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Mondor’s Syndrome, a Rare Gynecomastia Complication

Mondor's syndrome after gynecomastia surgery

If you’re one of those guys who insists on being aware of every detail related to gynecomastia surgery, here’s a rare possible complication for your list: Mondor’s syndrome (sometimes called Mondor’s disease or Mondor disease). If your drive for knowledge is based on worry, like a few of our New York man boobs patients, we hate to add fuel to the fire. On the other hand, some folks in medicine speculate that the condition is rare because it’s underreported, so here goes.

According to the American Journal of Roentgenology (radiography):

Mondor’s disease of the breast is a rare benign breast condition characterized by thrombophlebitis of the superficial veins of the chest wall.

Translation: The condition was first described by Henri Mondor, a French surgeon and author, in 1939. Thrombophlebitis, according to the Mayo Clinic, is an inflammatory process that causes a blood clot that blocks one or more veins. And in this case, the word superficial means “near the surface.”

So, as a potential complication following male breast reduction, Mondor’s syndrome would mean a clot in one of the veins of the chest just under the surface of the skin. Here’s a clear diagram from Medscape showing the veins of the chest wall that could be affected.

Don’t Panic, Read On!

The first reason not to panic is that we do believe the odds of you developing Mondor’s syndrome due to gynecomastia surgery are miniscule. We have seen only two or three cases in the thousands of New York man boobs patients we’ve treated. And although surgery has been suggested as a probable cause, along with chest trauma, hormone therapy, breast cancer and others, researchers believe most cases are idiopathic (meaning having no known cause).

In addition, many more women than men present with Mondor’s syndrome. This could be because it is sometimes associated with breast cancer.

Medical professionals also characterize Mondor’s syndrome as “self-limiting.” This means it resolves over time on its own.

Symptoms of Mondor’s Syndrome

People who develop Mondor’s syndrome commonly notice pain in their chest, which can be distressing. If it’s located just beneath the skin, and if there’s subcutaneous cording that can be tender to go along with the discomfort, it’s quite possible Mondor’s syndrome is the culprit rather than something more concerning. Some people head to the emergency room, and indeed you should seek care if there’s any doubt about where the pain is coming from. And women who develop pain in or near their breasts should check in with their physician to rule out breast cancer.

So, you may wonder, if it’s a blood clot that clogs a vein, why isn’t it dangerous? The simple reason is that Mondor’s syndrome develops in veins near the surface of the body, rather than deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which can indeed be life threatening. DVT clots often start deep in the veins of the legs, and they can travel up to the chest and cause pain, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and related symptoms. It can occur after surgery if you’re inactive for a long period. That’s why doctors want you up and moving as soon as you can, and sometimes will have you wear compression stockings.

Mondor’s Syndrome After Gynecomastia Surgery

We have responded to a guy on gynecomastia.org who apparently developed Mondor’s syndrome following male breast reduction. Along with our gynecomastia specialist colleagues, we advised anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen and warm compresses.

If one of our New York man boobs patients were to have pain that could be Mondor’s syndrome, we would advise him to call us right away. We’d ask about symptoms and perhaps have a look at his chest via Facetime, Skype or another electronic method. If cording was obvious and the discomfort superficial and mild, we might advise care at home until the next follow up appointment. In the case of more troublesome discomfort or any question at all, we would have the patient come in right away or even visit the hospital. Mondor’s syndrome is not serious, but we always err on the side of caution.

There you have it! If you would like us to take a look at your case of man boobs in New York, give us a call at 212-570-6080 today.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

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