Author Topic: UK NHS and me.  (Read 5362 times)

Offline wbay21

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Hi all. Firstly, if this is the wrong forum I apologise, feel free to move the post.

I'd like to tell my story please, I'll also maybe post up some pics in a couple of days.

I first noticed my moobs when I was about 13 years old. In fact I used to go swimming regularly until they started to develop then I got embarrassed and simply stopped going to the swimming baths. The embarrassment progressed and it wasn't long before I started to shut myself away in my bedroom fearing any form of exposure to the outside world.

It wasn't until I was 20 that I finally "presented" to my doctor and he immediately wrote to a consultant and arranged for me to see him. He was deeply concerned about my psychological health after learning how I'd shied away from "normal" social activities such as swimming, sunbathing, simply taking my top off in public etc.

The consultant was very kind and examined each breast and affirmed that there was breast tissue and that I did indeed have gynecomastia. He explained that he would operate if I wanted and that he would remove the tissue through incisions just near the nipple.

I awoke from the procedure and was told that the operation was a success. I was totally overjoyed and thrilled that the nightmare had ended. How wrong I was.

The surgeon had cut under each breast and left huge scars that even 23 years on are still visible. He's also left behind a disc of breast tissue in the left breast that was meant to balance the appearance. He did say that if I needed that out that I could return and have an operation to correct it.

I gave this some consideration but also left the hospital with the promise that the scars wouldn't be visible "after a few years". I think I had (and still have) mixed opinions about the op. It was a huge improvement over what I had, there can be no denying of that. I was elated to be free of the breasts that had hampered me for so long but I now had scar tissue to deal with and at that time, little did I know that it would have such an effect on me.

I went swimming once, then I saw some people gaze at my chest and at that point the tshirt went on and my guard went up. I clammed up totally and it was as if I hadn't seen any improvement at all if my behaviour was anything to go by.

Life went on and I moved from place to place never really settling so therefore not really having a permanent doctor, nor a decent job that would allow me to have any hospital treatment privately, nor enough holiday allowances. It was a pretty crap 10 years all told.

By the age of 30 I met someone and settled with them. They are of course aware of my gynecomastia and totally understanding and caring about it. However I cannot accept that alone and want rid of it once and for all. It is still a very sore issue with me and I'm excruciatingly shy about the whole issue so couldn't actually bear to face anyone about it, least of all my new doctor.

I eventually summoned the courage to do this at 43 years old. This led me to an appointment in Derbyshire and if I said I was disappointed with the experience it would be an understatement.

IMHO, the person I saw was extremely patronising and claimed the tissue was "fat" despite the fact 23 years ago the surgeon had said he'd left breast tissue in and that I can feel it. They questioned why I had waited so long, which I explained as best I could but the answer didn't seem acceptable to this person, to me the passage of time doesn't indicate I don't care about my gyne, it just means I'm really shy and embarrassed about it.

They also said that they and all their colleagues in Derbyshire wouldn't operate and that they normally operate on women with cancer as a priority (which I agree should be a priority) however it did not exactly make me feel as if they understood the stress and anxiety that gynecomastia sufferers experience. It goes to show that there is a long way to go before it's even seen as an issue...which contradicts totally my experience with the NHS when I was 20!

Anyway, I thought I'd share, and ask for any advice. I'm really confused on what I should do now and after been rejected out of hand by the NHS feel quite alienated.





Linkback: https://www.gynecomastia.org/forum/index.php?topic=15575.0

Offline headheldhigh01

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it's your story, so the find a uk surgeon board notwithstanding, you're in the right place. 

everything you said sounded right on to me.  your scar situation is probably due to the fact that gyne surgery was not seriously evolved to an aesthetic art for the most part 23 years ago, and/or you were dealing with an nhs generalist rather than a ps.  people have had mixed experiences with it but many have gone to private and generally not regretted it.  if you get an nhs op, you want to be sure they're versed in the cosmetic side/technique, not just hacking you up to say they took something out.  like you i favor erring on the side of taking out more than less.  and your instincts are good, if a surgeon is patronizing toward you, run.  but even if you do, do the world the service of informing them of the psych dimension you mentioned that they do not understand, maybe in writing, if the nhs is accountable to anyone (sorry, don't know myself, yank here). 

now would be the good time to browse through the uk board for some of the very useful discussions you'll find there.  congrats on finding the site  :)

* a man is more than a body will ever tell
* if it screws up your life the same, is there really any such thing as "mild" gyne?

