Are you a male with enlarged breast tissue, or what some call “man boobs”? If so, you may be suffering from gynecomastia. This condition can affect males of all ages, can affect one or both breasts, and take a toll on self-confidence, self-esteem, and healthy body image. The most common cause of gynecomastia is an imbalance in hormone levels. Thankfully, there is a permanent solution for gynecomastia: gynecomastia surgery or male breast reduction surgery. Read on to learn more about this surgical treatment and the risks that you should be aware of.
About Gynecomastia Surgery
Gynecomastia surgery, also called male breast reduction surgery, is an effective solution for those living with excess breast tissue due to gynecomastia. It is performed under general anesthesia and involves the surgical removal of gland tissue, excess tissue, and excess fat for a flatter, more masculine chest appearance. Overall, gynecomastia surgery is often deemed the best way to correct gynecomastia caused by glandular tissue.
Gynecomastia surgery is a form of plastic surgery, and when performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, the risks associated are greatly reduced. This is because board-certified surgeons have extensive knowledge of surgical procedures and the experience needed to identify and mitigate any possible issues quickly and effectively.
Risks Associated with Gynecomastia Surgery
There are always some risks involved with any form of surgery, including gynecomastia surgery. These may include:
Hematoma occurs when blood collects under the skin. While very small hematomas can be massaged and may resolve on their own, larger hematomas require drainage to eliminate the excess blood. Dr. Delgado uses drains during this gynecomastia surgery to help prevent the risk of hematomas.
Scarring is always a risk when it comes to any form of invasive surgery. Scarring can occur at the planned incision site, or may also occur at an unplanned site. However, visible scars generally heal well following gynecomastia surgery and Dr. Delgado can give you advice on which products to use to further improve scarring.
Infection following gynecomastia surgery is very rare. This is because antibiotics may be prescribed prior to surgery to decrease the risk even further. It is important to follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions regarding hygiene to further prevent the risk of infection.
Nipple Sensation Loss
During gynecomastia surgery, some of the nerves that travel through the breast tissue to the nipple may be severed. This can lead to decreased nipple sensation.
The risk of contour irregularities is greater when an individual undergoes surgery with an unskilled surgeon. A skilled board-certified plastic surgeon with ample experience performing gynecomastia surgery will understand the proper techniques to avoid irregularities for a flat, smooth chest.
Risk of Reoccurrence
The risk of gynecomastia recurring after surgery is rare when all glandular tissue is removed. When recurrence does occur, it is often because a hormonal stimulus has not been addressed or anabolic steroids are continued to be used after surgery.
Pain or Discomfort
Following gynecomastia surgery, patients may experience some level of pain or discomfort, which is to be expected. This pain should subside over time during the healing process, and your surgeon may prescribe you pain medication to help.
Deep Vein Thrombosis or Cardiopulmonary Issues
Any surgical procedure can lead to the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which may lead to cardiopulmonary problems. This is rare, though it is important that patients are aware of the risk.
Schedule a Gynecomastia Surgery Consultation
For further information regarding gynecomastia surgery in San Francisco Bay Area, please contact Dr. Delgado today. Your first step will be to schedule an initial consultation appointment to discuss your aesthetic concerns and desired result.
Gynecomastia Surgery FAQs
Does gynecomastia surgery involve liposuction?
In some cases, the procedure includes liposuction to remove excess fatty tissue for an improved chest contour.
Does insurance cover gynecomastia surgery?
Because gynecomastia surgery is often an elective procedure, insurance does not cover the cost.
Are all men with large male breasts a candidate for gynecomastia surgery?
To determine if gynecomastia surgery is right for you, you should consult with a physician to first obtain a diagnosis. Common signs of gynecomastia include swollen or puffy nipples, nipple discharge, nipple sensitivity, male breast tissue discomfort, and more.
Can gynecomastia surgery cause male breast cancer?
No, gynecomastia surgery has no links to the cause of male breast cancer.
When undergoing any type of surgical procedure, anesthesia will be used to keep the patient comfortable and allow for a safe procedure. Read on to learn more about the anesthesia options used for male breast surgery.
