A Gynecomastia Primer
Having worked with guys with gynecomastia in New York for more than three decades, we’re accustomed to taking deep dives into the subject in our blog. Everything from the best compression garments to surgery statistics to areola reduction—you name it, we’ve covered it.
We think it’s a good idea to step back once in a while and write a piece that can serve as an introduction to gynecomastia, too. If you’re new to researching the topic, this post is for you.
Causes of Gynecomastia
Mayo Clinic, the most likely times for this to happen during a man’s life is in infancy, puberty and when a man approaches old age (approximately between ages 50 to 70). Gynecomastia can also be triggered by substances that alter natural hormone balances. These include medications that treat cancer, depression, HIV, heart disease, baldness and other conditions. Street drugs (including marijuana) and anabolic steroids can also prompt the growth of breast tissue, says the Mayo Clinic, as can alcohol use. Some cosmetic products, such as those containing lavender, are thought to contribute to gynecomastia as well.
Certain health conditions include enlarged breasts as a possible symptom. Some of those directly influence testosterone production, such as Klinefelter’s syndrome. Others include kidney failure, liver failure, hyperthyroidism and obesity.
How Gynecomastia Cases Develop
For those affected by natural hormone swings, the prognosis is mixed. Enlarged breasts in male infants generally don’t last. When a young man develops gynecomastia in puberty, most cases settle down in a few months to two years—but not all. We find that no matter what the patient’s age, whether 12 years or 18, if he has suffered with moobs for at least two years, they will not disappear on their own. Guys who develop gynecomastia in later years can find enlarged breasts to be temporary or permanent.
It’s tough to generalize about the prognosis of any case of gynecomastia, but generally we’ve found that man boobs triggered by medications and other substances do not tend to subside on their own. This seems to be the case even when use of the triggering substance is discontinued. Once breast tissue grows, it’s often there to stay.
If you’re just learning about male breast enlargement, we suggest you visit the forums on gynecomastia.org to hear from guys in their own words. You’ll discover that men cope with their case of moobs in a variety of ways. Some learn to live with it and even embrace it. Some work hard to keep their breasts under wraps with compression garments, layers of shirts, even taping and binding. Some guys have tried over-the-counter “remedies” that never work. A few dabble with medications like tamoxifen, which is used for breast cancer patients, even though the FDA has not approved tamoxifen for this purpose and results are uncertain.
Today, the one and only sure fire way to get rid of man boobs is male breast reduction surgery. Done properly, the procedure sculpts both breast tissue and fat, re-creating masculine contours in a safe, straightforward operation.
Male Breast Reduction Surgery
For our patients in New York, gynecomastia surgery is usually performed under safe “twilight anesthesia” so they can avoid the ill effects of general anesthesia. We usually make a small nick in the side of the chest and use slim instruments of our own design to remove just the right amount of breast tissue and sculpt an even layer of fat under the skin. The procedure takes an hour to an hour and a half for most patients. Recovery involves some swelling, bruising and often two or three days of discomfort akin to an intense muscle burn. Painkillers for a few days as well as antibiotics help ensure that the process goes smoothly. Most men can go back to light work in a few days to a week.
Key to great results from gynecomastia surgery is choosing a great surgeon. We advocate that prospective patients seek a board certified plastic surgeon but don’t stop there. While the procedure is straightforward, it takes considerable experience and skill to get the contours right. For the best outcome, guys should find a professional with several years of gynecomastia surgery and many hundreds of happy patients to his or her credit.
We’ve just scratched the surface to present this overview of gynecomastia to you. There are many additional factors to consider! From insurance coverage to scarring to puffy nipples and much more—we know them all. If we can help you, please send us a message.