What Is Gynecomastia?
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Gynecomastia is characterized by the development of enlarged or swollen male breasts. This common condition can afflict men of varying age, and most adolescent cases resolve spontaneously with time. Although the exact cause of gynecomastia remains unknown, certain drug side effects are known to contribute to male breast enlargement. Gynecomastia has also been linked to hormonal imbalances (particularly during puberty), marijuana use, steroid use, obesity, and genetics.
Symptoms of Gynecomastia
Excess glandular breast tissue is the primary symptom of gynecomastia, though often there is an accumulation of extra fatty tissue as well. In some cases, the appearance of enlarged male breasts is due entirely to excess fatty tissue (sometimes referred to as pseudo-gynecomastia). Extra skin may also develop as a result of stretched tissue or sagging breasts. Gynecomastia typically involves both breasts; however, some patients may have one breast that is noticeably larger than the other. Enlarged breasts may feel tender or even painful at times.
What Is Male Breast Reduction?
Once longstanding, most males seek treatment for gynecomastia to avoid embarrassment and restore normal male chest contours. Offered by our Chicago plastic surgeons—Dr. Brian Braithwaite and Dr. Lorri Cobbins—male breast reduction is an operation performed to treat gynecomastia via the surgical removal of excess glandular and/or fat tissue in the breasts. Surgical results are excellent in the hands of a properly trained plastic surgeon who has considerable experience in male breast reduction, such as our doctors. Once excess glandular breast tissue and fatty tissue are removed, patients can enjoy a more masculine-appearing chest and feel more confident in their appearance—particularly when wearing tight-fitting clothing or not wearing a shirt at all.
What Can Male Breast Reduction Do?
Every male breast reduction is customized to meet the unique needs of the individual patient. Benefits of this procedure may include:
- Removal of extra glandular breast tissue
- Reduction of excess fatty tissue buildup
- Elimination of loose or sagging skin
- Repositioning and/or resizing of the areolas
Many patients experience a number of psychological benefits from male breast reduction, as well. Males with gynecomastia often feel self-conscious about the appearance of their chest and may avoid social settings such as gyms, beaches, or swimming pools. By treating gynecomastia, men can feel more confident in these (and other) situations.
Determining Candidacy for Male Breast Reduction
To determine if you are a good candidate for male breast reduction surgery, Dr. Braithwaite or Dr. Cobbins will review your health history and perform an examination during your consultation. They will also take preoperative photos at the time of your visit. During the consultation, your doctor will take time to understand your goals and desires as well as review available techniques for treatment. Candidates for male breast reduction may be in their teenage years or fully grown adults.
The Male Breast Reduction Procedure
Both Dr. Braithwaite and Dr. Cobbins have extensive experience with male breast reduction surgery. To achieve the best results, our doctors usually combine liposuction with excisional techniques. Depending on the characteristics of the breast tissue, it may be excised through a small semicircular incision around the areola, after which liposuction is performed to sculpt and contour the surrounding soft tissue. The best results in gynecomastia surgery stem from proper liposuction contouring and expert breast tissue excision. Male breast reduction surgery can be performed as an outpatient procedure under general or local anesthesia, and the procedure typically takes one to two hours to complete.
Recovery from Male Breast Reduction
Patients can expect mild swelling and bruising in the days following their procedure. Any discomfort can be managed with oral pain medication, and most men may drive and return to work once they discontinue narcotic pain medicine. We instruct all gynecomastia patients to wear compression vests and to avoid strenuous upper body activity for several weeks. The results of male breast reduction can usually be noticed immediately and will continue to improve as the healing process progresses and residual swelling resolves.
Male Breast Reduction Cost
The average cost of male breast reduction is about $3,600*. Since each procedure is custom-tailored to meet the unique needs of the patient, however, the price of treatment can vary widely. Factors that influence the final cost of gynecomastia surgery include:
- Type of tissue removed
- Volume of tissue removed
- Complexity of the procedure
- Hospital and anesthesiologist fees
- Postoperative medications
- Skill and experience of the plastic surgeon
- Geographic location of the practice
Our plastic surgeons at The Aesthetic Institute of Chicago want gynecomastia treatment to be available to all patients in need. In addition to accepting several different methods of payment, we offer financing options for qualifying patients that can allow individuals to break up their total expense into monthly installments with low interest rates. For more information about these financing options, a knowledgeable member of our staff would be happy to assist you.
*This average male breast reduction cost is based on 2017 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). An in-person consultation with Dr. Cobbins or Dr. Braithwaite is necessary to determine exact pricing for each patient.
If you would like to schedule a consultation for male breast reduction at our Chicago plastic surgery practice, please contact us via email or call (312) 361-8108 today!