male grabbing onto his breasts

While the word “gynecomastia” may not be familiar to most people, the condition it describes — excessive breast fat and/or glandular tissue in males — is extremely common. As a matter of fact, gynecomastia is estimated to affect at least half of all men at some point in their lives. While some men may be able to joke that they have bigger breasts than their wives, most men feel embarrassed and even emasculated by the condition. It should be noted that gynecomastia may manifest itself in one or both sides of the male chest. Fortunately, talented male breast reduction surgeons like Brian D. Cohen, MD can perform a simple surgical procedure to rectify the problem.

Imbalance in Sex Hormones Can Result in Gynecomastia

All humans, whatever their gender, have both testosterone (the male hormone) and estrogen (the female hormone) in their bodies. For various reasons, some known and some unknown, these hormones may become unbalanced. When this happens, secondary sex traits on individuals of any gender may be altered to a greater or lesser degree. For example, at menopause, when females lose estrogen and therefore have more testosterone, they often grow some facial hair. 

Similarly, when males have an increased level of estrogen, as they often do at birth due to the mother’s high level of estrogen during pregnancy, they may have abnormally large breasts. Enlarged breasts in newborn males typically return to normal within a few weeks. Gynecomastia may also occur during other periods when hormones are in flux, such as between the ages of 12 to 14, when boys are going through puberty, or in middle age, around 50, when male testosterone levels diminish. Between the ages of 50 and 80, 25 percent of males experience breast enlargement. 

Other Causes of Gynecomastia

Other causes of gynecomastia include:

  • Obesity
  • Lack of proper nutrition
  • Tumors in the adrenal glands or testicles
  • Liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypoandrogenism (lack of androgen –another “male hormone)
  • Hypogonadism (lack of testosterone due to glandular malfunction)
  • Kidney failure
  • Certain medications — anabolic steroids, calcium channel blockers, some anxiety drugs (such as Valium®), medications prescribed for enlarged prostate glands, for fertility problems, or for bacterial or fungal infections
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Street drugs like amphetamines, marijuana, heroin, methadone

Male breast reduction is categorized as cosmetic surgery, but, as noted, can improve the quality of life of a man with gynecomastia in a number of ways. When male patients come to Brian D. Cohen for this procedure, he will not only remove excess fat and glandular tissue from their breasts to provide them with a flatter, firmer appearance. Dr. Cohen’s surgery typically helps men feel better about their appearance which helps raise their self-esteem and confidence.

Ways of Performing Male Breast Reduction

Dr. Cohen may perform male breast reduction using liposuction, direct tissue excision, or through an approach that combines the two techniques. Which technique he uses depends on the amount and type of tissue he finds in your breasts, Liposuction is usually the best choice is most of the excessive tissue is fatty, since during liposuction excess fat is suctioned out through a small incision in the nipple of under the adjacent arm. 

On the other hand, if your breasts have too much glandular tissue, Dr. Cohen is more likely to make an additional incision or enlarge the liposuction incision in order to excise the excess tissue. During your presurgical consultation, Dr. Cohen will discuss the various procedures and clarify which option he thinks would be best in your case. Some aspects of the decision will depend on what kind of postsurgical result you’re looking for. By showing you various images in his photo gallery, he will help you home in on how you would prefer to look postsurgically.

Gynecomastia correction is most commonly performed on an outpatient basis; general or local anesthesia plus sedation may administered. This operation typically takes one and a half to two hours to complete. Patients will be in a recovery room until they are fully awake and safe for discharge.

Recovery from Male Breast Reduction

In all probability you will experience some pain or discomfort during the healing process. Dr. Cohen, depending on your particular circumstances, will recommend or prescribe painkillers. You are likely to feel soreness in the chest area for up to two or three weeks. You are also likely to have local bruising and swelling. A  compression garment for the chest region will minimize pain. The vast majority of patients recover in about a month and are then able to resume normal activities. Though some patients may be able to return to work more quickly, it is important to avoid strenuous exercise and sexual activity for at least three weeks after the operation.

Am I a Good Candidate for Male Breast Reduction?

No surgery should be undertaken lightly since every surgery carries some measure of risk. The best way to assess whether you’re a good candidate for this procedure is to meet with Dr. Cohen and have him answer all your questions. He will ask about your general health, any serious medical disorders you may have, and whether you have had prior surgeries. It is important for him to know how quickly you heal and whether you have experienced any complications following anesthesia.

Older age and certain medical conditions, such as obesity or skin disorders, may make male breast reduction a bad idea. Dr. Cohen is also unlikely to advise you to have this surgery if you are planning to lose a large amount of weight, if you abuse alcohol, or if you take anabolic steroids, smoke marijuana, or indulge in other drug use. No matter what your situation, Dr. Cohen will be truthful about whether he feels that having male reduction surgery is a good idea for you. Contact him soon to find out whether this surgery can make a positive change in your life.

Contact Our Great Neck Male Breast Reduction Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Cohen is available for consults in both his Manhattan, Great Neck, and Nassau County offices to evaluate your particular situation and discuss your options. A compassionate person as well as a talented plastic surgeon, Dr. Cohen understands the inherent connection between the body and the mind and is eager to make you feel comfortable in your own skin. Contact our office for a consultation.

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