When weight reduction and lifestyle changes have failed to resolve the sudden appearance of male breasts, plastic surgery offers an effective solution. Here, experienced Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Marco Ellis describes the basics of gynecomastia surgery, and reviews the two main causes of this embarrassing condition.
Weight or Hormones
The cause of gynecomastia is typically an imbalance in natural hormones, the use of synthetic hormones or excessive weight gain. For men who were once obese and have lost substantial weight, the amount of excess skin remaining on the upper chest depends on whether a patient’s skin is flexible enough to shrink as fat volume is reduced. For men of normal weight who experience gynecomastia, hormonal changes are usually the cause of glandular enlargement.
Patients who have a very low BMI, including bodybuilders who have used steroids, may develop an enlarged breast profile when excess tissue develops behind the areola. This tissue often feels like a solid lump.
Each type of patient will require a different surgical solution, ranging from removal of glandular tissue through a small incision to removal of fat by liposuction to surgically cutting away excess skin.
Liposuction can completely resolve gynecomastia in many cases. It depends upon whether the excess volume in the breast area is caused by growth of fat or glandular tissue.
If you are overweight, there is a good chance that most of the breast volume is comprised of fat. Men who are thin or who have taken steroids usually need to undergo an excision procedure to restore a masculine profile. In some patients, using both liposuction and excision will be appropriate.
Male breast reduction surgery can take place under either local or general anesthesia and requires approximately an hour and a half. If liposuction is all that is necessary to treat your gynecomastia, Dr. Ellis will make two small incisions to insert the narrow tube that will suction out fat cells.
In cases where glandular tissue needs to be removed with an excision procedure, incisions will be necessary along the bottom of the areolas. All scars are carefully placed and will fade with time. In addition, men have the advantage of chest hair to camouflage any surgical marks.
Moderation is the key to successful gynecomastia surgery. Restoring a natural profile involves removing strategic amounts of fat and glandular tissue, rather than performing an extensive reduction that will create surface depressions or, in overweight patients, may make the chest seem unnaturally out of proportion with the abdomen.
To learn more about gynecomastia, schedule your personal consultation with experienced Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Marco Ellis today.