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a condition that causes enlarged male breasts in both boys and men. Male breast enlargement can be caused by a range of factors, including hormonal imbalance, certain medications, illegal drugs, and more.
It is important to understand the difference between true gynecomastia and pseudo-gynecomastia. While true gynecomastia is caused by an increase in glandular tissue and breast tissue, pseudo-gynecomastia is primarily caused by excess fatty tissue to weight gain.
The most effective solution for true gynecomastia is gynecomastia surgery, or male breast reduction surgery. This procedure can be performed under a number of different types of anesthesia. Read on to learn more.
Types of Anesthesia
General anesthesia causes patients to fall into a sleep-like state with the use of a combination of medicines. This type of anesthesia is performed with an endotracheal tube or a laryngeal mask, also called an LMA. This is a lighter form of general anesthesia. It is considered a safe form of anesthesia for those without serious health conditions.
This type of anesthesia is used to numb a specific area of the body and contains an infiltration of lidocaine, marcaine, epinephrine, and bicarbonate. Unlike general anesthesia, local anesthetics do not cause you to lose consciousness. Because of this, they are generally safer, and are associated with quicker recovery.
IV (Intravenous) Sedation
IV sedation refers to the administering of medication through the blood. Sedation relaxes you and sometimes makes you fall asleep. This type of sedation is often used for shorter, less complex procedures.
Determining Your Anesthesia for Male Breast Reduction Surgery
Dr. Delgado performs the majority of male breast reduction surgery under light general anesthesia. This is because it gives him total control during surgery and keeps the patient comfortable, as well as avoids excess bleeding for the best outcomes.
The best way to determine which anesthesia option is best for you is to discuss your procedure with a board-certified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Delgado during a consultation appointment.
Schedule Your Consultation
If you are tired of living with gynecomastia and are seeking male breast reduction treatment, please contact Dr. Delgado in San Francisco, CA today! You can give us a call or fill out our online contact form to get started.
Causes of Gynecomastia
The appearance of man boobs is usually caused by a hormonal imbalance, which can result from medications, steroid use or may occur naturally. Gynecomastia is defined as excessive growth of male glandular tissue. Although weight loss and exercise may help reduce the size of man boobs, surgery is the only option to reduce glandular tissue. Another condition that may be mistaken for gynecomastia is called pseudogynecomastia, when male breast enlargement occurs due to excess fat. This type of male breast reduction can normally be carried out with a liposuction procedure.
Male breast reduction is also known as gynecomastia surgery. This is a plastic surgery procedure designed to treat a medical condition that causes the enlargement of male glandular tissue, resulting in what is often called man boobs. Gynecomastia surgery is performed by numerous surgeons and is rapidly becoming one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures for men in the USA.
Gynecomastia Surgery Cost
When considering any surgery, the cost will play a part in the decision-making process and which surgeon to choose. Certain plastic surgery organizations operate a “conveyor belt” of patients. Permitting limited time for the procedure will provide a set fee in advance of a consultation. Consequently, as they limit the time to a minimum for each procedure and book in as many patients as possible in a short period, the gynecomastia surgery cost is lower.
More often, when the price is low, it is because any surgeon can perform a cosmetic surgery procedure in the USA, regardless of their training or specialty. When comparing prices, always check that the surgeon is a Board Certified plastic surgeon. The actual cost estimate of any plastic surgery is dependent on the surgeon, the facility where the procedure will take place, and the patient’s specific needs. Cosmetic surgery in this respect is the same as most surgical procedures, and a set price should immediately ring alarm bells.
Several other factors are evaluated by the plastic surgeon when providing an estimate for the cost of a gynecomastia procedure. Among these factors is the type of gynecomastia procedure required and whether or not it’s revision surgery. In all cases of true gynecomastia, the surgeon will have to perform surgical excision of the breast glands. This procedure will usually be performed under a general anesthetic and increase the total cost.
