Gynecomastia is a medical term that comes from the Greek words for “woman-like breasts.”
Although it is not often talked about, gynecomastia is more common than you may think, affecting an estimated 40 to 60 percent of men. In some men it affects both breasts, in some only one.
Certain drugs and medical problems have been linked to male breast overdevelopment, but in most cases there is no known cause.
If you have overdeveloped breasts and feel self-conscious about the appearance of your chest, a recently developed surgical technique called tumescent method liposuction can correct the problem. Liposuction is an effective tool for the permanent removal of these localized excess fatty tissues and can restore a slimmer, more masculine chest contour.
Deciding if surgery is right for you
The ideal candidate for liposuction is a healthy man with localized areas of fat deposits in the breast area that are disproportionate to the rest of the chest.
- If you are obese or overweight, you will be advised to attempt to correct the problem with weight loss before considering surgery.
- Men who drink alcohol to excess or smoke marijuana are usually also not considered good candidates for the surgery.
Preparing for your surgery
At your initial consultation, your surgeon will take a complete medical history. Having your surgeon know about your medical background is very important, so please be sure to provide all the information you can.
If you decide to proceed with treatment, your surgeon will give you specific instructions, including guidelines on eating, drinking and taking certain vitamins and medications.
Because smoking decreases circulation and interferes with proper healing, you surgeon will also instruct you to stop smoking for a minimum of one to two weeks before your surgery and during your recovery.
Understand the procedure
Liposuction for gynecomastia may be performed under either general or local anaesthesia. Your surgeon will see you before the operation to answer any questions you may have and to draw some reference lines on the areas slated for liposuction.
- If your procedure is being done under local anaesthesia, you will be given antibiotic and sedative tablets before it begins and a small needle will be placed in one of your veins so you can be given sedation.
- If your surgery is being done under a general anaesthetic you will proceed directly to the operating theatre once your surgeon has spoken with you.
In the theatre, your skin will be cleaned with iodine and you will receive an injection of local anaesthetic, after which several small (2-3mm) incisions will be made in the skin. A solution containing an anaesthetic and a substance to help prevent bruising will then be injected into the fat through these incisions.
Once the area is fully numbed, the fat is removed using a fine needle, called a cannula, which is attached by tubing to a strong suction machine.
- If your liposuction is being performed under local anaesthesia you will be asked to change position from time to time to give the surgeon better access to fat deposits. You will also be asked to stand several times so the progress of the procedure can be assessed.
- When the procedure is over, absorbent pads and a pressure garment will be applied and you'll be taken to your room.
Recovering from your surgery
Most patients stay in hospital overnight, however you may go home if you choose once the effects of your anaesthetic or sedation have worn off.
- You will be given written post-operative instructions and a follow-up appointment will be arranged for you in six weeks.
- You will also be given painkillers and antibiotics.
- Should you choose to go home, you will need to arrange transport as you will not be able to drive for 24 hours.
You can expect your recovery to be rapid but there will be some swelling and bruising of the treated area. You can help reduce this by wearing a firm support garment for at least three days or until the fluid drainage stops.
The worst of the swelling will subside in the first few weeks, however it may be as much as two months before the full effect of the surgery is apparent.
- It is common to experience some numbness or tingling of the skin soon after your procedure but this should settle rapidly.
- It is important not to engage in vigorous activities for the first five days after surgery.
- You may return to work and resume most of your normal activities after three weeks and begin to exercise after six.
Evaluating risks and complications
Liposuction is an extremely safe procedure and most patients are extremely satisfied. However, as with all surgical procedures complications sometimes occur.
- Infection is rare and you will be given antibiotics during your procedure and for five days afterwards.
- There will be small (2-3mm) scars which will initially be red. Over a number of weeks, however, these should fade to fine white lines. It is important to keep your scars out of direct sunlight until they have faded as exposing them to sunlight can affect skin pigmentation, causing the scars to turn dark. If sun exposure is unavoidable, you will need to use a strong sun block.
