Breast Reduction for Men

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Dr. Elizabeth Harris on the San Antonio Living Show with Shelly Miles talking about Male Breast Reduction.

As many as 65% of boys going through puberty experience breast enlargement due to the hormonal fluctuations in that age group.

Gynecomastia is seen in men who have hormonal changes, deficiencies or are taking medications that cause this condition as a side effect.

Gynecomasia is also seen as a familial trait and is also commonly noted in overweight patients.

Patients with this condition should be evaluated for causative factors which include a thorough study of their current prescriptive medications, weight fluctuations, hormonal imbalances and possible testicular tumors. The possibility of a breast tumor may need to be ruled out with a mammogram.

Most patients that are seen by a plastic surgeon request treatment because of psychological reasons. Men requesting breast reduction are often embarrassed by their inability to camouflage their breasts and are reluctant to wear bathing suits without shirts. Many men with enlarged breasts are often self conscious about their appearance and frequently limit their participation in sports.

The surgical treatment goals for gynecomastia include restoration of a more aesthetic contour of the breast while minimizing scarring. Normally, I see patients that have both enlarged breast tissue and increased fatty tissue in the chest and breast. A combination of direct surgical excision of the excess breast tissue with liposuction contours the breast for a more natural male breast contour.

If physical examination reveals that the majority of the breast fullness is due to adipose, or fatty tissue, and the skin elasticity is adequate, then liposuction alone may be appropriate. Some patients who have undergone massive weight loss with compromise of the skin elasticity will require more aggressive tightening of the skin with direct surgical excision.

After the initial evaluation in the office, blood tests may be ordered to determine if a patient has hormonal imbalances. Depending on the physical examination and blood tests findings, a urologist may be consulted for further examination. Preoperative discussions which include a description of the risks, benefits and alternatives of gynecomastia reduction are an essential part of the preparation for the procedure. If a patient decides to undergo the procedure, he is given a detailed information packet and prescriptions to fill for his after care. Prior to surgery, the patient meets with the anesthesiologist . Dr. Harris then diagrams the intended reduction on the patient’s chest.

The procedures are always performed in an operating room with general anesthesia preformed by a board certified anesthesiologist. After surgery, the patient is wrapped with a compressive dressing and drains are frequently used. Patients should take a minimum of 10 days off from their usual activities and some patients may need more time off if the breast reduction procedure is more complex. Patients are told to limit exercise and heavy lifting usually for 6 weeks. Postoperatively, the initial bruising and swelling last for several weeks. It will take 6 months for complete resolution of swelling and a full year for complete healing.

Determination of the patient’s candidacy for this procedure requires a thorough consultation by a board certified plastic surgeon.

To learn more about Male Breast Reduction, please contact the Center for Cosmetic Surgery today.