Some men have enlarged breasts due to weight gain or a genetic condition called gynecomastia. Male breast reduction surgery in Washington, D.C. at West End Plastic Surgery is a safe and effective procedure. Dr. Paul G. Ruff IV and our team of surgeons work with you to determine the best way to decrease the size of your breasts and enhance your chest’s appearance.
If you feel self-conscious and are looking in Washington, D.C. for a surgeon to perform male breast reduction, request a consultation online.
What Is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a condition that results in the overdevelopment of fat deposits in male breasts. These growths resemble the appearance of female breasts, resulting in a lack of confidence and self-esteem issues in men. This is a common condition that most commonly occurs in teenage boys due to hormone changes but can continue into adulthood. Gynecomastia is often attributed to excess weight and many men do not seek treatment. Unfortunately, a good diet and exercise are not a solution to male breast development. The best treatment for this condition is male breast reduction.
Symptoms of Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia is often attributed to excess weight gain. The main symptom of this condition is the development of breast-like growths on the male chest. In many cases, gynecomastia is presented as a rubber-like firm mass of flesh beneath the nipple. Male breasts tend to be more sensitive than usual, and measure at least two inches in diameter. If you experience any of these symptoms, and cannot seem to get rid of male breasts after weight loss, you may suffer from gynecomastia.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia can occur either in the teenage years or when men reach middle age and above. Both ages are a time of fluctuating hormones. Below is a list of possible causes and influences of gynecomastia in men:
- Anxiety drugs
- Heavy drinking
- Marijuana use
- Weight gain
- Hormone fluctuations
Due to their heavy hormone concentration, steroids are a major cause of gynecomastia in men. Gynecomastia affects three out of four teenage boys. The high levels of estrogen and testosterone cause the fatty deposits to settle on their chests, leaving the appearance of breasts.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Male Breast Reduction?
If dieting and muscle toning exercises haven’t reduced the size of your breasts and you are generally in good health, you may be an ideal candidate for male breast reduction surgery. Men from Alexandria, Reston, and throughout the D.C. region often choose surgery to correct gynecomastia. It’s important to understand the limitations of breast reduction surgery and to have a clear picture of what your chest area will look like after the procedure.
Before meeting with one of our Board Certified Plastic Surgeons at their plastic surgery office, you’ll want to be certain that your gynecomastia is not caused by another medical condition. Visit your family doctor to rule out any conditions, such as hormonal imbalances, that may be causing your enlarged breast tissue. Be aware that certain lifestyle choices, such as the use of steroids or marijuana, can also cause or contribute to enlargement of male breasts. If your family doctor or internist rule out any underlying medical cause for enlargement of your breast tissue, surgery could be an appropriate treatment path.
Washington, D.C. Male Breast Reduction Consultation
At your consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your chest area and breasts and review your cosmetic goals and expectations for male breast reduction and review all the options available to you.
Your surgeon and the team at West End Plastic Surgery will:
- Review the various breast reduction options with you
- Clearly discuss the potential risks of the procedure
- Outline in detail how male breast reduction is performed and what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure
- Provide detailed cost and payment information
- Answer all your questions
You will be asked to provide:
- Details about your medical history
- A list of all medications you currently take, including over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and all vitamins and herbal supplements, including steroid injections
- Information regarding your tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use
Gynecomastia Surgery Procedure
Your breast reduction procedure is performed in our on-site state-of-the-art surgical suite. You’ll appreciate the additional care, attention, and safety of our surgical suite, where our surgeons have all the latest technologies and equipment updates available to serve your needs.
The procedure generally takes 1 to 2 hours to complete and may be performed either under general anesthesia or with local anesthesia with sedation. Our team does everything possible to ensure your comfort during the procedure and your happiness with the outcome.
If your enlarged breasts consist primarily of excessive fatty tissue, we may use VASERlipo™ liposuction. If excess glandular tissue is the primary cause, the tissue may be cut out with a scalpel. This excision may be performed alone or in conjunction with liposuction.
During an excision procedure, the incision is made either on the edge of the nipple (areola) or in the underarm area. The surgeon carefully removes excess glandular tissue, fat, and skin from around the pigmented area surrounding the areola and from the sides and bottom of the breast by working through as small an incision as possible. Major reductions that involve the removal of a significant amount of tissue and skin may require larger incisions and more visible scars, but it’s always our team’s goal to keep scarring to a minimum.
For liposuction-only breast reduction, your surgeon will likely make a small incision of less than a half-inch in length around the edge of the areola, or they may make the incision in the underarm area. You may feel a vibration or some friction during the procedure, but generally no pain.
