It doesn’t get talked about enough, but here’s the truth: men have body image issues, too. But unless you’re cracking a self-deprecating joke, we men tend to zip our lips when it comes to body confidence. At afresh(R) Med Spa & Plastic Surgery in Chicago, IL we believe that men deserve to feel just as confident as women about the way they look, which is why we are thrilled to offer male breast reduction at our clinic.
What Is Gynecomastia?
What is gynecomastia? In the cosmetic and medical industry, gynecomastia is a term that refers to enlarged breast tissue on men. That’s right – men. Every human body, regardless of gender, has breast tissue. Breast tissue as a term is just a way to talk about the muscles and fats on the upper chest that are located beneath and around the nipple.
Symptoms of Gynecomastia
Male breasts as we know them in media tend to be muscular and toned with a generally flat shape. If the male chest has any shape at all, it’s usually in the form of defined pectoral muscles. However, gynecomastia is not the same as a defined male chest. This condition refers solely to excess fats that develop on the male chest. Common symptoms of gynecomastia are:
- Tender chest
- Swollen breast tissue
- Nipple discharge
- Enlarged chest tissue
What Causes Gynecomastia?
The causes of gynecomastia vary from person to person, but there are a handful of causes that are common to the development of gynecomastia. Usually only one of these causes are major contributors to the condition, but there are cases where a culmination of factors are responsible.
Overall, the most common cause of gynecomastia is natural hormonal changes. Hormonal changes happen multiple times over a lifetime, but the most notable changes happen during puberty and andropause. The main hormonal change associated with this condition is an increase of estrogen.
Many men are surprised to learn that they regularly produce estrogen. There is a misconception that men only produce testosterone and women only produce estrogen – actually, both the male and female body produce these hormones at different levels. The normal production of estrogen in the male body is much lower than in women. When estrogen production elevates in men, it causes the reduction of muscle mass and body hair, as well as swelling of breast tissues.
There are several health conditions that can contribute to gynecomastia. Unlike natural hormone fluctuations, the hormonal changes associated with these health conditions are usually more extreme and difficult to combat. Some health conditions that are linked to gynecomastia include hypogonadism, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, and liver disease.
There are some medications that can also be a contributing factor for gynecomastia. This can be frustrating, as many of these medications are necessary for treating serious medical and psychological issues. Medication for the treatment of prostate health, cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and anxiety disorders are all associated with the development of gynecomastia. Regular use of antibiotics can also be responsible for enlarged breast tissue.
Supplements and Substances
There are certain lifestyle factors that can also be responsible for gynecomastia. For example, being overweight or inactive can lead to enlarged breast tissue. The use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana can also cause gynecomastia. Even overuse of herbal supplements, such as tea tree oil and certain shampoos or body washes can be responsible for gynecomastia.
Is Gynecomastia Common?
Gynecomastia is common at a few different points in life. For example, during puberty natural hormonal changes will cause mild gynecomastia that will dissipate within six months as hormones regulate themselves. Even male infants have minor gynecomastia that resolves itself. Studies show that 65% of men with gynecomastia are men over the age of 50.
Overall, gynecomastia is common over the lifetime, and most men will have this condition without even realizing it. However, if you are not at an age where you should expect extreme hormonal changes, or if the enlarged breast tissue is uncomfortable, then it is likely that your gynecomastia will not resolve itself. While there are many different treatments for gynecomastia, such as hormone therapy, many men opt for male breast reduction as a solution.
What Is Male Breast Reduction?
Enlarged or swollen breast tissue in men is common, and many men are interested in breast reduction. As a surgical intervention for enlarged breast tissue, breast reduction surgery for men can be used for a variety of reasons. Even if you do not have gynecomastia, breast reduction can tighten and lift loose skin on the chest, remove excess fat from the chest, and correct the placement of nipples.
How Does Male Breast Reduction Work?
Breast reduction surgery typically involves a combination of basic lift techniques and liposuction. Dr. Gutowski generally uses liposuction to remove the desired amount of excess tissue and then removes excess skin to shape the chest to the desired appearance. We will discuss further procedure steps during your consultation appointment.
Is Male Breast Reduction Different From Female Breast Reduction?
