What is gynecomastia?
Is there another way to treat gynecomastia without surgery?
How do I know if I have gynecomastia or something more serious?
The word itself is from the Greek language. It literally translates into “female-like breasts”. The term gynecomastia is used to describe a medical condition that causes the glands and or fatty tissue of the male breasts to enlarge. This causes breasts to appear more like a woman’s breasts rather than the flattened, round male breast. The causes for gynecomastia can be from several sources, but generally it is caused by hormones during the teen years or after the age of 50.
The only solution for treating this condition is with surgical intervention of some kind. Dieting and exercise does not spot reduce the fat or glandular tissue in the male breasts. We use a unique, minimally-invasive laser-assisted technique under local anesthesia to perform male breast reduction. This allows our patients to have the lowest health risks and the most affordable price possible.
If there is excess fatty tissue, SmartLipo laser liposuction is initially performed before the glandular tissue is removed. The glandular tissue is removed via a small incision in the areola area. This combination of minimally-invasive procedures allows for minimal scarring, fast recovery, and the most natural-looking results.
If excessive skin remains (common in patients who have lost a large amount of weight) the excess skin is usually removed at a later time (after healing and allowing some of the skin to retract on its own).
“Other” treatments for gynecomastia such as weight loss pills, dieting, exercising, massaging the areas, or using special creams or lotions cannot resolve an established case of gynecomastia.
Gynecomastia is considered a standalone medical condition and can be divided into three general patient categories:
- Males who develop gynecomastia due to hormonal fluctuations that occur during the teen years or after the age of 50.
- In other patients, the condition is present due to the use of prescription drugs, illicit drugs or anabolic steroids.
- The last category of patients are those who are obese or were once obese and who now have excess breast tissue.
It is vitally important to have a full medical evaluation with lab tests to rule out a more serious health condition such as liver or kidney disease, as these conditions can cause the male breast to enlarge. These major health concerns require more than surgical intervention of the actual breast tissue.
Where is the procedure done?
We have our own AAAHC accredited outpatient surgical center where we perform male breast reduction. This reduces the costs involved with hospital fees because we use our very own facility.
Can gynecomastia be fixed by losing weight?
Diet and exercise, losing weight, or using weight loss pills cannot resolve a case of gynecomastia. The only solution to effectively treat gynecomastia is with male breast reduction surgery. Some patients require fatty tissue removal alone, others need glands removed or reduced, while still others may have excess skin that is also contributing to the enlarged breasts. Many of our patients require one or more of these areas of concern to be addressed to achieve the results they are looking for; a masculine chest contour and shape.
Is there an ideal age for gynecomastia treatment?
If the condition develops during the teen years, patients should wait approximately two years from the onset to see if the condition will resolve on its own. However, we do make exceptions for adolescents if severe mental and emotional anguish is resulting from the condition. In men who have the condition, any age for treatment is appropriate.
What if my gynecomastia is due to substances or medication I am taking?
If the condition has been brought on by the use of anabolic steroids or illicit drugs, use of these substances must be stopped prior to male breast reduction treatment. If they are used again afterward, the gynecomastia will likely recur.
In cases where prescription drugs have caused gynecomastia, Dr. Asare can help you with some suggestions for other prescription drugs that can treat your medical condition without bringing on a recurring case of gynecomastia. Any change of medications must be approved by your primary care physician; Dr. Asare can only provide you with suggestions to bring to your primary doctor.
How much does male breast reduction surgery cost?
We understand that some of our patients may find that they have suffered for years (or do not think they can currently afford) male breast reduction surgery. This is probably not true! At Wall Street Cosmetic Surgery, we have developed treatment for gynecomastia with patient cost in mind. Our unique laser-assisted methods using local anesthesia in our own surgical facilities all work together to reduce the total costs for patients. Additionally, we make it a priority to combine experience, quality treatments and dedication to give patients an affordable cost with the very best results. We offer promotional pricing at times throughout the year to help make it even more affordable.
Patients can expect to pay on average somewhere around $4,800 to $5,800 for male breast reduction surgery, depending upon the extent of correction to be done. Though we do not accept medical insurance as payment for procedures, patients can finance all or part of their treatment cost with our financing options. Please do not let price be an obstacle in receiving treatment as soon as possible; we will always work with you to arrive at a price that you can afford!
Does gynecomastia affect any particular race or ethnic group more than another?
No. Gynecomastia does not occur more in one particular ethnic group or within a specific racial group. Men of any color, ethnic background or race can develop gynecomastia
Will insurance cover my surgery?
