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Breast Reduction for Men

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 works 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 to meet with Dr. Ruff. You can also call his office at (202) 785-4187 to schedule a consultation.

Paul G. Ruff IV,
M.D. F.A.C.S.

Personalized, compassionate patient care is the foundation of West End Plastic Surgery's philosophy. Our board-certified surgeon, Dr. Paul G. Ruff IV embraces innovative techniques to ensure our patients get the best treatments available.

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Are You a Good Candidate for 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 Dr. Ruff at his 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 rules out any underlying medical cause for enlargement of your breast tissue, surgery could be an appropriate treatment path.

Meeting With Dr. Ruff

At your consultation with Dr. Ruff, he will evaluate your chest area and breasts and review your cosmetic goals and expectations for male breast reduction. He'll also review all the options available to you.

Dr. Ruff and the staff 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

How the Male Breast Reduction Procedure Is Performed

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 Dr. Ruff has 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. Dr. Ruff and his staff do 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, Dr. Ruff 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. Dr. Ruff 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 Dr. Ruff's goal to keep scarring to a minimum.

For liposuction-only breast reduction, Dr. Ruff will likely make a small incision of less than a half-inch in length around the edge of the areola, or he 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.

What To Expect After Your Male Breast Reduction

Activity When
Shower or Bath Day After Surgery
Back to Work 1 To 3 Days After Surgery
Driving Usually Within a Week After Surgery
Strenuous Activity 3 Weeks After Surgery
Fading of Scars Several Months to 1 Year

Immediately After Your 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.

The First 24 to 48 Hours After Your Surgery

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.

The First 2 Weeks After Surgery

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.

Resuming Your Normal Routine

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.

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.

What Are Possible Side Effects or Risks?

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with 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
  • Scars
  • Asymmetry
  • Loss of sensation

How Long Will the Results of Your Breast Reduction Last?

The results of your breast reduction are permanent. However, weight gain may cause the breasts to appear larger again.

Questions You May Have

Are there any other procedures that could be done along with breast reduction to enhance the look of my chest region?

Liposuction is sometimes used around the breasts and under the arms to remove excess fat in those areas during the breast reduction process. In addition, Dr. Ruff is the first plastic surgeon in the Washington, D.C. area certified to perform VASER LipoSelection®, a much gentler form of liposuction that can be used to remove fat and enhance the look of the chest region.

Pectoral implants may also be used to enhance the chest region. Men whose chests don't respond to exercise, no matter how many presses, dips, or push-ups they do, may be candidates for male breast implants. Pectoral implants help to balance a man's chest and body as well as further define the chest area.

Will insurance pay for my breast reduction surgery?

Male breast reduction is generally considered cosmetic surgery and therefore is not covered by insurance. You may discuss this with your primary physician, however, as it does no harm to check with your health insurance provider to learn whether all or part of the procedure might be covered.

Are there alternatives to male breast reduction surgery?

Options for improving the bulk, volume, and definition of your chest area include weight loss and exercise, especially muscle-building exercises. LipoSelection, performed first in the Washington, D.C. area by Dr. Ruff, may also greatly enhance the look of the chest region.

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West End Plastic Surgery 2440 M Street Northwest #200
Washington, District of Columbia 20037 (202) 785-4187 Monday–Friday: 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Get Directions
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