Some men wonder if breast reduction for men differs from breast reduction for women, and the simple answer is no. Overall, both procedures use the same basic techniques to reduce breast tissue. Women may expect a slightly more involved process, such as breast augmentation. Men can enjoy a simpler approach to reducing the size of their breast tissue and a shorter recovery time.
Benefits of Male Breast Reduction
Men who are considering breast reduction tend to think in terms of benefits. What can you get out of this procedure aside from the obvious? The benefits of breast reduction can be different for every man, as what one man considers important another might consider trivial. The three most common benefits of this treatment include:
Breast reduction for men is a body contouring treatment. This means this treatment is a good option whether you have a condition like gynecomastia or simply want to improve your overall appearance. Body contouring treatments are usually considered by men when traditional methods, such as changes to diet or exercise, fail to produce the desired results. This is a treatment that will immediately and permanently contour your body to your ideal shape.
Better Fitting Clothing
Finding clothes that fit well is trouble on a good day, and it can be an extra challenge when a swollen chest makes clothes rest oddly on the body. Many men who consider this treatment have struggled with finding shirts and jackets that fit well. With this treatment, you can finally wear clothes that fit your frame rather than clothes that hid your chest.
There is a lot of shame associated with a negative body image, so finally fixing the cause of a negative image can be an instant boost to your confidence. Feeling positive about the way you look means you can stop feeling self-conscious in social settings, stop hiding your body during intimacy, and feel free to live your life with no restrictions.
How Much Preparation Will You Need Before Treatment?
Some patients want to know what they should expect in preparation of breast reduction treatment. At our clinic, you can expect to follow a couple of steps before your treatment:
If you are interested in this treatment, you will need a consultation with our skilled staff and Dr. Gutowski. We will discuss your appearance goals and examine the condition of your chest. We will also need to discuss your general medical history, including your current medical issues, medications, and any previous surgeries you have had in the past.
Because this is a surgical procedure, you will be asked to complete certain examinations and labs before your surgery. We will need to know if you have any allergies to general or local anesthesia so that we can help build a treatment plan that is right for you.
On the days leading up to your surgery, you will be asked to follow certain instructions to prepare for treatment. These pre-treatment guidelines are important to follow so that your surgery can be safe and successful. Some pre-treatment guidelines may include:
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco
- Avoid or adjust certain medications
- Avoid certain over-the-counter medications or supplements
You may be asked to arrange for transportation on the day of your surgery. Breast reduction treatments usually involve general anesthesia, which means it will not be safe for you to drive after your treatment. We will provide you with further instructions at your consultation appointment.
What to Expect During Male Breast Reduction Treatment
The basic steps of your surgery will include:
Step One: Anesthesia
We will administer anesthesia as discussed in your treatment plan. The anesthesia will keep your sedated for the duration of your surgery, which will last for two to four hours or more depending on your particular condition.
Step Two: Procedure
The first step of breast reduction is liposuction, which involves a small incision on each breast to remove the excess tissues and fats from beneath the skin. Once the right amount of tissue is removed, Dr. Gutowski will then remove excess skin, lift the chest to the correct position as determined by your contouring plan, and adjust the placement of the nipples.
Step Three: Closing
The closing of your surgical site will include sutures, dissolving stitches, or surgical glue. Your chest will be bandaged and dressed, and then you will be transferred to a recovery area until the general anesthesia wears off.
How Much Downtime Should You Expect?
The downtime for breast reduction surgery for men is significantly shorter than the same surgery for women. You can expect to have about 2 to 3 weeks of downtime after your treatment is complete. Here are a couple of other things you can expect:
After your surgery, we will give you a list of instructions to follow to help you through a successful recovery. Some post-treatment guidelines include:
- Directions on how to care for the surgery site
- Prescription medications to take
- Advice to avoid certain medications or supplements
- Advice to avoid alcohol or other substances
For the 3 weeks of your recovery, you will be instructed to avoid strenuous movement and excess sweating. You will be able to return to work after two weeks and be able to return to the majority of your normal daily activities after three weeks. During your recovery, you will be asked to wear a compression bandage at all times except when showering.
Reclaim Your Body Confidence With Male Breast Reduction
Stop cracking self-deprecating jokes about your image and start reclaiming your body confidence. If you think that breast reduction might be the right treatment for you, get the best solution in Chicago at afresh(R) Med Spa & Plastic Surgery in Chicago, IL.