What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is enlargement of the male breast. Men and boys experience gynecomastia (breast enlargement) at various ages. Pseudogynecomastia is breast enlargement due to fatty deposits. True gynecomastia involves enlargement of the breast gland itself. The combination of both is the most common presentation. Unless severe, mild gynecomastia in boys will resolve with weight loss and conclusion of puberty. True gynecomastia in boys and men require surgical correction. Both men and boys feel self conscious about the appearance of their enlarged breasts. This embarrassment may prevent them from participating in sports and other activities leading to further weight gain. A complete examination and evaluation of medications used is necessary as many can contribute to gynecomastia. Endocrine abnormalities as well as tumors can also cause gynecomastia. However, most gynecomastia is benign.
What is the surgical treatment?
A combination approach is the most common. Liposuction of the chest is performed followed by surgical excision of the breast tissue. Some patients have such extensive breast enlargement that skin excision may also be required. All attempts are made to keep the incisions inside the areola with very small incisions in the chest skin. When extensive skin tightening is required, incisions are kept in the natural chest creases.
What is the typical recovery?
The surgery takes about 3 hours. Mild discomfort is not uncommon. Small drains are commonly used where the breast tissue is removed. Patients are placed in a compression vest in order to keep pressure on the operated chest. This reduces the amount of bruising and swelling. It is also comfortable for the patient. The vest is worn for several weeks at which time the patient then converts to a compression undershirt. Results are evident immediately. It takes several months for the final result. Occasional touch-ups can be necessary.