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Company logo: Elliot W. Jacobs, MD, FACS - Diplomate, American Board Of Plastic Surgery

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Will Gynecomastia Surgery Make Me an Opioid Addict?

gynecomastia New York

In our thirty years of performing gynecomastia surgery in New York, we’ve noticed that it can take men a while to come around to the idea that the procedure may be a good choice. Obstacles can range from concern about just how they will look after healing to the simple notion that cosmetic surgery is for other people, not for them.

Now that opioid addiction has claimed a spotlight in the U.S., we’re thinking this could present yet another hurdle for some guys. They may be wondering, “Will I become addicted to painkillers if I have male breast reduction? Should I reject the notion of gynecomastia surgery so I don’t risk becoming hooked on opioids?”

Are these questions rattling around in your brain?

The simple answer is that you really don’t need to worry about it. The chance you might have trouble with pain medication if you elect man boob surgery is tiny. But there’s more to know than just that. Read on if you would like to understand the basics of opioids and plastic surgery.

Fundamentals to Know

Here’s one key fact about painkillers that many people do not realize: addiction is not the same as dependence. Primary care physicians and orthopedists regularly prescribe opioids to help people manage chronic pain, and those patients often do become physically dependent. What this means is they need the medication on a regular basis for reasonable quality of life, and should they stop taking it suddenly they will experience withdrawal symptoms.

People who are addicted to various drugs, explains HealthCentral, exhibit behaviors such as:

• Poor control over use
• Compulsive use
• Cravings
• Continued use in spite of physical or other harm done

People who use painkillers for an extended period of time (following orthopedic surgery, for example) or indefinitely may indeed be dependent, but only a few can be said to be addicted, according to HealthCentral.

Gynecomastia Surgery and Opioids

While man boob surgery cannot be described as “non-invasive,” it is not nearly as traumatic for the body as many other types of surgery. What we do for our New York gynecomastia patients is sculpt skin, fat and breast gland outside the body cavity. There’s no trauma to the bones, and in the vast majority of cases we don’t touch muscles either. Therefore the recovery process involves just mild to perhaps moderate discomfort.

We do prescribe opioid pain relievers for most patients; some take them for a day or a few days (many guys don’t take them at all). There’s virtually no risk of becoming even physically dependent on the medication in that amount of time, let alone addicted.

What Does This Mean for You?

As you can see, most guys do not need to worry about suffering ill effects from prescription painkillers following gynecomastia surgery. With that said, this is a topic that should be covered during your consultation appointment. You should be sure to tell your plastic surgeon if you have ever had a problem tolerating prescription pain medication.

Also, be honest with your doctor about everything you take, from vitamins to supplements to street drugs. In this way, your plastic surgeon can be a true partner in your safety and well-being.

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