Gynecomastia, a condition causing enlargement of the male chest, is a common reason for adolescent and adult males to pursue plastic surgery. The enlargement can be fatty and soft or glandular and firm, and can lead to embarrassment and a reluctance to go shirtless. Even a tight shirt can be problematic as disguising gynecomastia is not easy. Men with more severe gynecomastia often layer their clothing to hide their problem, even during the hot summer months. Fortunately, Joseph A. Mele, MD, FACS, a board-certified plastic surgeon in the Walnut Creek and San Francisco area, can help you gain a more masculine chest appearance and, in turn, achieve greater self-confidence.
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia literally means “breast of a woman.” The definition emphasizes the enlargement of the breast tissue that occurs in men with gynecomastia. Since this tissue sits on top of the chest muscles, the resultant shape is not that of a masculine chest. Masculine chest contours are the result of enlargement of the chest muscles, not the breast tissue. When the breast tissue develops, the appearance is that of a puffy nipple or lower chest fullness more like a woman than a man.
Gynecomastia (Male Breast Reduction) Videos
True Gynecomastia vs. Pseudogynecomastia
True gynecomastia is excess fullness of the chest due to breast tissue, while pseudogynecomastia is excess fullness of the chest due to fat. Chest fullness is often a combination of breast tissue and fat, so it is necessary to treat both types of tissue in most cases. True gynecomastia does not resolve with weight loss, and in fact, may become more obvious as the fat surrounding the true gynecomastia is lost.
Am I a Candidate for Gynecomastia Treatment?
You may be an ideal candidate for male breast reduction to treat gynecomastia if you:
- Have already tried to lose the excess fat and tissue through diet and exercise
- Are uncomfortable with the appearance of your chest and feel that your breasts are too large
- Have realistic expectations
- Are physically and psychologically healthy
- Have stabilized breast development
To learn how you can achieve a firmer, more masculine-looking physique, meet with Dr. Mele for an initial consultation. There are multiple ways to treat gynecomastia. During your visit, he will discuss your options regarding this procedure.
When visiting with Dr. Mele, you will be thoroughly examined in order to determine if this procedure is the most beneficial solution to your condition. During the consultation, Dr. Mele will discuss your available options. You can inform Dr. Mele of your desired results, and have a personalized treatment plan implemented to maximize both the predictability and safety of your goals. In addition, the risks, side effects, and how to prepare for the procedure will be covered. This may include refraining from alcohol intake and smoking for a period of weeks both before and after your Gynecomastia Reduction Surgery.
Be sure to inform Dr. Mele of any medical conditions you may have, as well as medications, vitamins, and/or supplements you are taking. It is important to follow all pre- and post-op instructions in order to ensure a successful outcome. You may choose to obtain all necessary medications and supplies for your recovery prior to surgery, in order to reduce stress post-surgery. Strenuous exercise to the chest muscles is limited for six weeks after surgery, but light exercise can resume within the week. Dr. Mele will check your progress periodically, which will allow you to resume your normal routine as soon as possible without jeopardizing your results.
How Is the Gynecomastia Reduction Procedure Performed?
Typically, gynecomastia is a simple condition to treat with a short, outpatient surgical procedure. Dr. Mele surgically removes excess fat and tissue from the chest in two ways: direct excision or liposuction. The method for gynecomastia reduction that Dr. Mele chooses greatly depends on the nature and extent of your gynecomastia. Depending on the nature of the tissue involved, gynecomastia can be reduced with liposuction when soft, or with a scalpel when dense and firm.
Glandular gynecomastia is caused by the development of breast tissue, and may not be related to weight gain. Even active men who eat well and exercise regularly may not be able to eliminate these glandular deposits. With male breast reduction surgery for glandular (“true”) gynecomastia, Dr. Mele utilizes discreet incisions made in the underarm, under the chest, or around the areolae. Dr. Mele then surgically removes excess fat and glandular tissue from the chest to achieve a firmer, more masculine-looking physique.
