Nick’s tale of gynecomastia and male breast reduction is not exactly what you’d call “typical.” While he did develop the condition as a teen, as many men do, that’s where similarities to other men’s experiences stop.
The first thing that stands out about Nick’s journey is that the feel of the unusual tissue initially disturbed him more than its appearance. Looking back ten years ago, Nick remembers occasions when he was self-conscious, such as the time he taped his puffy nipples down so they wouldn’t show under a white shirt. But more than anything, Nick’s breasts bothered him because they were chronically tender. “They chafed under my lacrosse pads,” he recalls.
He went to see his primary care physician, who then sent him to a general surgeon. Perhaps because Nick saw a general surgeon instead of a plastic surgeon, insurance covered his breast gland excision. This is almost unheard of in the world of man boobs. Unfortunately, Nick’s experience with gynecomastia did not end there, as the surgeon removed some of the excess breast tissue but not enough. In fact, Nick ended up a bit lopsided and went back to see the surgeon again for a second try about a year later. That operation was not a complete success either.
Photo by Riley Kaminer, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.
The surgeries led to rising self-consciousness for Nick and inspired him to undertake a great deal of research. He read everything he could find on the Internet and the one book he ran across on gynecomastia. He transformed from a young man who did not know much about enlarged male breasts into an expert. Nick considered whether he might have contributed in some ways to his man boobs. The answer he arrived at was “probably not.” He had his hormone levels tested to see if something was out of whack enough to cause breast growth. Again the answer was, “unlikely.”
Growing awareness also sparked conflicting feelings about his surgical results. After the two operations, Nick felt he didn’t look “that bad,” and he recalls that at this point he “kind of expected to have a weird looking chest.” He also remembers feeling somewhat guilty about even considering a third operation, especially knowing it would cost him some hard-earned money. By this time he knew that finding a plastic surgeon who specialized in gynecomastia was a must, and that he would be on his own in terms of paying for it.
At the same time he felt he didn’t look terrible, Nick – who admits to having a neurotic streak – hated the thought that there was “foreign” tissue in his chest. He tended to dwell on the gynecomastia and viewed it as something that shouldn’t be there. He longed to “close the chapter” on this episode of his life.
Nick started saving up for revision gynecomastia surgery and arranged consultations with four or five plastic surgeons. Commenting on his choice of Dr. Jacobs, Nick says, “When he described what he wanted to do, it made a lot of sense.” Dr. Jacobs’ surgical plan included liposuction with a specialized contouring cannula, plus a small incision around the nipple on Nick’s one side that was larger than the other.
Surgery went well, and “I was pretty happy from the start,” Nick says. Although the typical post-op swelling did not let him see exactly what his final results would look like, Nick said he could tell right away that everything would turn out well. Today he says his chest looks “close to perfect” with normal contours, just two tiny red marks on the sides of his chest and an incision line around one nipple that’s nearly invisible.
Has Nick finally closed the book on gynecomastia now that a year has passed? Not really, and here’s why. “It’s not off my mind because every day I am happy about it,” he says. “I feel happier day by day.”