Gynecomastia occurs most often in adolescence, and statistics show the numbers are between 30-60% of men will develop some form of enlarged breasts in their lifetime. Adolescence is also when gynecomastia can have the most profound effect on a males emotional well-being, often leading to low-self esteem issues and embarrassment. The other area where gynecomastia is prevalent is in old age, when men experience a decrease in their levels of testosterone and skin elasticity.
At The Plastic Surgery Center of Nashville, Mary Gingrass, MD and Melinda Haws, MD routinely treat these problems, and with an artistic eye and skill, they are truly changing lives!
What is Gynecomastia?
The condition often begins in the teen years. Gynecomastia is triggered by a decrease in the amount of the hormone testosterone compared with estrogen. The hormone imbalance can be caused by a variety of medications, even steroids or supplements.
In most cases, the swollen breast tissue will go away without treatment within six months to two years. However, surgery may be necessary to truly achieve the desired appearance.
Initially your doctor will ask questions about your medical and drug history and what health conditions run in your family. Testing includes a physical exam, blood work and mammograms to determine the cause of your gynecomastia.
Even with minimal breast tissue enlargement, an enlarged areolar diameter tends to produce a feminized breast/chest appearance. For patients with this condition, an areolar reduction can be performed in addition to direct excision of breast tissue and liposuction. This requires an incision, and the patient must be willing to accept a scar.
“The surgical procedure can often be done under a local anesthetic and it’s a super easy fix,” says Mary Gingrass, MD.
Treatment for Gynecomastia
For most men with gynecomastia, liposuction is the treatment of choice at The Plastic Surgery Center of Nashville. Both fat and breast tissue can be removed with ultrasonic liposuction.
Ultrasonic liposuction is particularly advantageous in the treatment of fibrous fatty areas because the ultrasonic energy can be manipulated to treat both the fat and the breast tissue as needed.
The gynecomastia surgery takes about one hour to perform and includes two small incisions. It can be done as an outpatient procedure and there is minimal discomfort involved.
Board certified plastic surgeons Dr. Gingrass and Dr. Haws will help patients determine whether they are a good candidate for liposuction surgery.
“Men come to us explaining how they’ve been ‘dressing around’ the enlarged breast tissue their whole life,” says Melinda Haws, MD. “They tell us how happy they are that something can be done about it!”