Gynecomastia (overdevelopment of male breasts) is a common condition characterized by an excess of localized fat and/or glandular tissue in the male breast. It is sometimes caused by disease, hormonal changes, heredity, or certain medications, although in most cases its cause is unknown. It occurs in one or both breasts and affects teenagers and grown men. Symptoms of gynecomastia include enlarged breasts, breasts that feel rubbery or firm, and nickel- or quarter-sized breast “buds,” which are common in adolescents and tend to go away on their own.
As long as breast development is complete, plastic surgery can be used to treat gynecomastia that is not caused by disease or medication. Treatment choices include liposuction or surgery or a combination of the two. The choice of technique depends on the amount and type of breast tissue. If the breasts consist mostly of fatty tissue, we can use liposuction to remove fat through the nipples or underarms. For breasts with excessive glandular tissue, we can perform excision surgery, which requires cutting away excess fat, skin, and tissue and requires a larger incision than does liposuction.
Following male breast reduction surgery, there is bruising, swelling, and discomfort. Discomfort usually dissipates after a few days and can be lessened with prescribed pain medication. To help reduce swelling, a compression garment is worn for about two weeks, and only at night for several additional weeks. Patients typically return to work within a week. Light aerobic exercise can be performed after a week, but strenuous activities should be avoided for four to six weeks.
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