While gynecomastia is a relatively common condition that has no medical urgency, visible male breasts can often cause insecurity and/or a negative self-image for men in San Antonio and around the world. In most cases, the excess breast tissue leading to the appearance of overdeveloped breasts is not something that can be corrected with dieting or exercise alone. Dr. John Ayala is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has helped countless men get rid of redundant breast tissue to restore the flat contours of their chest. If you would like to improve your gynecomastia, Dr. Ayala can evaluate your concerns and develop a customized treatment plan to attain the masculine look you desire.
- What is Gynecomastia?
- Gynecomastia Causes
- Male Breast Reduction Procedure
- Male Breast Reduction Recovery
- Male Breast Reduction Results
- Male Breast Reduction Cost
- Non-Surgical Male Breast Reduction
- Male Breast Reduction Risks
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia refers to the overdevelopment of male breasts due to localized fat and/or glandular tissue in the chest. Sagging skin may also contribute to the appearance of enlarged breasts in men, with the condition typically presenting in either one or both sides of the chest. While gynecomastia can develop at any age, many men find that any excessive breast tissue present often resolves throughout puberty. However, individuals who have gynecomastia that does not self-correct can face a number of psychological and emotional difficulties, such as embarrassment, low self-esteem, and avoidance of any activities that may expose their condition. Gynecomastia may also cause physical symptoms like tenderness, sensitivity, swelling, and general discomfort around the nipples and breast tissue.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
The exact cause of gynecomastia is unknown, but there are many factors that may contribute to the development of enlarged breasts in men, including:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Weight gain
- Steroid use
- Certain medications
- Consumption of drugs and alcohol
Fortunately, gynecomastia can be addressed with a cosmetic surgery known as male breast reduction. This procedure can restore a more masculine aesthetic by extracting redundant tissue, repositioning and resizing the areolas (if necessary), and flattening the chest contours.
How is Gynecomastia Surgery Performed?
Male breast reduction typically involves minimal downtime and less noticeable scarring when compared to other surgical procedures, often allowing your results to appear as natural as possible. This outpatient procedure is commonly performed using two techniques, depending on the anatomical factors contributing to your gynecomastia:
Fat Removal with Liposuction
For some patients, enlarged male breasts are solely due to isolated fatty deposits in the chest. If excess fat is the primary reason for your gynecomastia, liposuction may be enough to level out the planes of the chest. During liposuction, a narrow cannula is inserted through a small incision to extract localized fat and flatten the chest. This technique is most successful when patients have good skin tone and elasticity. If you exhibit loose or stretched skin, Dr. Ayala may recommend combining liposuction with the removal of skin and glandular tissue.
Surgical Extraction of Glandular Breast Tissue
Most cases of gynecomastia are caused by a combination of both fatty and glandular tissue. While fat is capable of being reshaped non-surgically, excess glandular tissue is usually resistant to dieting and exercise. During male breast reduction, Dr. Ayala can remove fibrous breast tissue through a small, inconspicuous incision placed under the nipple. It is not uncommon to perform both liposuction and glandular tissue extraction during male breast reduction to achieve an optimal result.
What is Recovery From Male Breast Reduction Like?
The recovery period after gynecomastia surgery is usually described as minimal and well-tolerated. If your treatment plan only included liposuction, the healing process is often relatively shorter than procedures in which glandular tissue was removed. Most patients are able to return to non-strenuous work and normal activities within 7 to 10 days. Intense physical exercise should generally be avoided for at least four to six weeks. Swelling and minor bruising after surgery are normal reactions that should subside naturally as your body heals.
How Long Do Results From Male Breast Reduction Last?
The outcome of male breast reduction should be a flatter, firmer, and more level contour in the chest, generally allowing male patients to feel more comfortable and confident in shirtless situations. The psychological benefits of male breast reduction can also be significant and most (if not all) men who previously struggled with gynecomastia experience improved self-esteem along with a more positive body image.
While the fat, glandular tissue, and/or excess skin that typically contribute to gynecomastia are removed forever, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle after surgery in order to maximize your results. Weight gain, use of steroids, and taking certain medications may cause the breasts to enlarge again, possibly resulting in recurrent gynecomastia. For this reason, Dr. Ayala recommends living an active lifestyle and avoiding supplements or medications that may influence testosterone levels. During your post-operative appointments, he can further advise you on how to maintain your new chest contours for the long-term future.
How Much Does Gynecomastia Surgery Cost?
Based on statistics provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the average surgeon’s fee for male breast reduction is approximately $4,000. It’s important to note that this fee varies according to your geographic location and the quality of your surgeon. Furthermore, the price does not include the cost of anesthesia, the operating facility, or other associated expenses.
Our patient care coordinator will be able to provide you with a personalized cost estimate after Dr. Ayala evaluates your needs and the complexity of your procedure. While insurance typically doesn’t cover gynecomastia surgery, our practice accepts plastic surgery financing from CareCredit® for qualified patients who would like to pay for male breast reduction in a series of smaller, more manageable installments. If you have any questions, please call our office to speak to a member of our team about your payment options.
Can I Undergo Gynecomastia Treatment Without Surgery?
It’s true that dieting and exercise may be able to marginally reduce enlarged breasts in men who are overweight; however, male breast reduction surgery remains the most effective and reliable way to correct gynecomastia. This is due to the nature of gynecomastia, which often presents in lean patients as well as individuals who have a larger body type. The condition typically consists of excess glandular tissue in conjunction with isolated fat, limiting the extent to which non-surgical fat reduction treatments can reduce the chest mass. Unfortunately, losing weight and minimally invasive fat reduction techniques will never be able to affect glandular breast tissue. Furthermore, male patients who have puffy or sensitive nipples in addition to enlarged breasts will not be able to improve their symptoms without surgery.
In most cases, the surgical skill and aesthetic eye of a qualified plastic surgeon is necessary to produce an outcome that looks natural, proportional, and masculine. While cosmetic surgeries such as male breast reduction always come with a risk of complications, adverse outcomes are extremely rare and the results of surgery can be very rewarding.
What are the Risks of Male Breast Reduction?
The male breast reduction procedure is relatively straightforward, but there are still risks associated with surgery. Minor side effects experienced after male breast reduction include swelling, redness, tenderness, and bruising — these reactions should subside naturally with the healing process. More serious complications are very rare, but may include:
- Poor reactions to the anesthesia
- Permanent loss of sensation in the region
- Skin or pigment discoloration
- Contour irregularities
- Nerve or tissue damage
Severe complications generally do not occur unless a patient is not a good candidate for surgery, or they’re under the care of an unqualified plastic surgeon. That said, the importance of selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your male breast reduction cannot be overstated. This credential signifies that a plastic surgeon has completed extensive post-graduate training in aesthetic procedures and has been vetted by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). By choosing a surgeon who has obtained board certification, patients can feel confident knowing that the risk of complications during their procedure is incredibly low.
Dr. John Ayala can create a custom treatment plan to reduce overdeveloped breast tissue and help you achieve a more masculine appearance. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, please contact Ayala Plastic Surgery today.