A man with a strong and flat chest is conventionally attractive and handsome. Gynecomastia is a medical condition where a man’s chest develops excess breast tissue causing it to resemble a woman’s breasts. Gynecomastia is also referred to as “man-boobs,” and it can cause the sufferer to feel ashamed and lose his self-confidence. A man may become scared of exposing his chest, going shirtless in swimming pools or playing contact sports. Gynecomastia surgery, also known as male breast reduction surgery, is performed by a plastic surgeon to remove excess fat and breast tissue from the patient’s chest, restoring confidence in the process.
What Is Gynecomastia?
The term gynecomastia basically means a female like breast in a man. Both men and women have breast glands. As children, they have similar growth in earlier childhood. It is at the time of puberty the specific hormones take over and influence the further development and growth of the breasts. Estrogen the female hormone and testosterone the male hormone are primarily responsible for the development of the breast to their final shape.
When there is a hormonal imbalance between these two hormones and the female hormone is produced in a larger proportion it can lead to gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is generally painless and feels like a rubbery mass below the surface of the nipple. This issue can be observed either unilaterally or bilaterally. Although gynecomastia is painless, sometimes tenderness or sensitivity can be observed in the affected region.
What Are the Causes of Gynecomastia?
Majority of the patients with gynecomastia are idiopathic (meaning the cause is unknown). These fall into the category of benign disease. Obesity is another cause of gynecomastia. Since obesity causes excess accumulation of fat on the chest wall in men.
There are endocrine causes of gynecomastia like testicular tumors or pituitary tumors and rarely adrenal tumors. The proportion of pathologic gynecomastia is less than 3%. It can be seen in older men and with men having prostate cancers. It could be the result of certain medications or obesity.
Will Gynecomastia Go away with Exercise?
In case of a condition known as pseudogynecomastia, excess fat builds up in the man’s chest due to obesity issues. In this case, exercise can help in reduction of overall weight and pseudogynecomastia.
However, in the case of true gynecomastia, surgery is the safe and effective choice for lasting relief from man-boobs. Gynecomastia surgery removes not only excess fat but also excess breast tissue which only exercise cannot achieve.
How Is Gynecomastia Classified?
Gynecomastia is classified in four grades depending upon the volume of the breast tissue and the skin elasticity:
- Grade 1 gynecomastia generally is breast enlargement without skin excess.
- Grade 2 has moderate breast enlargement without skin excess.
- Grade 3 generally has moderate breast enlargement with excess skin.
- Grade 4 has marked breast enlargement with skin excess.
It is necessary to have a consultation with the doctor to understand the grade and then decide a course of treatment. Gynecomastia surgery is generally delayed until the onset of puberty. The hormonal changes and the way they affect the fat distribution at the puberty needs to be watched. A nice male physique may emerge without any surgery.
What to Expect before Gynecomastia Surgery?
The preparation for this surgery is extremely ordinary and simple. All you have to do is get some routine blood tests done to assess your fitness for anesthesia and surgery. You are also asked for any impending allergies that you suffer from. This information helps to have a smooth surgical procedure.
The doctor may also ask you to cut down some of your regular medicines in the days leading up to the surgery. You will have to give up smoking as part of the preparation for the surgery.
How Is Gynecomastia Surgery Performed?
Gynecomastia Surgery can be done both by traditional methods followed years ago and now by VASER liposuction. Gynecomastia surgery generally is performed using either general or local anesthesia depending upon the situation. Also, intravenous sedation is preferred.
- Gynecomastia surgery is an outpatient procedure that takes about 2-3 hours on an average. The patient need not stay overnight at the hospital. He can return home the same day.
- The plastic surgeon will create a tiny 4 MM incision around the nipple-areolar complex of the patient.
- In case the surgeon encounters a large gland then another incision is done at the nipple too. But this is a decision made by the Surgeon depending on the case.
- Through the incision, a tube is inserted into the chest and precise Vaser liposuction is performed. The liposuction removes all excess fat and glandular tissue.
- The process is repeated for the other side of the chest too (if necessary).
- The real skill of the surgeon lies in maintaining the symmetry of the chest and not removing too much of the tissue. If too much tissue is removed then the chest may have a visible depression and asymmetry. Only treating the breast area gives rise to a depression on the chest and a saucer-shaped deformity.
- The incision is closed with sutures. Only one or two stitches are required. And the chest is bandaged completely after the surgery.
Gynecomastia surgery not only eliminates the problem of gynecomastia but also gives the chest a nice flat look which increases the confidence of the patient.
What’s Recovery Like?
After the surgery, you will have a fairly tight bulky dressing on the chest for two days. You will be advised to rest at home and avoid vigorous movements of the arms. There may be some soreness at the surgical site. The pain is well managed with medication.
Your dressing will be changed in two days. The bulky pads will come off. The stitch will be covered by waterproof tape. You will be allowed to wash and shower. A tight pressure garment will be recommended for you to wear all the time. Your next visit will be one week after surgery. The stitch will come off. You need to continue wearing the pressure garment for at least three months. The success of your surgery depends on your compliance and cooperation.
The area will take several weeks to finally become soft and supple. You are recommended to do a gentle massage of the area in two days time.
Dr. Shrirang Pandit is the founder of the Pandit Clinic. He has an experience of 30+ years in plastic surgery. He is a renowned name in the industry and pioneer of aesthetic lasers in India. Dr. Shrirang Pandit has performed numerous surgeries on children with facial clefts, managed patients with burn injuries and also has a large experience with lasers on Asian Indian skin. He has attended various laser workshops and courses as faculty and is keen on educating the next generations. He is a life member of all the top plastic surgery associations like Association of Plastic Surgeons in India, Association of Surgeons of India, Indian Association of Cosmetic Laser Surgeons, to name a few.