Male Breast Reduction (Gynecomastia)
What is Gynecomastia Surgery?
Aesthetic breast surgery and male breast reductions are a sub-specialization of Dr. Wanzel's. He completed additional training after his seven-year residency in aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery.
Gynecomastia, which is the overdevelopment of male breasts, affects an estimated 40 to 60 percent of men. Frequently, it begins during puberty but may occur at any time during adulthood. Men describe feeling self-conscious about their breast size and are uneasy about exposing their chest in public or wearing certain clothes. It is most often idiopathic (ie. no obvious cause), but can be the result of hormonal imbalances, obesity, certain drugs/medications, or hereditary. It most commonly affects both breasts, but can be unilateral (ie. only one side).
How is Male Breast Reduction Surgery Performed?
Male breast reduction is usually performed under general anesthesia, on an outpatient basis. It is most commonly performed using a combination of liposuction and excisional surgery.
The male (and female) breast is composed of both fat and gland. The fatty tissue is first removed with liposuction through a small 3 mm incision on the lateral chest. A long skinny cannula (a thin, hollow tube) is inserted through this small incision and then moved back and forth to loosen the excess fat, which is suctioned out using an attached vacuum. To remove the glandular tissue, a small incision is made (and hidden) along with the inferolateral areola. Sutures are used to close the incisions, which are then bandaged, and the area is typically covered by a compression garment.
What is the Recovery from Gynecomastia Surgery?
Following male breast reduction surgery, there is often some bruising, swelling, and mild discomfort. Discomfort usually dissipates after a few days and can be lessened with prescribed pain medication. To help reduce swelling, the compression garment is worn for about 4 weeks.
In general, moving around and walking is permitted and encouraged early on. Walks for exercise are possible at about the 2-week mark. Jogging and more vigorous exercise are allowed at about 4 weeks. At 6 weeks, there are essentially no restrictions. However, Dr. Wanzel will guide you through a customized recovery depending on your exact surgery and how the recovery process is progressing. typically return to work within a week.
Are There Risks to Male Breast Reduction Surgery?
Complications following a male breast reduction are thankfully quite rare. The most common complication (and happily it is exceedingly rare) in the first day or two is a hematoma (ie. a collection of unwanted excess blood). Other complications include, but are not limited to infections, a decreased sensation of the nipple and/or areola, asymmetries, and potential for unwanted excess wrinkled skin if the breast was quite large preoperatively. In these cases, a second potential surgery may be warranted to remove the excess skin, but at the expense of significant and obvious scars.