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Male Breast Reduction

Men who have enlarged breast growth, or gynecomastia, suffer from embarrassment and a lack of self-confidence. The excessive breast tissue may be triggered by medications, hormones, recreational drug use, or weight gain; when enlarged breasts occur, it is vital that the cause be identified, as they could be the sign of a serious health disorder.

Sometimes, the excess breast tissue will resolve on its own, but at other times, the enlarged breast tissue will remain, even with diet and exercise. When this occurs, surgical intervention may be required to improve the look and contour of the breasts. A male breast reduction can be performed in Tampa or Sarasota, to appropriately contour and reshape the chest with results that can remain permanent, as long as a healthy weight is maintained and the trigger has been eliminated.

Am I a Good Candidate?

Gynecomastia surgery can be performed on healthy, emotionally stable men of any age. The best Sarasota male breast reduction candidates have firm, elastic skin that will adjust to the body’s new contours.

Surgery may be discouraged for obese men, or for overweight men who have not first attempted to correct the problem with exercise or weight loss. Also, individuals who drink alcohol beverages in excess or smoke marijuana are usually not considered good candidates for surgery. These drugs, along with anabolic steroids, can cause gynecomastia. Therefore, patients are first directed to stop the use of these drugs to see if the breast fullness will diminish before surgery is considered an option.

Planning Your Surgery

During your initial consultation, we’ll go over your complete medical history, while also examining your breasts and checking for causes of the gynecomastia, such as impaired liver function, use of estrogen-containing medications, or anabolic steroids. If a medical problem is the suspected cause, you’ll be referred to an appropriate specialist.

In extreme cases, you may need a mammogram, or breast x-ray. This will not only rule out the very small possibility of breast cancer, but will reveal the breast’s composition. Once we know how much fat and glandular tissue is contained within the breasts, we can choose a surgical approach to best suit your needs.

At the completion of your consultation, you will meet with our patient coordinator. You will be given an estimate of the cost of your procedure, and have the option to schedule your procedure if you so choose. You are also encouraged to bring your spouse, significant other, family member, or a friend to your consultation. We understand the importance of your decision, and will be happy to meet with you a second time to discuss the surgery.

Your male breast reduction surgery in Tampa or Sarasota may be covered by medical insurance–but policies vary greatly. Check your policy or call your carrier to be sure. If you are covered, make certain you get written pre-authorization for the treatment.

Preparing for Your Surgery

Dr. Kreithen will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating, drinking, and taking certain vitamins and medications.

Smokers should plan to stop smoking for a minimum of one month before surgery and during recovery. Smoking decreases circulation and interferes with proper healing.

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Where Your Surgery Will Be Performed

A gynecomastia operation will most likely be performed as an outpatient at our new state-of-the-art Holcomb-Kreithen Plastic Surgery Medical Center operating room. In extreme cases, or those where other medical conditions present cause for concern, an overnight hospital stay may be recommended.

Types of Anesthesia

Correction of enlarged male breasts may be performed under general, or in some cases, under local anesthesia plus sedation. You’ll be awake, but very relaxed and insensitive to pain. More extensive correction may be performed under general anesthesia, which allows the patient to sleep through the entire operation.

The Procedure Itself

If excess glandular tissue is the primary cause of your breast enlargement, it will be excised with a scalpel, alone or in conjunction with liposuction. In a typical procedure, an incision is made in an inconspicuous location, either on the edge of the areola or in the underarm area. Working through the incision, Dr. Kreithen will cut away the excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin from around the areola and from the sides and bottom of the breast. Major reductions that involve the removal of a significant amount of tissue and skin may require larger incisions that result in more conspicuous scars. If liposuction is used to remove excess fat, the cannula is usually inserted through the existing incisions.

