An increased or enlarged amount of breast tissue in men, known as male gynecomastia, though very common – affecting nearly 60% of males at some point throughout their lives – can be a source of both physical and psychological discomfort for men. It usually appears during puberty as a result of hormonal imbalances and disappears by the age of 20, but can also be induced by some medications or a side effect of certain diseases. There are varying degrees of severity, sometimes even within the same patient, as this condition can occur in one or both breasts, and the adverse effects in even mild to moderate cases are notable. It may affect your self esteem or self worth, the way you perceive your masculinity, and leave you feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed in intimate or social situations that require you to be bare-chested. If it doesn’t resolve on its own, and it becomes clear that diet and exercise, or just living a healthy and active lifestyle is not producing the masculine, flat chest you desire, it’s important to know that there is a solution. In these cases, surgical correction through male chest reduction surgery is an option to consider. Fortunately, relief can be found with one of the male breast reduction procedures offered by Dr. Barrett at Barrett Plastic Surgery. These treatments may remove a patient’s excess skin, fat and glandular tissue, leaving behind a flatter, firmer and more contoured chest.
FROM DR. BARRETT
“This procedure really hits home for me because as a youth I experienced gynecomastia. I definitely understand the impact this can have on a man’s self esteem and body image. Men aren’t supposed to have enlarged breasts! It takes a lot for men to even seek out help for this condition because they may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. It’s important for men experiencing gynecomastia to know its a common condition and that there is a solution. The solution depends on each individual patient. I like to avoid scars on a man’s chest when possible because of its high visibility. Oftentimes liposuction is all that is needed but if an excision of tissue is required, this can be done with a very small incision.”
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is characterized by swollen or enlarged breasts in men. The severity of this condition varies, with some gynecomastia cases becoming very pronounced and even resembling female breasts and it can occur in just one breast or both at the same time. Some men also experience tenderness of the breasts with the enlargement, and aside from occurring during puberty, it also frequently occurs in men between the ages of 50 and 69, according to Mayo Clinic.
While gynecomastia doesn’t typically indicate a severe medical issue, some of the diseases that lead to the condition can be concerning, so it’s always best to have an assessment by a physician to determine the cause and propose treatment when appropriate. Some of these diseases or causes might include:
- Hypogonadism, which is a severe reduction or absence of testosterone
- Hyperthyroidism caused by overproduction of the hormone thyroxine
- Some tumors, including those involving the pituitary or adrenal glands or the testes
- Cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure or treatments related to these conditions
Starvation or malnutrition that can cause testosterone levels to drop
What is Male Breast Reduction?
If an underlying cause can’t be identified and addressed, and the problem doesn’t resolve on its own over time, male breast reduction may be necessary to reverse the condition and restore the male profile. Dr. Barrett offers different techniques for this treatment in order to tailor the procedure to the needs of each patient. The right treatment for you will depend on how much correction you need and whether there is skin laxity to address along with the removal of breast tissue. With his wealth of experience and expertise in this area, Dr. Barrett will be able to advise you on how to proceed with your male breast reduction after an in-person examination and discussion of your concerns and cosmetic goals.
Is Male Breast Reduction Right for You?
In many cases, you can self-identify as ideal breast reduction candidates if you suffer from one or a combination of the following symptoms:
- Abnormally or disproportionately large breasts
- Puffy nipples
- Hormonal imbalances, including low testosterone or high estrogen levels
- Obesity that is accompanied by loose skin and significant fat deposits
- Considerable elastic or loose chest skin despite persistent diet and exercise
Additionally, if you’ve tried other methods to address your gynecomastia, like weight loss or a change of medications, and aren’t seeing results, surgery may be the only solution to correct this condition.
Your Choice of Plastic Surgeon
Seeking male breast reduction isn’t easy for most men. That’s why it’s vital that you select a board certified plastic surgeon that not only understands the psychological impact of the condition, but also has the experience and expertise to produce the best outcome for you. Dr. Barrett, having had gynecomastia himself, brings a unique understanding and unrivaled perspective, and has worked with numerous men struggling with this condition. He’ll give you the attention and judgement-free compassion necessary for you to be comfortable with the idea of moving forward with surgical treatment. He’ll also take the necessary time to understand your concerns and help you develop the treatment program to meet your goals and expectations.
Benefits of Male Breast Reduction
When you undergo male breast reduction, the benefits are both physical and psychological:
- More attractive and masculine upper body profile
- Better fit to clothing
- Renewed self-confidence, increased self-esteem
- Willingness to participate in more activities
- Greater confidence during intimacy with a partner
Improved comfort with some physical activity and exercise
Choices in Male Breast Reduction
Dr. Barrett performs male breast reduction through two different methods:
When the breast enlargement is not severe and the skin has retained much of its firmness and elasticity, liposuction may be sufficient in producing the desired results. Dr. Barrett uses the revolutionary S.A.F.E. liposuction technique for this purpose, which consists of three basic steps:
- Separating the fat cells from the other breast tissue for easier removal
- Aspirating or removing the fat cells from the body
- Leaving a thin layer of fat underneath the dermis (fat equalization) to create a smoother, more natural result
Liposuction is less invasive than traditional breast reduction surgery and involves smaller incisions that minimize post-procedural scarring. For the right patient, this process can offer excellent sculpting results with less discomfort and downtime overall.
