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Gynecomastia

WHAT IS GYNECOMASTIA?

The term gynecomastia is used for enlarged male breasts and comes from the Greek term for "women-like breasts." This condition can cause a feminine chest because of the abnormal growth of breast tissue or fat deposits. Although rarely discussed, "man boobs" are a common cosmetic problem that many men feel self-conscious about. At SBA Dermatology & Plastic Surgery, Dr. Ryan Couvillion is a Houston, TX plastic and reconstructive surgeon who treats each patient's cosmetic concern with care and discretion. Before undergoing surgery, Dr. Couvillion will complete a thorough consultation and try to help determine the underlying cause of the excess tissue. Gynecomastia may be related to an unknown hormonal condition which may require additional medical tests or treatments.

IS GYNECOMASTIA TREATMENT FOR ME?

There are several factors that may make you a good candidate for gynecomastia treatment, including if you:

  • Feel anxious or self-conscious because of a more feminine chest
  • Are you at an ideal weight
  • Are you at an ideal age for the procedure
  • Have controlled underlying medical conditions

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HOW DOES GYNECOMASTIA TREATMENT WORK?

The surgical technique depends on the cause and size of the gynecomastia. For patients with small amounts of fat, we may use liposuction during surgery. Performed with general anesthesia, liposuction removes excess fat from the chest. In some cases, this may be the only treatment we use. Generally, most men require an incision near the nipple where the glandular tissue resides. For other patients with larger amounts of breast tissue, we remove it, tighten the remaining skin, and reposition the nipple. Dr. Couvillion will personalize your treatment and determine which technique works best for you.

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER GYNECOMASTIA SURGERY?

After your gynecomastia surgery, Dr. Couvillion securely wraps the chest with a compression bandage to help reduce swelling. For complex cases that used more invasive techniques, you may need a small drainage tube to decrease fluid retention. You can almost immediately see your new results from gynecomastia treatment. Incisions made during this procedure take time to heal, and you will have small scars. Dr. Couvillion can usually place the incisions in the skin's natural folds so they are easily concealed. With your new masculine-looking chest, you should wait for about six weeks before exercising. Dr. Couvillion will also provide guidance on the best time to resume exercising and weight lifting.

GYNECOMASTIA FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How much does male breast reduction cost?

Excessive male breast tissue (gynecomastia) surgery varies a lot from patient to patient.  This means that the cost of surgery can really only be determined after Dr. Couvillion is able to see you in a consult. To help make male breast reduction surgery fit your budget, SBA Dermatology & Plastic Surgery accepts several payment methods. We can also help you locate low-interest medical financing. While surgery for gynecomastia is typically not covered by health insurance, it may be worth contacting your insurer to check as every company has different criteria for coverage.

What causes gynecomastia?

Sometimes, gynecomastia is connected to the long-term use of androgens and anabolic steroids. Gynecomastia might also be triggered by some medical conditions (for example, hyperthyroidism, hypogonadism, and tumors), as well as some medications, such as highly active antiretroviral therapy for AIDS, chemotherapy, and some anti-anxiety medications. Some patients with fatty gynecomastia seem to gain more weight in this area.  Other patients have had gynecomastia since puberty and it never completely resolved.

How can I tell if I have gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia occurs in men when there is an overgrowth of breast tissue in the chest, which can cause pain, swelling, and tenderness. Dr. Couvillion suggests patients try to lose weight by following an exercise plan and a healthy diet before considering surgery. If you still have excess breast tissue when you are at a healthy weight, Dr. Couvillion will perform a physical exam and may order diagnostic tests.

Can gynecomastia be treated with exercise or pills?

This depends on the cause of the gynecomastia. Fatty gynecomastia can respond to weight loss. For glandular gynecomastia, male breast reduction surgery is the most effective treatment. Currently, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) hasn't approved any medications for the treatment of gynecomastia. Upper body weight training to increase the pectoral muscles will not reduce the excess breast tissue and could even make the breasts look bigger.

Will this fix puffy or pointy nipples?

Glandular gynecomastia can cause puffy or pointy nipples, as the extra breast tissue may be distorting the nipple and areola. If you are concerned about this, be sure to tell Dr. Couvillion at your consultation. He will personalize your surgical plan to select the best incision pattern and technique to improve your nipples. Oversized areolas may also be corrected in surgery for gynecomastia. It is crucial to be open and honest with Dr. Couvillion about all your concerns and wants during your initial consultation so he can make sure the surgical plan is right for you.

RESTORE YOUR MASCULINE CHEST

If you feel frustrated with the effects of male breast enlargement (gynecomastia), we invite you to contact our office and schedule a consultation with Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Couvillion.  Once you've undergone treatment for gynecomastia at SBA Dermatology & Plastic Surgery, you won't have to keep hiding your chest when you go to the gym and beach. We have enjoyed helping men in the Houston area regain their self-confidence. 

When it comes to aesthetic plastic surgery, it's important to choose a dedicated surgeon who is committed to your desired surgical goals. To meet with our double board-certified plastic surgeon, Ryan Couvillion, MD and his team, call our office at 713-850-0240.