Gynecomastia (oversized male breasts) is a very common condition in men and can result in terrible embarrassment. Many men will try to hide it with thick shirts, avoid bare chest activities, and withdraw from public exposure. Gynecomastia is a medical term that comes from the Greek words for “women – like breasts.” It is quite common in men and may affect one or both breasts. Both men and women have breast tissue; however, it is usually not well-developed in men. Though certain drugs and medical problems have been linked with male breast over-development, there is no known cause in the vast majority of cases. The enlargement can be from excess glandular tissue or fat or both.
For men with gynecomastia who feel self-conscious about their appearance, breast-reduction surgery can help. The procedure removes fat and or glandular tissue from the breasts, and in extreme cases removes excess skin, resulting in a chest that is flatter, firmer, and better contoured.
In many cases, ultrasonic liposuction surgery alone can effectively correct these problem areas. Men retain their skin elasticity longer than women do, and the areas of fat beneath the skin tend to be firmer and more vascular. Because of these and other factors, ultrasonic liposuction is usually very effective.
Men who have some loose, hanging skin as well as areas of excess fat may opt for a traditional excision procedure (surgical skin removal) in addition to liposuction. An excision may also be performed on gynecomastia patients whose breast enlargement is made up of mostly glandular tissue, rather than fat.
Surgery to correct gynecomastia can be performed on healthy, emotionally-stable men of any age. The best candidates for surgery have firm, elastic skin that will reshape to the body’s new contours.
This surgery is not a way to lose weight, and surgery may be discouraged for obese men that have not first attempted weight loss. Drinking excess alcohol, smoking a significant amount of marijuana, or use of anabolic steroids can cause gynecomastia. Stopping these drugs may reverse the breast enlargement, and you may be able to avoid the surgery or at least require a smaller operation.
As with any surgery, there are risks. These include bleeding, pain, swelling, infection, skin injury, or adverse reaction to anesthesia. The procedure may also result in noticeable scars, permanent pigment changes in the breast area, temporary or permanent sensation loss to the nipple and chest, or slightly mismatched breasts or nipples. If asymmetry is significant, additional surgery may be required.