Gynecomastia

Male breast reduction

Gynecomastia is the condition of enlarged, over-developed breasts in males often caused by disease, hormonal imbalances or the use of specific drugs. While gynecomastia and low testosterone have been linked in some cases, there are no definite underlying causes of gynecomastia.

Cost of Gynecomastia Surgery

Gynecomastia is rarely covered by insurance policies, so if you wish to undergo surgery you'll have to pay out of your own pocket. Costs for male breast reduction may include surgeons, hospital and anesthesia fees along with prescriptions, medical tests and even post-surgery garments. The average cost of gynecomastia surgery ranges from $4,500 to $10,000.

Patient Evaluation

The ideal candidate for gynecomastia is at least 18 years of age and has a strong psychological desire to have breast surgery to improve their physical appearance. Attempts to determine the cause of the gynecomastia should precede any gynecomastia surgery, so as to rule out any non-surgical arrangements. The patient is required to quit smoking at least two weeks before surgery and for up to four weeks afterward.

The Gynecomastia Procedure

The process used to successfully reduce male breast will depend on two factors:

  • The amount of fat tissue in the breast
  • The amount of glandular tissue in the breast

Gynecomastia that is solely caused by excessive fat tissue may only require liposuction. The best type of liposuction for your specific case will be recommended by your surgeon. Excision is generally used to address male breasts consisting of more glandular tissue. Incisions are made to remove the tissue and reshape or reposition the nipple to a male contour. Liposuction and excision may be combined if there are substantial amounts of both fat and glandular tissue.

Risks of Gynecomastia Surgery

As with other types of cosmetic surgery, gynecomastia surgery carries with it some risks, including:

  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Anesthesia complications

Other possible side effects specific to this surgery may also include breast asymmetry, permanent skin discoloration, bruising, fat necrosis and temporary or permanent nerve damage in the breast or nipple. If liposuction is involved, additional risks like excessive fluid accumulation or loss, uneven contours, rippling or loose skin may result.

Recovering from the Operation

You can expect to be away from work for anywhere from 7 to 10 days after the operation. Avoid any form of rigorous activity for as many as six weeks immediately following surgery; during this time wearing a compression garment like a gynecomastia bra or vest is recommended. Complete gynecomastia recovery varies from patient to patient and may take up to six months to fully heal. Additionally, scars may exist for up to a full year after surgery. Following your surgeon's post-op guidelines is the best way to ensure a smooth recovery.

Alternative Procedures

Many cases of gynecomastia are due to obesity, which can be treated with exercise and dieting to burn off excess fat. Other instances of gynecomastia may be triggered by the usage of certain prescription drugs; reversing the symptoms in this case may be as simple as changing medications.

Wearing a compression or support garment is another non-surgical way of living with larger male breasts. Be wary of any pills advertised to cure gynecomastia – many of these companies profit off the embarrassment that men feel about their enlarged chests and may not perform as advertised. Talk to your doctor first and save your money. If none these methods produce the desired results, surgery is the only option.