The presence of “man boobs” is at the top of many men’s lists of fears. For men, having excess tissue or fat in the breast area causes significant damage to their confidence and self-image. These insecurities can cause men to shy away in social and intimate interactions, which can ultimately have a negative impact on their quality of life. While it is still a cause of embarrassment for many men, it is important to remember that gynecomastia is far more common than you would expect, with the majority of men experiencing some form of gynecomastia at some point in their lifetime. And while gynecomastia sometimes remedies itself with time, it must be surgically handled other times. Gynecomastia surgery is available for men who suffer from gynecomastia-related insecurities.
Gynecomastia can be present for many different reasons, but they all relate to the imbalance of testosterone in the body. Gynecomastia can be caused by hormonal changes, such as the ones found during puberty or later in life. One of the most significant causes of gynecomastia, however, is the use of anabolic steroids. These steroids introduce estrogen into the body, which has a direct impact on testosterone levels. While quitting steroid use may lessen the appearance of gynecomastia, it often needs to be surgically addressed. Other causes of gynecomastia include alcohol and marijuana abuse, use of certain medications, and health conditions such as hyperthyroidism.
Types of Gynecomastia
There are two types of gynecomastia: gynecomastia that is due to excess fat and gynecomastia that is due to excess tissue. Gynecomastia that is made up of excess fat is common amongst adolescent men who are going through puberty and hormonal changes. This type of gynecomastia may go away on its own or can be lessened with exercise, but most often is handled with gynecomastia surgery. The other type of gynecomastia is the presence of excess breast tissue. This tissue forms with steroid use, alcohol abuse, or genetics. Unfortunately, exercise will not affect the excess breast tissue, and therefore, must be surgically removed.
Just as there are different forms of gynecomastia, there are also different treatment options. Gynecomastia that is the result of excess fat can be treated through liposuction or Smartlipo®. Liposuction uses a small cannula to remove excess fat from the breast area. If the removal of this fat results in loose or excess skin, that skin must then be surgically removed. Smartlipo® is available for men with a lesser degree of gynecomastia. This laser-assisted liposuction device can remove excess fat while tightening skin to eliminate the need for surgical excision. For men with excess breast tissue, liposuction will not affect the tissue. In these circumstances, excess breast tissue and excess breast skin are surgically removed.
Your gynecomastia recovery will depend on the techniques used during your treatment. Smartlipo® provides the fastest and most comfortable recovery as no skin or tissue was surgically removed. For men who underwent traditional liposuction or surgical excision, the recovery period is typically around six weeks for all post-operative swelling to subside. Men can usually return to work within three to five days, and return to their regular exercise routines after five weeks.
If you are feeling insecure about your chest appearance and want to consider gynecomastia surgery, please contact Dr. O’Toole at (626) 449-8910 to set up a consultation.