Gynecomastia, the medical term for enlarged or swollen breasts in men, is often caused by high or out-of-balance oestrogen levels. Although it is not dangerous, it can considerably impact a man’s appearance, ability to fit into clothes and self-esteem. If you are affected by enlarged breasts, you may be a candidate for male breast reduction surgery at REAL Cosmetic Plastic Surgery in Melbourne, where the procedure is regularly performed.
Although people with gynecomastia often suffer from low self-confidence, they are not alone and the condition is much more common than most people realise. In fact, it occurs in around 50% of new-borns. In many babies, the symptoms, which are mainly large or feminine-looking chests, go away after 2-3 weeks, but the condition can return later in life, particularly during the teenage years or between the ages of 50-80.
Your General Health and Medications
When considering whether a man is a good candidate for this surgery, his general health must be taken into account. Anybody who is reasonably healthy should be able to take advantage of this opportunity, but there are a few factors that determine your eligibility.
Before agreeing to perform this procedure on you, your plastic surgeon will ask you some questions about your general health. Some people with gynecomastia have other conditions such as obesity, tumours, liver disease, or kidney failure, which can cause breast enlargement. In such cases, safety will come first and you may be asked to wait until your general health improves.
No matter whether you think you qualify or not, it is crucial for your health and safety that you give your doctor all of the relevant information. Without knowing your full medical history, he won’t be able to help you to the best of his ability, so make sure to be honest and thorough when filling out your health questionnaires.
Medications and Drugs
There are a number of drugs that can cause breast enlargement, so before you consider surgery, provide your doctor with a complete list of all the medications you take on a regular basis. Estrogens, anabolic steroids, diazepam (Valium), certain ‘street drugs’, and even alcohol have all been known to cause this condition, and for some men, simply reducing their dosage could partially solve the issue.
When speaking to your physician, remember to mention not only your prescription drugs, but also any over-the-counter medications you take. To make sure you can get approved for this procedure, you might need to stop taking certain medications, like NSAIDs and MAOIs, temporarily. This is because they act as blood thinners, which can affect the surgery’s safety.
Another factor to consider when evaluating your eligibility is whether you smoke on a regular basis. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not a suitable candidate, but you will need to change your habits temporarily to ensure a safe and successful surgery.
Because of the nicotine contained in cigarettes, smoking causes your blood pressure to rise. This can interfere with both the actual procedure and your subsequent recovery, so you will have to stop smoking until you are fully back to normal. Keep in mind that other nicotine sources, such as chewing tobacco and nicotine patches, have the same effect and will also be prohibited during and after your surgery.
Weight and Breast Reduction Surgery
As mentioned above, obesity is a potential cause of gynecomastia. That’s why most plastic surgeons will advise you to abstain from surgery until you have achieved a healthy weight. Depending on the reason for your symptoms, you may experience a reduction in breast size as you lose weight. If you are not obese or have lost weight and your breasts are still enlarged, you might want to consider surgery as your next option.
Surgery for Excess Skin after Weight Loss
Another potential reason for this procedure is if you have excess skin after losing a significant amount of weight. As your body adjusts to your new shape, there may be additional skin that is hard to eliminate without surgery. In this case, you are in a slightly different situation to someone suffering from gynecomastia, but you may benefit from a similar treatment. Your plastic surgeon will be able to discuss whether this surgery is a good option for you.
As a general rule, the surgery is a permanent solution for breast enlargement in males. Because the causes of the condition–the fat and glandular tissues–are removed during the procedure, the condition is extremely unlikely to occur repeatedly. However, your age at the time of the treatment is crucial.
Surgery to treat gynecomastia is not advisable for children or adolescents whose bodies are not fully developed yet. If the breast is still developing and hasn’t stabilised, this could mean that the tissue re-grows and you’ll need repeated surgery and other follow-up treatment. To avoid this, we recommend male breast reduction surgery to anyone who has been suffering from enlarged breasts for more than two years and is at least 16-18 years old.