You should also consider costs common to all plastic surgery procedures, such as anaesthesia, the fee for the facility and operating room, the geographical location, and any other complications. Additional costs also may include medical tests, antibiotics or medications, and post-surgery garments required following a surgical procedure.
Gynecomastia surgery costs can vary from state to state and according to the surgeon’s expertise. A plastic surgeon will usually charge more than a general surgeon, and anesthesia charges differ depending on experience. Plastic surgeons also tend to use facilities that charge considerably more than clinics and set up as quickly as possible for minimum cost. This means the all-inclusive fee for the plastic surgeon, anesthesiologist, and facility usually falls between $6,500 and $9,000.
Recovery Time for Gynecomastia Surgery
The recovery time usually expected with modern gynecomastia surgery techniques is around one week. Although it is not recommended to start exercising or lifting heavy objects, most men feel well enough to return to work. Any swelling will continue to reduce, and scars will heal over two to three weeks.
Occasionally, a small, thin tube will be placed near the incision to drain out any excess fluid or blood after gynecomastia surgery. These are typically removed within two to three days. Patients are asked to wear a dressing or bandage on the surgical site during the recovery period. In some cases, customized compression garments may be provided to minimize swelling and aid the healing process by limiting movement on the incision site.
Patients are also given specific sets of instructions on caring for the surgical site at home. They will also be asked to take oral medications for a few days following your surgery to fight off any potential infection or complications that may arise. All patients are advised to strictly follow the surgeon’s instructions regarding care, especially resting. You will be asked to take it easy for a few days or weeks following your surgery, and you must avoid strenuous activity until your wound has fully healed.
Male Breast Reduction Without Surgery
Before considering male breast reduction, it is important to consider other treatment options first. Understanding the symptoms is one of the best ways to determine the most effective course of treatment. With the help of an expert, you may be able to reduce enlarged male breasts without surgery.
Losing weight through diet and exercising can be an effective way to reduce the appearance of man boobs. The enlarged breasts are often a result of excessive fat tissue in the breast area. Exercise can trim down the fat content in your body and help you shed excess weight. The less fat you have, the smaller your man boobs. Weight loss can take time. Liposuction is an effective and quick procedure with minimal associated complications and virtually no scarring for a faster solution. However, liposuction is only suitable for pseudogynecomastia, as it will not reduce the size of the breast glands present in true gynecomastia.
The intake of certain drugs and steroids can also contribute to the growth of breast tissues in men. If you want to get rid of your man boobs, you must abstain from drugs immediately. You might have to undergo hormone treatments to reduce the presence of estrogen in your system, which can trigger breast growth. The downside to hormone treatment is that it is only effective for moderate cases. Not all men are suitable due to health reasons or medications they are taking for other medical conditions, such as irregular heartbeat (heart arrhythmia).
Non-surgical Procedures to Get Rid of Man Boobs
Other more advanced non-surgical procedures for gynecomastia symptoms include laser therapy that can remove fat and be used for body sculpting, and Coolsculpting is another option to reduce fat tissue, which can help reduce male breasts. These treatment options melt or freeze the fat cells, which are then dispelled naturally from the body over months through urine. As these treatments will not reduce the size of glandular tissue in cases of true gynecomastia it is likely they will be unsatisfactory.
The great thing about non-surgical treatment for enlarged male breasts is that they require less downtime. Plus, the cost is lower. However, when repeat treatments are necessary, the costs can equal the cost of gynecomastia surgery. Suppose you have tried any of the above-mentioned non-surgical treatments and are still not satisfied with the result. In that case, gynecomastia surgery is likely to be needed to fully remove excess glandular tissue that causes man boobs.
FAQs About Gynecomastia Surgery
Does Health Insurance Cover Gynecomastia Surgery?
In terms of health insurance, gynecomastia surgery is not eligible for coverage because it is classed as a cosmetic surgery procedure. It is still advisable to consult with your insurance provider as there may be exceptions to this rule.
Is Gynecomastia Surgery Painful?
The pain reported by patients is mild and subsides within a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers are available if required.
Does Gynecomastia Surgery Leave Scars?
