Gynecomastia is swelling of the breast tissue in boys or men, sometimes caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. Gynecomastia can affect one or both breasts, sometimes unevenly. Newborn babies, boys going through puberty, and older men may develop gynecomastia as a result of normal changes in hormone levels, though other causes also exist. It is rarely a medical concern, but men and boys with gynecomastia sometimes have pain in their breasts and may feel embarrassed, not wanting to take their shirt off in front of others. Gynecomastia may go away on its own, but if it doesn’t, surgery can help.
As with many procedures, it’s important to be overall healthy and at a healthy weight. If your gynecomastia is related to being overweight, we may ask you to work on some weight loss before surgery. If you take any medications that may cause gynecomastia, you may want to see if there is an alternative. These medications may include antiestrogens that are used to treat prostate problems, anabolic steroids, some anti-depressants, and anti-psychotics. In addition, certain street drugs such as marijuana are known to contribute to male breast development. In many cases, we don’t know the real cause of the gynecomastia, so there may not be a way to treat it medically. In that case, you may want to consider surgery if it doesn’t resolve on its own.
If your breast development doesn’t go away on its own and you’re considering surgery, you can feel confident that Dr. MacLennan has treated many boys and men with great results over the years. The surgery is done under general anesthesia, but you can normally go home the same day. The procedure usually involves a combination of liposuction and direct removal of the thicker tissue under the nipple. In most cases, the small scars can be hidden around the edge of the nipple and are barely noticeable with time. Occasionally, if you’ve had a large amount of weight loss and have a lot of extra skin, we may need to discuss a different incision pattern.
Gynecomastia surgery is well-tolerated but does require a few weeks of taking it easy before getting back to normal activity. Most men will wear a compression vest for 4 weeks after surgery to help manage swelling and help the skin retract.
Gynecomastia surgery can be life-changing for men who have previously been reluctant to take their shirt off, at the gym, at the beach, or with a partner. Give Mountain Lake Plastic Surgery a call at (802) 231-4284 to learn more.