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Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is male breast tissue. It can cause a great deal of embarrassment for men. Often, it deters a man from taking off his shirt or even wearing a t-shirt because of the appearance. There are ways to manage this problem and rid men of the unwanted extra tissue on the chest. Once a definable medical reason is ruled out, surgical techniques can be applied very effectively to remove the breast fullness.

What causes gynecomastia?

There are dozens of known contributing factors to the development of gynecomastia. Commonly, obesity is a major influence upon the development of excess breast tissue. Many prescribed medications cause gynecomastia. Alcohol, marijuana, or steroid abuse may create the problem. Many medical illnesses such as thyroid disease, renal failure, and even several tumors may be the etiology of gynecomastia. It is important that you are evaluated by your primary care physician prior to considering a surgical removal of the unwanted tissue.

Should gynecomastia be treated surgically in adolescents?

No. Once a treatable illness or medication is ruled out as the cause, the adolescent should be observed as it will usually resolve on its own as he matures.

What techniques are used to remove the breast tissue?

The techniques employed to treat gynecomastia depend upon the quality and quantity of excess tissue and skin. When excess chest fullness is mostly fatty, power-assisted liposuction can be used to flatten it. The power-assisted liposuction technology is helpful in removing the fibrous type of fat that is typical in the male chest. More often, when prominence is due to breast tissue, it is too dense and firm for successful removal with liposuction. In these cases, a small incision hidden around the areola is necessary in order to remove it. In a minority of cases, when the skin is very loose and thin and will not likely tighten up after tissue removal, an excisional skin procedure may be necessary.

What is the recovery period?

This depends upon the procedure performed. In the case of liposuction, a compression garment is worn at all times for two weeks followed by another two weeks while active. Discomfort will gradually dissipate over several days, but cyclic swelling and lumpiness persist for many months. You will be off pain medication and back to non-strenuous work after a few days. Within a couple of weeks, normal activity is resumed.

What kind of anesthesia is used for the procedure?

General anesthesia is the preferred method of achieving adequate pain control and sedation. In healthy patients, general anesthesia is extremely safe with very low complication rates. You will be entirely asleep for the duration of the procedure and awaken in recovery before you know it. Anesthesia is delivered by a Board-Certified anesthesiologist who cares for you before, during, and after surgery so that you have a comfortable and safe experience.


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