If your gynecomastia consists primarily of excessive fatty tissue, Dr. Kreithen will likely use liposuction to remove the excess fat. A small incision, less than a half-inch in length, is made around the edge of the areola—the dark skin that surrounds the nipple. Or, the incision may be placed in the underarm area. A slim hollow tube called a cannula is attached to a vacuum pump and then is inserted into the incision. Using strong, deliberate strokes, the surgeon moves the cannula through the layers beneath the skin, breaking up the fat and suctioning it out. Patients may feel a vibration or some friction during the procedure, but generally no pain.

In extreme cases where large amounts of fat or glandular tissue have been removed, skin may not adjust well to the new smaller breast contour. In these cases, excess skin may have to be removed to allow the removing skin to firmly re-adjust to the new breast contour. Sometimes, a small drain is inserted through a separate incision to draw off excess fluids. Once closed, the incisions are usually covered with a dressing. The chest may be wrapped to keep the skin firmly in place.

Recovery from a Male Breast Reduction

Patients should expect the recovery from the surgery to take about one week. Expect some temporary bruising, swelling, burning sensations, and numbness immediately after surgery.  These will resolve on their own over the first several weeks. In three to seven days, most patients will feel well enough to return to work or school. Strenuous exercise or activities should be postponed for four to six weeks.

Complications

A male breast reduction procedure is considered safe and effective. Possible complications can occur; these may include fluid accumulation, rippling, scarring, infection, and pigment changes. Seeing a board certified cosmetic surgeon, like Dr. Kreithen, will reduce the risk of complications.

As with any surgery, there are risks, including:

  • Infection
  • Skin injury
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Excessive fluid loss or accumulation

The procedure may also 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.

Before & After

Quick Facts About Gynecomastia

  • Procedure: Reduce enlarged, female-like breast in men using liposuction and/or cutting out excess glandular tissue. (Sometimes covered by medical insurance.)
  • Length: one hour or more.
  • Anesthesia: General or local.
  • In/Outpatient: Usually outpatient.
  • Side Effects: Temporary bruising, swelling, numbness, soreness, burning sensation.
  • Risks: Infection. Fluid accumulation. Injury to the skin. Rippling or bagginess of skin. Asymmetry. Pigmentation changes (may become permanent if exposed to sun). Excessive scarring if tissue was cut away. Need for a second procedure to remove additional tissue.
  • Recovery: Back to work in three to seven days. More strenuous activity in two to three weeks. Swelling and bruising three to six months.
    Duration of Results: Permanent.

After Your Surgery

Whether you’ve had excision with a scalpel or liposuction, you will feel some discomfort for a few days after surgery. However, discomfort can be controlled with medication. In either case, you should arrange to have someone drive you home after surgery and to help you out for a day or two if needed.

You’ll be swollen and bruised for a while, and we’ll fit you with an elastic pressure garment for a week or two, and for a few weeks longer at night. Although the worst of your swelling will dissipate in the first few weeks, it may be three months or more before the final results of your surgery are apparent.

In the meantime, it is important to begin getting back to normal. You’ll be encouraged to begin walking around on the day of surgery, and can return to work when you feel well enough–which could be as early as a day or two after surgery. Any stitches will generally be removed about one to two weeks following the procedure.

Dr. Kreithen will advise you to avoid sexual activity for a week or two, and heavy exercise for about four 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 of your normal activities.

You should also avoid exposing the resulting scars to the sun for at least six months. Sunlight can permanently affect the skin’s pigmentation, causing the scar to turn dark. If sun exposure is unavoidable, use a strong sunblock.

Your New Look

Gynecomastia surgery can enhance your appearance and self-confidence, but it won’t necessarily change your looks to match your ideal. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them.

The results of the procedure are significant and permanent. If your expectations are realistic, chances are good that you’ll be very satisfied with your new look.

The Holcomb-Kreithen Difference

As a leading cosmetic surgeon Sarasota patients come to for thorough consultations and sophisticated treatments, Dr. Kreithen offers a number of procedures.

Treatments his patients often pursue include breast lift, breast reduction and breast augmentation in Sarasota.

In addition, Dr. Kreithen is a talented breast reconstruction specialist who has helped many women seeking breast reconstruction in Sarasota achieve a more natural-looking chest appearance.

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