Offline Hope

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scars can be hard on the eye but the main thing for me is to have a flat chest so I can wear t shirts etc.

I understand that your not happy with the scars but has the actual gyne gone?
*Gyne free thanks to Mr Levick on  April 9th 2009*

Offline Gaz29

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Hi am also in UK and i am really glad to have found you, i am at present waiting to find out if the referral sent to the plastic surgeon by my G.P will go ahead , apparently its being vetted by a panel to decide whats going to happen , a panel that hasn't seen my huge ugly man boobs i have two kids and enough was enough when i started carring them into the swimming pool so i could hide my chest and the constant stares i am 29 and i have lived with this since i was 9 or ten in the past 3 months i have lost about 2 stone and i am now 11 stone 7 and no difference to my chest, i am really delated, the endicrinologist said that if my bloods came back normal he would refer me to plastic surgeon , they did and i am now worried sick i will get knocked back i cant go on with them

Offline wbay21

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Firstly, let me apologise for not posting again since this OP. I was really upset at the time and kind of withdrew into myself.
Secondly, although more importantly, thank you for responding.

I will post up the pics soon. because I'm sick of grabbing a handful of breast on the left, yet on the right it's within what I consider to be acceptable norms. All of which I explained to the Consultant but fell on deaf ears. I do not have the money for surgery yet as that looks like the only way forward, but I will raise it. I'm determined to get this sorted out.

Anyway, good luck to all of you who need to get this sorted too. It's a pity the NHS just see this as cosmetic rather than debilitating because I feel debilitated, as do many others. Do you?

Offline ChrisB

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wbay when I was seen at Derbyshire years ago about the possibilty of surgery it was an utter farce.
They weren't even interested in my condition they sat me down for around 5 minutes and they shoe'd me away.
I'm currently trying to get my BMI down because it's 28 before they'll see me again. My GP has been fighting hard to get me surgery because it's effecting my life so much but the NHS in general doesn't seem to care.

They too told me cancer sufferers are priority, which I also agree with I just get so mad when women can get breast enlargements on the NHS but you have to be on the verge of suicide before they listen me.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2009, 07:13:43 AM by ChrisB »

Offline BadCaseGyno

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Dude, scars are manly. As long as you don't have breasts, you're fine. When people stare at your scars they think "wow what a badass"  ;).

Offline wbay21

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Hi all
After some time I have come back with some better news. Just so you all all in the picture so to speak I had surgery when I was 21 and it was a new lease of life. It was a bi-lateral mastectomy and some gland was left in my left breast as well as horrendous scarring. It was a few years after the operation that this started to become more noticeable. I then started to let myself go, I was later diagnosed with hypothyroidism and weight just piled on.

God, I sound like  I'm really depressed but I'm not. I'm generally quite a happy person, I have a partner, we have adopted kids and life is smashing. I can now afford surgery and I've booked a consultation with Mr Levick.

I'm 50. I'm fat. And here are my pics. Remember, these are post op and I need a new op to get the gland taken from the left and excess fat removed from both. I realise that being fat distorts more than just the image but I am on a long road to recovery from that as anyone with hypothyroidism will likely attest.

Offline wbay21

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Here's a frontal. Lol, sorry.

Offline wbay21

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Surgery with Mr Levick is booked for April. I can't wait.  :)

Offline wbay21

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So now it's only a few days until my operation and I am very happy. I'm taking the Arnica as requested, no tomatoes, no aspirin, no garlic and no alcohol... not that I drink anyway.

It's weird, I've had a similar operation before when they basically hacked my moobs off and left bits behind but this time I have a calm, expectant air about me. I just want to fast forward time though. Hurry up!

Offline wbay21

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Clearly I'm not cool enough for any recently responses, lol. Anyway, the operation went extremely well. Mr. Levick and his crew are fantastic as always. I have my burger shot that weighed 233 ounces. There is literally nothing left of my chest now it's as flat as a pancake and I couldn't be happier.
  • Initial NHS work done where they left a disc of breast tissue in to "keep the shape".
    Rejected later by the NHS when they said if I had any issues to come back.
    Understanding partners
    Still wanted it sorting out so save up
    Had the operation done yesterday 8th April
If anyone does have any questions please let me know.  :)

Offline wbay21

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