Gynecomastia surgery is a cosmetic procedure that is designed to correct excess development or enlarged breast gland tissues in men. This gynecomastia condition can occur during different stages: early childhood, puberty, or even when one is over 60 years.
It can be caused by an imbalance between two hormones, medication side effects, or breast milk in young children. Gynecomastia can either happen to one or both breasts causing pain and discomfort.
A few years ago, gynecomastia was not as popular as it is now. But because the condition can harm one’s self-esteem and cause someone to shy away from public activities, people who are living with this condition are now being advised to come forward or to seek treatment. Depending on the cause, this condition can be identified symptoms such as swollen breasts, breasts discharges, and breast tenderness.
Nowadays, gynecomastia surgery treatment is being regarded as a permanent solution, but there are other ways — medication, avoiding certain medications, and certain illegal substances — that can be as effective.
Doctors measure gynecomastia using grades, and each grade is also an indication of the type of gynecomastia as well as the volume of fatty tissues or excess skin in the patient’s breasts. Articulated below are the four main grades of gynecomastia:
Grade 1/Small enlargement: this type is when the fatty gland tissues are surrounding the areola (the colored area that encircles the nipple).
Grade 2/Moderate enlargement: this is when the fatty gland tissues begin to spreads and go beyond the areola. But it is not yet visible at this point.
Grade 3/Moderate enlargement: At this point, it can be easily noticed as the fatty tissues have expanded and are now covering the whole breast. The male breasts will be appearing to be abnormal and have a feminine look.
Grade 4/Marked enlargement: The male breasts begin to look saggy and droopy —exactly like the breasts of a matured female. Everyone can notice it and the saggy breasts cannot be hidden even by wearing large shirts.
Any male who feels like his breasts are too large can be regarded as an ideal candidate. Children who suffer from the same problem are advised to wait until their breasts have fully developed. But just like in any other surgery, adults who are not in a good health condition are not allowed to undergo the gynecomastia surgery.
ALSO READ: Gynecomastia: Cost Around the World
Before and after the surgery
Many patients tend to overlook this, but it's important to emphasize that Preparation for gynecomastia surgery is as important as the procedure itself. What you do before the surgery can also determine the success of the surgery. So, for your own benefit, it is important to follow the instructions given by your doctor during the consultation session. Here is a list of some of the prior-surgery instructions you may expect:
- Avoiding smoking for about two weeks
- Avoid taking medication such as Aspirins, herbal supplements, and anti-inflammatory drugs
Before the surgery commences, the doctor will start by examining the patient’s health status so as to determine whether the patient does not have any systemic disease that can affect the outcome of the procedure.
Sometimes, the doctor may even order a Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) and also a biopsy of the breast tissues. This is done to make sure that the patient has no testicular cancer since gynecomastia can be one of its symptoms. Depending on the gynecomastia grade, the doctor can go as far as conducting a testicular ultrasound test.
And again, expect a list of instructions from your doctor soon after the surgery, but before we get to that, let’s first point out what will happen after the procedure has been performed.
In some cases, doctors may place a little tube that will help drain any fluids that may be collecting under the skin. The tube will only be there for a day or two, and some patients may just need it for a few hours.
You are expected to return to work after 7 to 10 days, but your doctor will likely advise you to desist from physical exercise or vigorous activities for about three weeks. In 2 to 3 months you will be completely healed.
What will the patient feel after the surgery?
Bandages or other dressings will be used to cover the incisions and to minimize any sort of swelling after the surgery. In case of any discomfort, which is usually rare, your surgeon will prescribe painkillers.
You will also be recommended to wear a compression garment so as to reduce bruising, and this will also help improve the aesthetic outcome. The compression garment has to be worn 24 hours a day for the first 7 days.
What is the post-op routine for Gynecomastia surgery?
For a speedy recovery, and to avoid any complications, patients are recommended to stay dehydrated by taking a lot of fluids. You will still have to avoid smoking and taking alcohol.
The more rest, the quicker will be your recovery. Gym, aerobics, running, and swimming is totally out of bounce.
Gynecomastia can be treated permanently via surgery. If you begin to see any symptoms of this condition, it's best that you get hold of your doctor as soon as possible. Depending on the cause, you can manage the condition in several ways.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in September 2019.