Achieving Symmetry in Gynecomastia Surgery
Something we expect every one of our New York gynecomastia patients to ask is whether he will look natural after surgery. An attractive chest involves a number of physical attributes, and one of the most important is symmetry. What patients often don’t realize is that perfect symmetry can be tricky to achieve, and the patient’s own chest characteristics contribute to the challenge.
While the majority of our male breast reduction patients have a chest structure that can be viewed as “normal,” a few men are more unique. And the more a patient’s body is a bit different than that of the average guy, the more the surgical strategy must be adjusted to achieve as much symmetry as possible–but patients must realize that absolute symmetry is very difficult to achieve.
For instance, some patients present with a measure of scoliosis, or curved backbone. For these men, the spine/rib cage foundation for chest muscles, fat and skin is already asymmetric. Others have a straight spine with slight rib cage asymmetry, with one side flatter or wider than the other side.
It’s also not unusual for some of our New York gynecomastia patients to exhibit sternum deformities. The most common one, called pectus excavatum, is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a condition in which the breastbone is “sunken into the chest,” causing the chest itself to bow inward. The opposite condition, sometimes called “pigeon chest,” is pectus carinatum. In this case, the sternum projects outward.
A few patients we see have different sized chest muscles. In some cases, their pre-surgery appearance does not reveal this problem. It may be only after surgery, when the excess tissue has been removed, that the actual muscle or skeletal asymmetry is “unmasked.” In some cases, the disparity between the two sides of the chest is quite noticeable prior to male breast reduction. The most dramatic condition is called Poland’s syndrome in which one side of the chest does not develop.
If you have one or more of these conditions, does that mean you should not pursue treatment for man boobs? Not at all. No matter what your pre-op chest is like, plastic surgery should achieve vast improvement for you. But these variations in the male physique are yet another reason why it’s so critical that patients seek a highly experienced, board certified gynecomastia surgeon. Only when a plastic surgeon has performed hundreds of procedures will he or she have operated on men with a variety of chest shapes.
In consultation with a prospective gynecomastia surgeon, ask questions like these:
- Does the structure of my chest fall within normal ranges?
- If not, do you see any congenital conditions I should be aware of?
- If I’m “normal,” is there still asymmetry I should know about before surgery?
The fact is, whether a congenital deformity is present or not, most people’s torsos (and faces) have at least some asymmetry to begin with. In fact, in nature, absolute mirror-image symmetry is exceedingly rare. We find it’s quite comon for patients to notice they’re not 100% identical from side to side after surgery. That’s partly due to the fact that no one’s body is “perfect,” and partly because post-op patients scrutinize their physiques like never before!