Expect scarring when undergoing any surgical procedure. However, gynecomastia surgery has advanced significantly in terms of scars. While complete lack of scarring is impossible, different factors can impact scar visibility, such as the type of procedure required, incision size, and the surgeon’s skill.
Previous gynecomastia surgery techniques require a relatively large incision to remove the fat and glandular tissue from the chest area. Today, newer techniques have been developed to eliminate the need for a large incision. One of the newer methods used by plastic surgeons is cutting-edge ultrasound technology, which breaks up the chest tissue. Once broken down, the fat tissue that needs to be excised can measure approximately a quarter of an inch, eliminating the need for a large incision, as it is possible to suction out the smaller fat tissues.
Aside from leaving almost undetectable scars, the advancement in surgical techniques can also facilitate faster recovery time for the patient. The smaller the wound, the faster a patient can recover from the procedure, in most cases with significantly reduced scarring.
For personalized information about gynecomastia plastic surgery procedures, please complete Dr. Delgado’s inquiry form.
Miguel Delgado, M.D., F.A.C.S. is a world-renowned Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon granted by the American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Society. Dr. Delgado has a surgical practice solely dedicated to cosmetic plastic surgery. He specializes in gynecomastia surgery and is the medical director of Gynecomastia.org, the oldest and largest gynecomastia forum dedicated to supporting, educating, and providing solutions for men with breast enlargement. Dr. Delgado celebrates 30 years of practice in San Francisco, California. He was voted the “Best Plastic Surgeon of 2017-2021.”
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The content on Gynecomastia.org is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice. It does not replace the need to meet with a physician who will accurately diagnose your condition and suggest treatment options.
How Common is Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia is the enlargement of the breast tissue in males. It causes men a great deal of embarrassment. Gynecomastia surgery has continued to increase in popularity among men. The number of men seeking surgical improvement to their chests continues to increase.
As a result of hormonal surges during puberty, male breast tissue may develop. Breast tissue may shrink after puberty in some cases, but in many cases, the breasts remain enlarged. This is called persistent pubertal gynecomastia. According to statistics, asymptomatic gynecomastia affects 60% to 90% of young boys, 50% to 60% of teenagers, and up to 70% of older men aged 50 to 69 years.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) 2018 Plastic Surgery Report, approximately 25,000 male breast reduction procedures were performed in the U.S. last year, marking a 22 percent increase since 2000. Additionally, according to Mayo Clinic research, men aged between 50 and 69 are affected by gynecomastia, and gynecomastia surgery (also known as male breast reduction ) is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the United States.
Gynecomastia is commonly caused by hormonal imbalances during puberty, weight gain, use of anabolic steroids by bodybuilders, and marijuana use. Male breast enlargement can also be caused by other medications.
How Do I Know If I Have Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia usually occurs in one or both breasts. The breast enlargement (gynecomastia) may be asymmetrical or larger or smaller from side to side. Breast self-examinations, also known as the “pinch test“, typically reveal a palpable, tender, firm, mobile, disc-like mound of tissue. Unlike breast cancer, this tissue is soft and has a central location under the nipple-areolar complex.
Palpable masses that are unilateral, firm, fixed, circumscribed, and involve only one breast but are associated with abnormal discharge from the breast, changes in the skin, or enlarged lymph nodes, suggest breast cancer and invite thorough evaluation, including mammographic and MRI imaging studies.
In the United States, 1% of all breast cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 60.
Causes of Gynecomastia
Many factors can lead to hormonal imbalances that cause male breast growth, and often times the cause is unknown.
Besides body changes such as puberty and aging, there are a number of other factors that lead to gynecomastia:
- Testicular injuries and diseases
- Thyroid disease, kidney failure, or pituitary gland tumor.
- Obesity, which can result in more estrogen
- Illegal drugs, including steroids, pot, and heroin
- Some young boys may experience the condition briefly while their mothers’ hormones still affect their bodies.
Medication That May Cause Gynecomastia
- Anti-androgens. These are drugs that treat an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer.
