Gynecomastia, or female-like breasts, is more common than men think and occurs in males from infancy to advanced adulthood. The condition is problematic for teens and young men because it creates a displeasing body image.
There is no identifiably specific cause of gynecomastia though the condition has been attributed to hormonal imbalance, anti-androgen medications (medications that prevent or inhibit male hormone usage by the body), excessive drinking and even marijuana use.
In some cases, gynecomastia is the result of excess fatty tissue due to obesity. Before you pursue male breast reduction surgery, you should eliminate any of the potential factors.
Gynecomastia takes two forms: true gynecomastia and psuedogynecomastia (also called lipomastia). True gynecomastia indicates excessive breast tissue. It is generally firm tissue, but it can sometimes harden.
Psuedogyneocomastia indicates excessive fatty tissue. It is generally attributed to obesity and a regimen of improved diet and exercise is suggested before male surgery is considered. The procedure can be difficult in larger patients because removal of larger amounts of tissue result in larger scarring and the need to remove excess skin.
The ideal candidate for male breast reduction will usually be at or near his appropriate weight and have a small amount of tissue to be removed. Younger patients typically have better results because the skin and body are better able to recover from the procedure. With large amounts of tissue to be removed, larger incisions are necessary. Larger incisions mean larger, more visible scars.
Both the true and pseudo forms of this condition can appear unilaterally (in one breast) or bilaterally (in both breasts). In either case, the incision is placed near your areola making the scar less noticeable. Liposuction is sometimes employed if the surgeon feels that the procedure will improve the aesthetic appearance of your breast reduction. It is important to keep in mind that the male breast reduction surgery is to improve your chest profile beneath a shirt. The surgery does not promise or imply that your chest will be without scars or that you will be comfortable removing your shirt in public.
When considering this surgery, you should keep your goals realistic relative to your situation.
Caring for your body after the breast reduction procedure is necessary to complete healing of the skin. After the surgery, you will need to wear a surgical vest for three weeks. Of course, you should avoid strenuous activity until your cosmetic surgeon instructs you to return to your normal routine.
You should be able to return to a light exercise regime in two weeks. Full activity, such as weight training, will be discouraged until at least six weeks after the procedure, giving your skin time to heal itself. Ignoring instructions after surgery increases your chances of complications.
Because male breast reduction is a procedure to remove excess tissue, the long term risks are not as many as with enlargement surgeries. Naturally, there may be pain in and around the incision site and a risk of infection of the incision, but if you follow the instructions your cosmetic surgeon gives you, those risks should be limited.
As a patient, you should always remember that male breast reduction surgery corrects a cosmetic abnormality. The surgery does not correct the underlying problem causing gynecomastia. It is always a good idea to discuss your individual situation with a plastic surgeon before making a final decision about your condition.