- Following liposuction, the skin retracts, however in some people - particularly those who are older - it may not retract fully. If this happens, the excess skin may need to be removed at a later date.
- There is the possibility of skin irregularities, however this is minimized by the use of very fine needles.
If you'd like to know more about male breast reduction (gynecomastia), download our gynecomastia brochure.
To book your consultation get in touch online or call our office on 01803 321631.
Pre and post operative information for Gynecomastia
Avoiding drugs & foods that cause bleeding or do not mix with other drugs:
- Aspirin, Ibuprofen (or other similar drugs called NSAIDs) or medication containing such drugs should not be taken within a minimum of seven days prior to surgery.
- Vitamin E tablets or moisturisers should not be used a minimum of seven days before surgery.
- Alcohol, particularly red wine, should be avoided for 2 days prior to surgery.
- Dietary Supplements such as garlic tablets & powder, ginkgo biloba, willow bark extracts, feverfew (Chrysanthemum/Tanacetum parthenium) and St Johns Wort should be avoided for at least 4-5 days before surgery.
Arnica Tablets (a homeopathic remedy that will help to minimise bruising and swelling) should be taken. Two tablets three times per day sucked or chewed (not swallowed) for seven days prior to surgery and seven days after surgery. Please purchase 84 tablets (6X 14 days) from your chemist.
- Sunbathe for one week prior to surgery.
- Smoking. If you smoke we recommend that you stop before your surgery. Nicotine reduces the healing process by encouraging infection and poor circulation.
- Have anything to eat or drink for at least 6 hours before surgery. Anything by mouth could cancel or postpone your surgery.
- Tell us of any medications you are taking.
- The morning or evening prior to surgery you are requested to wash your hair and take a shower.
- Arrange for transport to and from the hospital. Perhaps include a pillow and blanket in the car for your comfort postoperatively.
- Arrange for someone to stay with you at home for 24 hours after your surgery.
- Prepare for your return to your own home
- Remove any potential obstacles from bed to bathroom.
- Choose your favourite magazines or book for your bedside table.
- Gather extra pillows for comfort and / or elevation.
- Remove nail polish, contact lenses, jewellery and all makeup whilst at home.
- Bring loose fitting, front opening, and comfortable clothing to wear home.
Day of surgery
- Please arrive at your specified admission time and make allowances for traffic delays.
- You will be admitted by our nurse who will assist you with your pre operative forms.
- Mr. Yelland will meet with you to review your surgery. He will be able to address any of your concerns. Our anaesthetist will meet with you prior to surgery.
- You will be given the anaesthesia that is the most appropriate for you.
- Driving: Do not drive during the first week to ten days after surgery.
- Keep your wound dry for at least 2 days after your operation. Wounds are waterproof after this time but do not soak in a bath or use bubble bath or soap on the wounds. A shower is best after which the wounds can be dabbed dry with a towel.
- You are advised to limit your activities to avoid unnecessary bleeding. Avoid strenuous exercise.
- Discomfort & Tiredness. Moderate discomfort is to be expected. You can expect your most discomfort the second night and third day after surgery. Listen to your body. You have experienced a major surgical procedure. Rest when it tells you to rest.
- You will be given a course of antibiotics to combat infection. Do complete the course.
- No alcohol should be taken for 48 hours after surgery.
- We discourage smoking for 48 hours at least.
- Do not use any electrically operated machinery or appliances for first 48 hours after surgery because of the effects of anaesthesia.
- Do not take on any serious decision making for 48 hours.
- Continue taking Arnica as instructed.
- Do not sunbathe for 6 weeks postoperatively.
- Aspirin, Ibuprofen (or other similar drugs called NSAIDs) or medication containing such drugs should not be taken for seven days after surgery.
- Vitamin E tablets or moisturisers should not be used a minimum of seven days after surgery.
- Dietary Supplements such as garlic tablets & powder, ginkgo biloba, willow bark extracts, feverfew (Chrysanthemum/Tanacetum parthenium) and St Johns Wort should be avoided for at least 4-5 days after surgery.