be reticent in social situations and may feel uncomfortable in certain clothing. If this sounds familiar, what do you need to know?
Treatment can depend on how old you are.
It is very common for teenage boys going through puberty to develop breast enlargement. This may resolve with time, but may be a source of embarassment for young men going through their critical teenage years. Therefore, plastic surgeons often address the issue, even for boys as young as 13.
Will it get better if I lose weight?
Every breast (be it on a man or woman) is made up of some percentage fat and some percentage glandular tissue. If you think your breasts are too large, and think you may be overweight in general, then losing weight can help you lose that part of your breast that is made up of fat. Unfortunately, the portion of the breast that is glandular will not go away simply with weight loss.
OK, so how do I know if my breast is made up of fat or gland?
Well, this takes a little bit of judgement, but you can examine yourself at home. Try pressing against your chest wall and rub in a circular motion. Fat will feel soft whereas glandular tissue feels hard and rubbery. It's common to have a "disc" shaped collection of glandular tissue right under the nipple, surrounded by fat.
How is gynecomastia treated?
The majority of patients are treated with liposuction. For some patients, the glandular tissue is too hard to be removed via liposuction. For these patients, an incision is made under the areola and the glandular tissue removed.
My areolae seem too large. How is this treated?
By reducing the amount of breast tissue, the skin typically shrinks back and the areola become smaller automatically.
My breasts seem to droop. How is this treated?
For some patients, especially true for patients who have had massive weight loss, there is sagging, excess skin. Skin excision is typically kept to around the areola, thereby limiting the extent of the resultant scarring. For the most severe cases of skin excess, an incision under the inframammary fold may be necessary but great care is taken to camouflage the scar to the fold where your pectoralis muscle meets the chest wall.
What is the recovery like?
Patients should not lift anything heavy or strain themselves for two weeks after surgery. A tight garment is worn for 4 weeks postoperatively to encourage skin retraction.
I'm a really busy guy. How can I get evaluated without having to come into the office?
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