- Anabolic steroids. In an effort to improve their performance, athletes sometimes use anabolic steroids illicitly. Blood tests can detect this in the bloodstream.
- HIV drugs. An HIV treatment that is called “highly active antiretroviral therapy” may cause gynecomastia as a side effect.
- Heart medications. Gynecomastia can sometimes be caused by certain drugs, such as digoxin (Lanoxin) and calcium channel blockers.
- Medications help empty your stomach. Metoclopramide Reglan ) can have gynecomastia as a side effect.
- Ulcer drugs. There are some over-the-counter medications that can cause gynecomastia, such as cimetidine and Tagamet antibiotics. The same can be said of tricyclic antidepressants and certain cancer treatments.
Whenever patients complain of male breast enlargement (gynecomastia), they describe the appearance of an enlarged chest which looks like “women’s breasts on a man.”. Every aspect of their lives is affected by this and they experience an intense feeling of shame and embarrassment.
Male breast reduction surgery is considered to be the gold standard of treatment. During surgery, the breast tissue will be removed along with the excess fat and glandular tissue. The procedure is usually performed through an incision in the lower half of the nipple-areolar complex and/or by excision of the skin (in the case of very large male breasts). In order to confirm the presence of gynecomastia and rule out the possibility of male breast cancer, it is essential to have your surgeon perform a proper physical examination of your breasts.
It is important to stop taking medications that could cause bleeding, quit smoking, and increase your nutrition so that you will heal and recover from surgery. It is a procedure that is most commonly performed under general anesthesia, but it can also be performed under oral sedation and local anesthesia. Drains are commonly used after surgery to prevent fluid accumulations. To reduce swelling, control bruising, and control pain, compression vests, and icing are often used.
Recovery After Gynecomastia Surgery
For patients with pseudogynecomastia (gynecomastia dues to excess fat only), liposuction may be sufficient to correct their enlarged breasts. These patients are usually able to return to work in one week and exercise within 3 weeks. Surgery for the removal of excess breast tissue can take 1 to 2 weeks for patients to recover enough to take part in normal activities. The average patient can return to white-collar work in 5-7 days. At 4 weeks and 6 weeks, they can return to the gym for cardio and weightlifting, barring complications from the surgery.
Complications With Gynecomastia Surgery
Gynecomastia surgery is usually very safe and most patients recover quickly. In spite of every precaution taken, complications can occur. Complications include bruising, bleeding, fluid collections, irregularities in the breast contours, the loss of breast skin, scarring between the breasts, numbness between the breasts, and inverted breasts. Preoperative, postoperative, and perioperative management is crucial for achieving good outcomes.
If you are concerned about gynecomastia and wish to discuss treatment options, you should consult a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area or contact Dr. Delgado’s via this inquiry form.
The 5 Most Important Tips to Choose Your Gynecomastia Surgeon
Several important factors should be considered when selecting a gynecomastia surgeon
- Training and certification in plastic surgery
- Good standing with the State Medical Board
- Positive reviews of male breast reduction surgery online by satisfied patients
- Excellent consultation with a doctor whose knowledge you are comfortable with, as well as the thoroughness and kindness of the staff.
- Before and after pictures document the artist’s work.
RELATED: At What Age Can a Teenager Get Gynecomastia Surgery?
Does gynecomastia go away?
Gynecomastia is associated with puberty. In most cases, the breast gland tissue (gynecomastia) will resolve without treatment within six months to two years. Most commonly enlarged breasts occur between the ages of 13 and 14 years but can occur as early as 10 years of age. Up to 20 percent of individuals with enlarged breasts continue to experience symptoms after they reach their 17th birthday.
If you are struggling with the presence of excess breast tissue in the chest, often referred to as “man boobs”, you might be considering gynecomastia surgery, also called a male breast reduction. After all, gynecomastia surgery offers permanent results that can eliminate gynecomastia symptoms such as enlarged breasts when diet and exercise fail to produce the desired results. Yet, there’s always one thing between a patient and making their cosmetic goals a reality: the cost of treatment. While gynecomastia can range in price, we’ll explain where you can expect your treatment to fall within a certain range and how you can make it more affordable.