Alternatively, some patients may equally benefit from liposuction alone to treat gynecomastia. Using a long, thin metal rod called a cannula, Dr. Mele gently vacuums excess fat from the chest through small incisions in order to produce a more masculine contour. Scarring is minimal and often the small incisions fade to faint scars with time. Gynecomastia treatment using only liposuction techniques may be appropriate in cases of “pseudogynecomastia,” which is a type of the condition that is primarily caused by excess fat deposits in the breasts, rather than glandular tissue.
Regardless of the specific technique necessary, gynecomastia reduction is typically performed on an outpatient basis and does not require an overnight hospital stay.
What Is Recovery from Gynecomastia Reduction Like?
After your procedure, a compression garment will need to be worn for approximately two weeks in order to help the skin adapt to its new shape. Some swelling and bruising may be present but should subside within the following weeks. It is important for patients to limit physical activities for the first three days post-surgery, with limited moderate activities during the first two to three weeks. Strenuous activities should be avoided for about four weeks. This helps avoid injury and allows the treated areas to heal properly, with a reduced risk of infections and other complications.
So long as patients continue a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, diet, and limited use of alcohol and smoking, results can be long-lasting. Weight fluctuations, hormone imbalances, and drug/alcohol use may induce a recurrence of gynecomastia. Should this happen, a second procedure may be necessary.
To see some of Dr. Mele’s patient transformations, please view before-and-after gynecomastia photos.
How Noticeable Are the Scars from Gynecomastia Treatment?
Incision location is the key to the least noticeable scars. The majority of gynecomastia cases are treated with a combination of liposuction and direct excision of the hypertrophied breast tissue. The incisions used for liposuction are normally just a few millimeters in length and can be hidden in the armpit. Direct excision of the firm glandular tissue that remains beneath the nipple is excised directly via incisions placed around the lower circumference of the pigmented areolar skin. By avoiding injury to the skin edges and carefully aligning the skin margins, the appearance of the scar can be minimized.
Scar treatments after surgery can also improve the final result. Dr. Mele will monitor your healing after surgery and provide specific guidance during your recovery to optimize your results, including the appearance of your gynecomastia scars.
When the areolae are too large they can also be reduced during gynecomastia reduction surgery. Since large areolae can be unflattering on the male chest, areola reduction surgery can ultimately help men feel less self-conscious about this common concern. When areola enlargement is concomitant with large breasts, gynecomastia reduction alone may provide some benefit. If the areola has been overstretched by breast enlargement, or was too large to begin with, areola reduction can contribute to an overall better result.
Even without gynecomastia, when large areolae are an inherited trait, a fairly simple procedure removes the superficial coloring around the outer ring of the areolae to decrease its size. Areola reduction surgery is often performed with local anesthesia during a short procedure.
To find out more about areola reduction, which can be performed in conjunction with or without male breast reduction surgery, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Mele today.
How Much Does Gynecomastia Treatment Cost?
Typically, gynecomastia surgery is an outpatient procedure that allows you to go home the same day. The price of gynecomastia treatment does range, depending on several variables:
- Do both sides need reduction?
- Can the tissue be removed solely with liposuction?
- How much tissue needs to be removed?
- Where is the excess tissue located?
- Is the skin tight?
In general, the cost for gynecomastia reduction is proportional to the work required to achieve a great result. The cost for surgeries requiring less removal with tight skin are in the middle of the price range. For patients who have lost a lot of weight and have redundant skin with droopy nipples, the procedure becomes more complex and labor intensive, which takes longer and costs more. For the latest price range, give us a call at (925) 943-6353. The best way to determine the cost of your procedure is with an in-person consultation. Financing is also available.
Schedule a Gynecomastia Consultation Today
Dr. Mele is a board-certified plastic surgeon, certified by both the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and the American Board of Surgery (ABS). He is extensively experienced with gynecomastia reduction surgery and will be happy to meet with you in a confidential consultation to discuss your concerns and goals. To schedule a consultation with our Walnut Creek and San Francisco Bay Area gynecomastia professional, please call (925) 943-6353 or fill out our contact form.