It’s a frustrating condition that sometimes results in teasing and embarrassment. Gynecomastia, or the swelling of breast tissue in males, is surprisingly common in teens and adults. For many men, this anxiety-inducing condition is enough to keep them on the sidelines during shirtless activities. Trips to the beach may be avoided as well as certain athletic activities. But male breast reduction, which can be performed in the private surgical suite at Murphy Plastic Surgery in Englewood, CO, can effectively resolve the condition and give you new confidence about your appearance.
What Is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a condition in which one or both of a male’s breasts become enlarged. It may occur as a result of a hormonal imbalance. In some cases, gynecomastia can be tied to the use of certain medications, to obesity, or to conditions like hyperthyroidism. In most cases, however, gynecomastia is not linked to an underlying medical condition. There are times in a man’s life when gynecomastia may be especially likely to occur. Males who are going through the hormonal fluctuations associated with puberty and men who are above the age of 50 regularly experience this condition.
Men with gynecomastia may occasionally experience breast tenderness or sensitivity, and the extra breast tissue can sometimes lead to irritation and chafing. But the primary complaint gynecomastia patients have is that they feel self-conscious and embarrassed about their large breasts. Many patients are young men who feel uncomfortable engaging in sports and other activities because of their enlarged breasts. Gynecomastia usually appears in both breasts, but on occasion, it will appear in just one of a man’s breasts. Whether it’s in one or both breasts, gynecomastia is a condition many men struggle with.
How Is It treated?
In some cases, particularly those that occur in young men going through puberty, gynecomastia will resolve itself naturally over the course of a few months. In some other mild cases, diet and exercise can diminish the swelling. Medication can be used to treat gynecomastia, particularly in its early stages. But male breast reduction is one of the most effective options, and particularly for patients who have not seen any improvement after dieting and exercising.
Can Gynecomastia Be Prevented?
There are no explicit steps a male can take to avoid gynecomastia. However, avoiding steroid use, illegal drug use, and refraining from excessive alcohol consumption are all wise steps to take if you’re trying to avoid this condition.
Will It Increase My Risk of Getting Breast Cancer?
Gynecomastia may increase your risk of getting breast cancer very slightly. However, the overall risk of breast cancer in males is extremely small. And it’s important to remember that gynecomastia, by definition, involves excessive noncancerous breast tissue.
What Does Male Breast Reduction Involve?
Male breast reduction is an outpatient treatment that is performed with sedation and local anesthesia. In cases where the enlarged breast is due primarily to extra fat, liposuction is used as the primary treatment mechanism.
Coolsculpting, a body contouring treatment that breaks down fat by freezing it, can also be effective on enlarged breasts that are comprised almost entirely of fat. But in most cases, the enlarged breast contains both fat and other tissues, and treatment relies on the excision of all extra tissue through a small incision on either side of the chest as well as light sculpting of the area with liposuction.
How Long Does the Treatment Take?
This type of breast reduction often takes one to two hours, depending on the amount of tissue and fat that needs to be removed as well as the specific technique involved. Patients then spend about an hour recovering in our office before heading home.
What Should I Do to Prepare for This Treatment?
You’ll be asked to refrain from smoking for a period of time before your treatment. We’ll also ask you to stop taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs, because they can encourage bleeding. We’ll provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare for this treatment once we have held an initial consultation with you.
What Is the Recovery Like?
The downtime associated with this treatment is usually fairly minimal. Most patients resume their normal activities and return to work within a few days, and strenuous exercise can be resumed in several weeks. If liposuction was incorporated into your treatment, you may be asked to wear a compression garment under your regular clothing for a period of time. The compression garment, which is often used after liposuction, will help your skin conform to the chest’s new shape. For the first couple of days of your recovery, you also may be prescribed a medication to keep you comfortable and speed the healing.
When Should I Consider This Type of Breast Reduction Treatment?
Because gynecomastia is usually not linked to a serious underlying medical condition, the decision to embark on male breast reduction usually has to do primarily with a patient’s dissatisfaction with the look of his chest. If you are troubled by large breasts to the point that you are hiding your body and resisting activities that involve going shirtless, it may be time to consider this treatment. Additionally, there are several other factors that will help determine if you are a good candidate for this type of reduction.