How Much Will My Gynecomastia Surgery Cost?
As mentioned above, you can expect your gynecomastia surgery to cost roughly between $7,500 and $12,000. However, you may be wondering what determines your exact treatment cost, and where you’ll fall within that range. The truth is, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cost of a gynecomastia surgery without discussing the procedure in detail. This is because each patient’s gynecomastia experience will be highly unique, and as such, each treatment requires a uniquely personalized approach. Generally, the cost of treatment will correlate with the extent of surgery required to produce the desired results. Patients with minor gynecomastia symptoms can expect a treatment cost on the lower end of the range mentioned above, while patients with more significant symptoms might expect a cost on the higher end of that range. The cost will also be determined by the grade or severity of the gynecomastia. The higher the grade, the more expensive due to excess skin which will require direct excision. These general costs are reflective of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are seeking further information regarding gynecomastia surgery and gynecomastia surgery costs, contact board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Delgado in San Francisco or Novato today. He offers gynecomastia consultations for men who wish to determine if surgery is right for them. You can also discuss the cost of gynecomastia surgery during this appointment.
Gynecomastia Surgery FAQs
Is gynecomastia surgery covered by insurance?
Most health insurance companies do not cover the cost of gynecomastia surgery, as it is considered elective. However, some plastic surgeons offer financing options. To learn if your insurance company will cover your procedure, we advise you to view your insurance policy and insurance coverage or speak with your insurance provider directly.
What is the average cost of gynecomastia surgery?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of gynecomastia surgery across the United States is $4,239. However, this average cost is only a part of the total price, as it doesn’t include anesthesia, operating room facilities, surgeon’s fees, and other related expenses. To determine your final cost, please consult with your plastic surgeon.
Is surgery the only way to correct gynecomastia?
The answer to this question ultimately depends on the type of gynecomastia present and the severity of the condition. Males with true gynecomastia, which is caused by excess glandular tissue in the chest, often require surgical intervention for permanent results. However, those with false gynecomastia, or pseudogynecomastia, can often see an improvement in enlarged male breasts through diet and exercise alone to eliminate excess fat in the chest. The best way to determine if gynecomastia surgery is right for you is to schedule a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Delgado.
Do I need to wear a compression garment after gynecomastia surgery?
Yes, Dr. Delgado will instruct you to wear a compression garment following gynecomastia surgery to minimize swelling and support your new, more masculine-looking chest. It is important that you wear this garment as instructed for optimal outcomes.
Before you commit to having a cosmetic procedure, you should meet with a board – certified plastic surgeon who can recommend the best procedures and help you understand the outcomes to expect. The COVID – 19 pandemic limits the types of surgeries and procedure s that can be performed and requires that we all practice effective social distancing. In order to continue serving patients, many surgeries are offering private virtual consult services. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your virtual consult.
Make a List of Questions for Virtual Consultation
You learn about the procedures that you are considering and what outcomes are expected. You also have the chance to ask questions of the surgeon. The same holds true for your virtual consult. We recommend that you spend some time writing down any questions that you have about the procedure, such as:
- Is the procedure right for me?
- Are there any complementary treatments that I should consider?
- What should I expect during the recovery, and how long will it take to heal?
- What aftercare is required?
- When will I see the final results?
Prepare a Quiet, Secluded Space for Virtual Consultation
When you have consultations in an office, you are taken into a private room where you can focus on the conversation with your plastic surgeon, and the surgeon is able to examine the area that you are considering for cosmetic procedures. A virtual consult is most effective when this same type of interaction can take place, so we recommend that you:
- Find a space in your home that is quiet and secluded
- Let your family know that you have a virtual consult schedule and need some privacy during the appointment
- Set up your computer with a high-quality camera and microphone
- Have your list of questions with you
- Write down your medical history, including medications, prior surgeries, prior cosmetic procedures, medical conditions, weight, and height
With a little preparation, you can relax during the virtual consultation and garner the information that you need to make an informed decision.