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When we think of cosmetic surgery, women come immediately to mind. There are, however, a number of men who are self-conscious about their appearance, and they too can be helped by plastic surgery. One example is men who are concerned that their breasts are too large. In the warm sunny climate of San Diego, these men can feel embarrassed when their chest is uncovered as is common when they want to sunbathe or swim. Having “breasts” often becomes a self-image issue and can affect a male’s self-confidence. Often, a male breast reduction can do much to make those feelings go away.
There are several cosmetic solutions for men with extra fat and tissue in their breast area. Treatment of this condition has changed a lot in the last several years. In the past, surgical removal of the excess tissue was the norm. Now, however, many men are treated with liposuction with excellent results, almost no scarring, and better post operative contours of the skin and chest wall. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) 40–60% of men are affected by some level of gynecomastia, which is a medical term that means “women-like breasts.” While this number is high, not all those men are so seriously affected as to need or want surgical correction. However, gynecomastia is a very real problem that affects both the young and old, so it is wonderful that there is a cosmetic surgical solution.
Liposuction for gynecomastia is a relatively simple. A very short (½ inch or less) incision is made under each breast or at the areola and excess breast tissue and fat is suctioned from under the skin. In more severe cases, surgical removal of the breast tissue may be required. This larger procedure requires an incision on the chest wall. Each type of surgery usually improves any asymmetry that might exist. Like women’s breasts, the size of each male breast might be slightly different in size and shape, and the surgeon will do his/her best to correct any differences.
The best candidate for this surgery is a healthy male who is near his ideal weight. While heavier men can benefit from this operation, this surgery is not for correction of obesity. As with all cosmetic procedures, you want to have realistic expectations about what each surgical procedure is designed to do. Men who have firmer, more elastic skin will enjoy the best result. Any male who is taking steroids is not a good candidate for this surgery.
Male breast reduction surgery is performed under general anesthesia in an operating room. During a typical procedure, incisions are made in areas where they can be best hidden—either along the edge of the areola or in the fold under the breast or in the axilla (underarm area). If a larger incision is used, it will usually be somewhere on the curve of the breast. As noted above, if the procedure is limited to liposuction, then the incision is usually located under the breast or at the areola.
When you have a cosmetic procedure performed under general anesthesia, it is important that you plan for recovery time and limit your activities. You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure. It is always recommended that you have someone with you the first 24 hours following any surgical procedure with anesthesia. There will be some discomfort after the surgery, so an oral pain medication will be prescribed.
You will usually resume normal daily activities within a week or two with either liposuction or male breast reduction. Aerobic activities should be delayed for 4 to 6 weeks, especially if you require a larger surgical procedure. Talk to your doctor about when you can resume any weight lifting activities. Avoid the sun on your scars for at least six month, as sunlight can permanently affect the skin’s pigmentation and cause it to darken. If exposure to the sun is unavoidable, be sure and use a strong sunblock.
As with all surgery, there are risks. General surgical risks include inflammation and infection, hematoma, scarring issues, swelling, bruising, and numbness. Risks specific to male breast reduction include seromas, loss of or reduced nipple sensation, and breast contour changes. Medical complications, although rare, include allergic reactions, pulmonary embolism, heart conditions, and hyperthermia.
Once you decide a male breast reduction is right for you, start by making an appointment with one or more of our board-certified plastic surgeons. While at your consultation, talk to him or her about your specific goals and expectations. By discussing your specific surgical expectations, the physician will be able to exam you and tell you what they think can be realistically achieved. The more you share in consultation with the surgeon, the more likely you are to be happy with your result.
At the time of the consultation, you want to view before-and-after pictures of real patients’ results. This will help you in assessing the experience and skills of the surgeon. In summary, here’s what to look for and what you’ll find at La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre:
With any cosmetic procedure, you want to be sure that the surgeon doing your surgery has experience and is a board certified plastic surgeon. At La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre you are assured that the plastic surgeons meet the following standards:
Besides these points, please refer to our article Ten Points To Ponder. When you shop for a male breast reduction or any other cosmetic procedure, you’ll want to know these ten important factors to consider. At La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre, we are committed to educating patients, so we hope this information is helpful to you. Continue to browse our website for more information or call us at 1-800-946-2816 to make an appointment with one of our board certified plastic surgeons. You can also use our online contact form.
The specific risks and the suitability of a male breast reduction for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation with a surgeon. All procedures have some degree of risk. The information provided here is not a substitute for a consultation.