Gynecomastia (Male Breast Reduction)
Gynecomastia is the medical term for male breast enlargement. Male breast reduction surgery is also often called gynecomastia surgery. In Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Ronald J. Johnson specializes in male breast reduction surgery for both adults and teenagers when appropriate.
If you are considering gynecomastia surgery, request a consultation online to meet with Dr. Johnson at his Germantown location, or call (901) 737-1050 and one of our friendly staff members will help schedule an appointment.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
When does someone consider male breasts enlarged? That becomes a matter of personal viewpoint. What causes the enlargement is a medical question that you should have answered by a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Gynecomastia may be present unilaterally (in one breast) or bilaterally (both breasts) and is characterized by:
- Excess localized fat
- Excess glandular tissue development
- A combination of both excess fat and glandular tissue
As much as we might wish, no man is likely to be as flat in the chest area as we might envision. If a man exercises the upper body regularly, some development of the pectoral muscles will, and should, occur. The more exercise someone performs, the more muscle development. But using anabolic steroids to help increase muscle mass, however, may also lead to the development of the breast gland.
Heredity also plays a part in male breast development, just as it does for women. These are causes of the breast gland being abnormally large. Of course, the breast area itself may be enlarged because of excessive fat accumulation. As a rule, fat deposits itself in the breast area in coordination with fat deposits elsewhere in the body. In other words, someone who's overweight will often have enlarged breasts caused by excess fat.
Whatever the cause of increased breast size in males, it is undesirable when it is excessive. When a man is large enough in the breast region that he is inhibited from playing sports or going without a T-shirt on the beach, he should seek help. The surgical solution is optimal for a man who has his weight under control, is generally in good condition, but still has sufficient breast enlargement that it causes embarrassment.
In your consultation, Dr. Johnson discusses the various ways to treat gynecomastia and recommends what he considers the best way to approach your particular case after a physical examination. Liposuction is usually the best treatment when excess fatty tissue is the reason for the overly developed breasts.
Dr. Johnson often uses VASERlipo® for male breast reduction. VASERlipo uses ultrasound technology to liquefy fat, making it easier to remove using specialized, thin tubes called cannulas.
When glandular tissue is the primary cause of gynecomastia, Dr. Johnson makes an incision and surgically removes the tissue. He may also remove excess skin and reduce the size of the areola, the dark skin surrounding the nipple. And when needed, he can move the nipple to a position that's more appropriate for the contour of a man's chest.
In some cases, Dr. Johnson combines liposuction with surgical excision of glandular tissue to get the best possible results.
Dr. Johnson may recommend using liposuction. Excess fatty tissue is the primary reason for overly developed breasts.
When glandular breast tissue is the reason for gynecomastia, surgical excision is the best treatment. Gynecomastia surgery removes the tissue and excess skin, if needed. It can also reduce the size of the areola and reposition the nipple.
The nature of your recovery depends on the treatment used to correct the gynecomastia. Liposuction is less invasive than surgical excision, which means that the recovery time is generally much shorter. In addition, VASERlipo is gentler than traditional liposuction because the movement of the cannula isn't as vigorous.
If Dr. Johnson surgically removes glandular tissue, expect to take at least a week off from work (depending on the physical nature of your job.) You should avoid any heavy lifting for at least 2 weeks. Healing must be complete before engaging in vigorous exercise.
Does Insurance Pay for Gynecomastia Surgery?
Health insurance policies usually don't cover the costs of male breast reduction surgery for adults. In certain cases, with a lot of advance planning and consultation with the insurance company, all or some of the cost for the procedure is covered when the patient is an adolescent. Meeting this requirement often requires that the patient has already been treated by an endocrinologist (a specialist who focuses on treating conditions related to glands that secrete hormones), who then referred him to a plastic surgeon.