The Grade of Your Gynecomastia
In medicine, we distinguish between four different grades of this condition. Grade 1 is just a small enlargement and does not include any excess skin over your chest, so it can often be solved by changing a patient’s diet or encouraging him to take up exercise. However, patients with grade 3 or 4 gynecomastia present with significant enlargement and some excess skin which is more likely to need surgical intervention.
If you’re unsure about how significant your gynecomastia is, consult with your regular physician and ask him whether you should consider surgery at this point. He may even be able to tell you to what degree you suffer from this condition, so that you can present your plastic surgeon with more accurate information.
Your Expectations of Male Breast Reduction
Your surgeon will not only consult with you about your general health, but also your reasons for booking an appointment and your expectations of the procedure. Here at REAL Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, you will be given a tablet with information concerning your procedure, the recovery process and the effect it will have on the rest of your life before your first appointment with Mr. Salerno.
That way, you know what to expect and how to best take care of yourself before, during and after the procedure. You can expect to resume most of your normal activities within six weeks of your treatment, although you will need to keep the affected area away from direct sunlight for the first few months.
Your Continued Journey
But male breast reduction is just the beginning of your journey. To look and feel your best, your physician will encourage you to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. The surgery can significantly reduce the psychological effects of male breast enlargement, but it won’t automatically help you to gain muscles like you might observe in top athletes. Rather, you can start to build up strength and shape your chest now that you have achieved the desired flatter breast shape.
What Your Surgeon Will Check For
Before making any final decisions, your surgeon is likely to do a series of tests to ensure that you’re in optimal condition for the procedure. Every potential patient will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, so you should book an appointment with Dr. Salerno if you think you could be eligible. Aside from the standard health questions and medical records, you might need to go for a blood test and ultrasound before you are accepted for surgery.
But don’t let that put you off – these tests are standard procedure for many operations performed under general anaesthetic. Because the surgery is not very invasive, you are likely to be approved.
Other Facts You Should Know
Now that you know most of the requirements for male breast reduction surgery, you may have some additional questions about the procedure. Let’s explore some further factors that may help you to decide whether this is the right option for you.
There are currently not many alternatives available for people with significant gynecomastia or excessive skin in the chest area. If you’ve exhausted other options such as exercise and weight loss, this procedure is likely to be the way forward for you.
How Long Does the Surgery Take?
The procedure is fairly straightforward and generally does not require an overnight stay. Most breast reduction treatments take 1-1.5 hours, but this will depend on the complexity of your individual situation. Your surgeon is likely to be able to give you an estimate once he has fully evaluated your case.
How Long Until I See Results?
Remember that it might take up to three months for you to see the full results of your procedure. A few weeks after your surgery, you can resume many of your normal activities, so your work and personal life shouldn’t be affected significantly. Make sure to follow all of your doctor’s recommendations, such as wearing a lycra support garment, to achieve optimal results.
What Can I Do to Promote Healing After Surgery?
There are several things you can do to speed up the healing process and ensure you obtain optimal results from your surgery. The most important is to follow all of your doctor’s orders. For example, starting to exercise too quickly could interfere with the healing process, so it is essential that you avoid this.
Many patients have found that certain foods can help after surgery. To make sure you regain your energy and get back to normal as quickly as possible, try to eat plenty of antioxidants.
Also focus on vitamin-rich foods like vegetables, good fats found in nuts, oils, and fish, and probiotics such as yogurt or kefir. Finally, make sure to attend all of your follow-up appointments diligently. Your surgeon will likely want to see you during the recovery period to make sure everything is going smoothly. Don’t skip this meeting, as it is essential to monitor your progress in the weeks after your procedure.
Booking Your Initial Consultation
For anyone suffering from gynecomastia or excess skin after weight loss, breast reduction surgery could be a way to regain a flat chest. The procedure is appropriate for a range of patients, although your general health, weight, and the cause of your enlarged breasts must be taken into consideration.
Here in Melbourne, Mr. Salerno and his friendly team can help you to decide whether this option is right for you. Call or book your appointment with REAL Cosmetic Plastic Surgery today to start your journey. We will be more than happy to assist you.