Gynecomastia (Male Breast Reduction)
Gynecomastia is the term given for excessive breast development in men. An estimated 30 to 40 percent of all men have varying degrees of excessive breast development. Breast tissue generally develops as a response to circulating hormones, especially estrogen. The balance of estrogen and testosterone will help determine whether breast development will occur.
Men and women both have circulating testosterone and estrogen—just at different ratios. Males, like females, have “buds” from which the breasts develop. While females have high levels of estrogen during adolescence, males generally exhibit low levels of estrogen and higher levels of testosterone, resulting in a relative lack of breast development. If males have low testosterone, or high estrogen, the breast “bud” can overdevelop.
When making a decision regarding treatment, the duration and severity of the breast development are important considerations.
Dr. Robert Colgrove will complete a thorough workup prior to treatment to evaluate the patient, considering any medications or diseases that may be causing the problem. For most gynecomastia lasting longer than 1 to 2 years, the breast hypertrophy becomes permanent.
The procedure will be done at Vinings Surgery Center on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia and will take up to an hour and a half. During the surgery, Dr. Colgrove will remove fat and glandular tissue from the breasts. In extreme cases, he will remove excess skin. The result will be a chest that is flatter, firmer and better contoured.
Risks and Recovery
There are risks with all surgeries. However, complications from this procedure are infrequent and usually minor. These include infection, bleeding, adverse reaction to anesthesia, and excessive fluid accumulation. The procedure also may result in noticeable scars, permanent pigment changes in the breast area, or slightly mismatched breasts or nipples. If asymmetry is significant, a second procedure may be performed to remove additional tissue. The temporary effects of breast reduction include loss of breast sensation or numbness, which may last up to a year.
Following surgery, you should be up and walking and able to drive in a day or two and back to work within the week. You may be advised to avoid sexual activity for a week or two, and heavy exercise for about three weeks. You’ll be told to stay away from any sport or job that risks a blow to the chest area for at least four weeks. In general, it will take about a month before you’re back to all normal activities.