Understanding Gynecomastia



Understanding Gynecomastia

The word gynecomastia literally means "woman's breast," which is fine if you're a woman but less than ideal if you're a man.

It turns out that gynecomastia, the swelling of breast tissue in boys or men due to an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone, is a common complaint among American men, with an estimated 40% of the male population dealing with some degree of the condition. Generally, it starts during puberty and usually persists to some degree or another through adulthood. Although, in some cases it does go away by adulthood.

For some men, it can cause significant anxiety in social situations. Opting to not change in the locker room, skipping a chance to swim or relax on the beach shirtless, or wearing two to three shirts to make the gynecomastia less pronounced are all common ways to deal with the discomfort.

The good news is men dealing with gynecomastia no longer have to live with it. Surgery is a safe and effective option for restoring a firmer and more masculine appearance to the chest. A complimentary consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Tyler Stall, can help decide if surgery is the right option.

The surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia or with IV sedation and local anesthesia. In minor to moderate cases of gynecomastia, when only excess fat is involved, Dr. Stall will use liposuction to remove the excess fat and flatten the chest. In this type of case, small incisions will be made in the armpit and a small tube called a cannula will be used to remove fatty deposits and sculpt a more masculine chest contour.

If you have an excess of glandular tissue rather than just fat, liposuction alone will not give you the best result. Since glandular tissue is more dense and fibrous than fat, it will need to be removed surgically. In this case, an additional incision will be made either in the armpit or around the lower edge of the areola and Dr. Stall will remove the excess glandular tissue and reposition the nipple to ensure symmetry and a more masculine appearance.

Patients are sent home in a compression vest or chest wrapping to wear for a week or two after surgery to help reduce swelling and ensure the desired result. Sutures are generally removed 7 to 10 days after surgery during a follow-up visit. Most patients can expect to be back to work in approximately 8 days and to see final results in about a month.

Deciding if gynecomastia surgery is right for you and the specific risks involved can best be determined after a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally, while major complications are unusual. If you're interested in more information on gynecomastia surgery or would like to know if you are a good candidate for the procedure, please schedule a free consultation with Dr. Stall by calling our office at 804-282-4940.


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