Sometimes a small drain is inserted through a separate incision to remove excess fluids after the procedure is completed. Once closed, the area is covered with a dressing. The chest may be wrapped to keep the skin firmly in place.
We’re as thrilled with our patients’ results as they are. Check out our before-and-after photo gallery and see for yourself the kind of work our talented surgeons do.
Resuming Normal Activities After Male Breast Reduction Surgery
Everyone heals at different rates, and you are the best judge of when you are ready for certain activities, but the following are general guidelines:
- You can most likely return to work or school within 2 or 3 days after your procedure, unless your work is strenuous.
- You can resume driving as soon as you experience no pain when you turn the steering wheel, usually within a week for cars with power steering and a little longer for manual steering.
- Two weeks after surgery, you can begin to sleep without the special elastic garment you will have been wearing. However, you should continue to wear this garment during the day for 4 weeks after your surgery.
- Strenuous exercise can begin in about 3 weeks after surgery. Our patients are encouraged to plan an exercise program and discuss it with the staff prior to resuming exercise.
- The scars on your chest should be protected from sunlight for at least a year after surgery.
What to Expect Immediately After Gynecomastia Surgery
In most cases, you will be ready to go home shortly after the procedure. You will need to have someone drive you home after the surgery because you may be a bit sleepy after the anesthesia.
During surgery, your breasts will have been covered with a gauze dressing and a surgical compression garment to help hold your newly contoured chest in the correct position. A small tube called a drain may be inserted into each breast to help drain off excess fluid; you will be given instructions on how to care for the drains, which are removed within a few days of surgery.
What to Expect 1-2 Days Post Male Breast Reduction
During the first 24 to 48 hours after your procedure, you may feel tired from the anesthesia and sore from the surgery. Dr. Ruff may prescribe pain medication to alleviate much of the discomfort, although most patients require only Tylenol. Your discomfort level will improve rapidly after the first 2 days.
You can take a shower or bath the day after your surgery; however, don’t let the bandages covering your incisions get overly wet. If drains were inserted, you can take a shower or bath as soon as the drains are removed, usually in about 2 to 3 days. You can take off the surgical corset placed over your breasts after the surgery during your shower or bath, but it must be worn at all other times (even while sleeping) for the first 2 weeks after your surgery.
What to Expect the First Two Weeks After Male Breast Reduction
You will notice a marked improvement in your comfort level during the first few weeks after your surgery:
- The gauze dressings placed over your breasts during surgery will be removed 1 to 2 days after surgery.
- Any non-dissolving stitches around the areola will be removed 5 to 7 days after surgery.
- Any bruising you experience will usually disappear in about 2 weeks.
You should sleep on your back for the first week after surgery to help keep your chest in the correct position during initial healing. Placing pillows on either side of your body often helps ensure that you do not roll onto your side while sleeping.
During the first 2 weeks after surgery, you should also:
- Wear the surgical garment placed over your chest after surgery at all times, even while sleeping, to help hold your chest in the correct position. You may take the garment to shower or bathe but must put it back on immediately after drying off.
- Avoid heavy lifting and straining for at least 3 weeks.
Things to Be Aware of After Your Male Breast Reduction Procedure
- You may feel tired for several weeks after your surgery. Listen to your body, and rest when you need to.
- You may see a small amount of fluid draining from your surgical incisions. Some crusting in the area is also normal. However, if you have bleeding or intense pain, call West End Plastic Surgery right away.
- You will lose some feeling in your chest skin due to swelling. This usually fades within 6 to 8 weeks but can take up to a year to disappear completely.
- Your breasts may heal at different rates. One side may swell, one may feel less comfortable, or the shape of one breast may look different than the other. This is normal; however, when your body is fully recovered, your chest area will look symmetrical and natural.
Risks of Gynecomastia Surgery
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with male breast reduction. During your initial consultation at our Washington, D.C. plastic surgery office, Dr. Ruff will review these risks. As with any surgery, you can help reduce the risks of the procedure by closely following the instructions provided to you by Dr. Ruff and the staff of West End Plastic Surgery, who will be with you every step of the way to ensure that your procedure goes smoothly and that you have the outcome you desire.
Most likely risks include the following:
- Sensation changes
- Loss of sensation
How Long Will the Results of Your Male Breast Reduction Last?
The results of your breast reduction are permanent. However, weight gain may cause the breasts to appear larger again. Keep in mind that aging will also continue to have an effect on the body.