SURGICAL BREAST REDUCTION
A small incision may be needed if liposuction does not remove all of the glandular tissue. Dr. Barrett will likely recommend traditional surgical breast reduction if there is more glandular tissue that is combined with a significant amount of loose skin. This procedure excises excess skin and removes the extra glandular tissue to produce a smoother contour. While the surgery requires more anesthesia and a longer recovery process than liposuction, the results can be dramatic and last a lifetime.
Scarless Male Breast Reduction
As a plastic surgeon with a personal history of gynecomastia, Dr. Barrett has always been passionate about providing exceptional results for men with this condition. Over the course of his career, he has developed a proprietary approach that dramatically reduces the visible scarring often associated with male breast reduction. Dr. Barrett’s scarless technique is the first of its kind and remains unparalleled among minimal-scar male breast reduction procedures.
His approach utilizes a revolutionary combination of liposuction and minimally invasive endoscopy to gently break down and remove fat and glandular tissue. The tools used for the liposuction and endoscopy portions of the procedure are similar in shape and size and are inserted into the chest area through the same tiny incision. Then, once the tissues are removed, Dr. Barrett uses a cautery coagulation technique that tightens the skin and underlying tissues for a smooth, flat result. The coagulation also causes the small incision to contract, close and heal without the need for sutures, thereby eliminating visible scarring.
Scarless male breast reduction with Dr. Barrett provides a completely natural-looking result as the chest area displays no visible signs of surgical alteration once healed. The small, carefully placed incision also improves the recovery process and reduces the chance of complications like infection, dehiscence or suture separation. Recovery typically requires about three days of downtime, two weeks for swelling resolution and six months for skin and tissues to settle completely.
Preparing for Your Procedure
No matter which procedure you undergo, there are things Dr. Barrett may recommend you do to prepare and ensure your surgery is both safe and successful. Some of these might include:
- Quitting smoking at least six weeks before your procedure to prevent complications related to nicotine
- Stopping any medications that could affect your surgical outcome, such as blood thinners and aspirin
- A review of any supplements you might be taking, such as vitamin E and St. John’s Wort, since these can contribute to bleeding during and after surgery
- Taking enough time off work to give your body ample time to heal and recuperate after your procedure
- Lining up someone to drive you home since you will be given anesthesia for your surgery
If there are other instructions specific to your situation, Dr. Barrett will let you know at one of your appointments before your surgery. In addition, you are always welcome to call our office with any questions you might have as your procedure day draws near.
The day of your procedure will look a bit different, depending on the specific surgery that will be performed. If you have liposuction, you will be given local anesthesia or twilight sedation. Tiny incisions are made to allow for the insertion of a cannula into the fat deposit in the breast. A vibrating tip on the end of the cannula gently loosens the fat cells for easier elimination. Attached suction then takes the cells out of the body. The incisions are often too small for sutures and are merely taped closed to allow for quicker healing.
Patients that are undergoing surgical breast reduction will likely undergo their procedure under general anesthesia. Incisions are carefully made in the natural folds of the skin to minimize visible scarring. Through the incisions, Dr. Barrett removes excess fat and glandular tissue to create a naturally flat chest contour. Excess skin is also eliminated for a smoother, firmer result. In some cases, liposuction may be added to this process to enhance the sculpted effect further. Dr. Barrett uses a layered approach when he sutures the incisions closed to reduce tension on the area and ensure better healing of the incision overall.
After Your Male Breast Reduction
Recovery from male breast reduction also varies depending on the procedure performed. Those who have liposuction usually resume their activities within three to four days. Strenuous exercise, especially heavy lifting, should be avoided for at least two weeks to give the breasts ample time to heal. A compression garment is typically recommended.
Surgical breast reduction requires a bit longer recovery time. While the occurrence of side effects varies between individuals, common ones include tenderness, temporary numbness, swelling caused by inflammation and possible bruising around the chest region. Dr. Barrett meets with all his patients once a week for six weeks to monitor their recovery. During the first two appointments, the layers of stitches are removed and replaced with tapes. After the taping period is over, he will prescribe a patented silicone scar gel to apply twice daily for three months to continue the healing process. Dr. Barrett will also provide specific instructions on how to best care for yourself during the recovery process, which will be tailored to your particular procedure.
New Body, New Confidence
Male breast reduction can have a profound impact on a man’s appearance, self-esteem and quality of life. The results can be dramatic and typically last a lifetime. If you want to find out more about your options for male breast reduction, contact Barrett Plastic Surgery today at 310-598-2648.
The information about male breast reduction was reviewed by Dr. Daniel Barrett. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using our contact form below.