Most insurance carriers will not cover any part of gynecomastia surgery because it is considered a cosmetic, appearance-only treatment. Carriers that do provide limited coverage for gynecomastia surgery usually place unreasonably high demands on patients to acquire coverage that many patients give up. Rest assured that we will work with you to arrive at a reasonable final cost for your surgery and can help you apply for financing if you cannot pay for your procedure with cash. We do not accept any form of medical insurance coverage as payment for gynecomastia surgery.
If I am overweight or obese, should I lose weight prior to surgery?
It is advisable to wait to have treatment until you are within a healthy weight range. The reasons for this are several fold; 1. Obesity can increase the health risks of the patient, 2. Losing massive amounts of weight in order to have the surgery is unhealthy, 3. If treatment is done prior to weight loss, the condition may not be resolved after significant weight loss occurs. It is therefore recommended that patients postpone their male breast reduction until after they have arrived at a desired weight and have remained at that weight for several months.
Am I at a higher risk for developing breast cancer if I have gynecomastia?
No. The risk of developing breast cancer at some point in a man’s life is not affected by whether or not they currently have gynecomastia or have had it at some point in their life. Male breast cancer (MBC) occurs in about 1% of all men and usually occurs in men over the age of 60. It occurs slightly more often in Jewish men and is related to genetic factors in those cases. Some specific genetic mutations as well as conditions such as Cowden’s Syndrome, Klinefelter’s, and liver disease have also been linked to whether a man develops breast cancer.
Other causes for male breast cancer can include environmental factors such as where a man works. Factories for steel milling, blast furnaces, and those in the soap, perfume industries as well as exposure to petroleum products and fumes from exhaust can all increase the risks of developing MBC.
If I smoke, can I still have male breast reduction surgery?
Since smoking causes a variety of health issues including the reduction of blood flow to the skin, patients who smoke are not eligible for gynecomastia surgery. If they quit smoking two weeks prior to surgery and do not smoke again afterward, we will agree to perform the procedure.
What are the risks with gynecomastia surgery?
The techniques that we use to perform gynecomastia surgery carry the lowest risk to the patient. However, in some cases, complications still arise. Seroma or bleeding – Blood loss during any surgery is normal and is stopped by the plastic surgeon during the procedure. Rarely, a hematoma, or blood vessel breakage, can occur after the patient is closed up. In these cases, the patient will need to return to our office immediately for an evaluation and possible surgical intervention. A seroma is an accumulation of clear, yellowish fluid in the treatment areas that can occur. This fluid can be removed from the area with a syringe.
Infection – Though very rare, an infection can occur inside of the male breast or at one of the incision sites. As a general rule, we put patients on a round of oral antibiotics immediately following surgery to reduce this risk. Uneven results – This occurs when too much tissue is removed from the treatment areas, resulting in a crater. The best way to prevent this from occurring is by having an experienced surgeon perform the surgery, such as Dr. Asare. We make sure to never remove too much tissue from a patient and to evaluate the treated areas throughout the procedure, making adjustments as necessary, to arrive at the most natural chest contour that is possible for each patient.
Other complications – Scarring, loss of sensation in the nipples, skin discoloration, or uneven breast size or nipple position are included as other risks from surgery. Most times, these complications are temporary and either resolve themselves or lessen over time as the patient heals.
What is the down time after surgery?
Patients are usually able to return to work (non-strenuous in nature) after two days. We require that patients do not engage in strenuous physical activity for about a month after surgery. They will be required to wear a compression garment (resembling a snug vest) for the first week (24 hours per day), then for 12 hours per day for another week. Light physical activity may be resumed a day after surgery but weight lifting or strenuous aerobic activities must be put on hold for four weeks.
Which drugs and prescription medications can cause gynecomastia?
Some prescription medications can produce gynecomastia-like side effects in the male breast tissue. To find a complete listing of these medications, please search online or contact your primary physician to see if medications you are currently taking can cause this side effect.
Illegal drugs that have been shown to produce gynecomastia include anabolic steroids, marijuana and heroin. Some herbal supplements that have estrogenic qualities (those that mimic the female sex hormones) have also been shown to produce gynecomastia in men. In some cases, the gynecomastia resolves itself after the substance is out of the system. For other patients, however, it never goes away and needs to be surgically corrected.
What do you do with the fat and glandular tissue that is removed?
In compliance with New York state laws, we send some of the glandular tissue to a laboratory for testing to rule out cancer or other serious medical situations. The other tissue and fat are disposed of as medical waste.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss a personalized treatment plan for your gynecomastia. Our phone numbers and locations are listed at the top of our contact page for your convenience.
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