You’re in Fairly Good Health
The best candidates are in relatively good physical health and don’t smoke or drink excessively. Ideal candidates are also mature and emotionally healthy enough to handle the changes to the body that any cosmetic treatment involves.
Your Skin Is Elastic
Men who still have a lot of elasticity in their skin tend to fair well with this treatment because their skin is easily able to contract and adapt to the new, flattened contours of the chest.
You’re Capable of Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Because fat is often a component in enlarged breasts, the best way to preserve your results after treatment is to maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
What Advantages Does Male Breast Reduction Offer?
Our patients have found that there are a number of advantages associated with this treatment.
One of the biggest benefits associated with breast reduction is improved confidence. After undergoing this treatment, many of our patients feel comfortable in their own skin for the first time in years. They no longer shy away from locker rooms, pool parties, and summer sports. Many of them say they wonder why they waited so long to seek this treatment. Once you’ve had a male breast reduction, going shirtless is no longer something you have to stress about. You may find yourself taking on a more active lifestyle, and you’ll feel more comfortable in social settings.
During your initial consultation, we’ll review your medical history and talk with you about your cosmetic goals. As part of that process, we’ll also talk with you about how much of a breast reduction your desire as well as how much of a reduction is realistic. Your personalized treatment will reflect your preferences as well as your individual physique and medical history. Patients are generally highly satisfied with the outcome.
Fast, Permanent Results
You’ll notice a difference in the size and shape of your chest immediately after your treatment. Best of all, those results are permanent. As long as you maintain a healthy weight and don’t abuse steroids or drugs, you’ll have a flat chest for years to come.
Discreet, Convenient Treatment
Another reason our patients love breast reduction is that it’s a fairly convenient treatment with a swift recovery and minimal downtime. Because this is an outpatient procedure, you won’t have to worry about a hospital stay, although it’s a good idea to arrange for someone to drive you home. And because we understand how sensitive some patients are about their gynecomastia, our practice is also committed to treating you discreetly. All treatments take place in our private office suite, and Dr. Murphy can offer you a private consultation, with no nurses present, if you wish.
How Does Breast Reduction for Males Differ From Breast Reduction for Females?
Male and female breast reduction treatments have different goals. For women, the goal is usually to reduce breast size by a cup or two, which alleviates back pain and other physical discomfort associated with an extremely large bosom. For men, the goal is usually to remove breast volume entirely to create a flat chest. Because of those differences, the surgical incisions and techniques may be different.
Who Will Oversee My Treatment?
Your treatment will be overseen by Dr. Terrency Murphy, a triple-board certified physician. A native of Canada, Dr. Murphy completed his medical training and general surgery at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He did his plastic surgery residency in Boston at The Lahey Clinic. He has been practicing plastic surgery in the Denver, CO area since 1994. Dr. Murphy is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He is a member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and a fellow of The American College of Surgeons.
How Do I Get Started?
If you’re interested in learning more about this treatment, and if you want to find out if you’re a good candidate, the first step is to schedule a consultation. Dr. Murphy will talk with you during the consultation about your medical history, the medications you are taking, and the surgeries you’ve had previously. He’ll also talk with you about your cosmetic goals and your lifestyle, and he’ll work with you to decide if this type of reduction is right for you. The next step after the consultation will be to schedule your treatment.
Why Is Breast Reduction Treatment Growing in Popularity?
Nearly half of all men will experience gynecomastia at some point during their lifetime. And over the last 10 years, a growing number of men have turned to breast reduction as a solution. There are several reasons why this treatment is experiencing an increase in popularity. One is that men, like women, are increasingly willing to turn to cosmetic treatments to improve and control their appearance. The treatment has also developed to the point where it involves minimal downtime yet offers noticeable results, which also makes it appealing.
If you’re tired of hiding behind baggy t-shirts and feeling self-conscious about your body, it may be time to explore breast reduction. Our practice can work with you to achieve the flat chest you’ve long wanted. Call Murphy Plastic Surgery in Englewood, CO and schedule a male breast reduction consultation.