Gynecomastia is a medical condition characterized by the enlargement of male breast tissue, caused by an imbalance in the hormones estrogen and testosterone. It is a common condition that can affect men of any age and can be caused by a variety of factors including medication use, hormonal imbalances, and obesity.
Symptoms of gynecomastia may include the following:
- Enlarged breast tissue
- Swelling or tenderness in the breast area
- Nipple discharge
- Asymmetry or unevenness of the breasts
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine if you have gynecomastia or another underlying condition.
Treatment options for gynecomastia depend on the underlying cause of the condition. In many cases, the condition will resolve on its own, especially if it is related to puberty or weight gain. However, if the condition persists or is causing discomfort, there are several treatment options available, including:
- Medications: Medications may be used to reduce the size of the breast tissue and to address the hormonal imbalances that are causing the condition.
- Surgery: In cases where medication is not effective, surgery may be necessary to remove the excess breast tissue. There are several surgical procedures available, including liposuction and mastectomy.
- Lifestyle changes: Making changes to your diet and exercise routine can help to address the underlying causes of gynecomastia, such as obesity or hormonal imbalances.
Surgery is a common treatment option for gynecomastia, particularly when other treatments have not been effective. There are several surgical procedures available, including liposuction and mastectomy. During your consultation, we will carefully review your anatomy, the degree of skin excess with your gynecomastia, and your goals to create a surgical plan that best fits the situation. Typical options we might discuss include:
- Liposuction: Liposuction is a procedure that removes excess fat from the breast area. During the procedure, a small incision is made, and a cannula (a thin tube) is inserted into the breast tissue. The cannula is used to suction out the excess fat, resulting in a flatter, more masculine chest contour. Liposuction is best for cases where the breast enlargement is primarily due to excess fat.
- Arthroscopic Debridement: while this device is typically associated with joint surgery – Dr Baumholtz has adapted its functionality to allow for removal of the denser breast tissue through the smaller liposuction incisions. For most patients with mild to moderate skin excess – liposuction + arthroscopic debridement is the first choice for surgical options.
- Mastectomy: Mastectomy is a procedure that involves the removal of glandular tissue from the breast. In some cases, skin and fat may also be removed. This procedure is done under general anesthesia. There are a number of skin (scar) patterns which are used to address patient needs and degree of gynecomastia excess. Once the tissue is removed, the incision will be closed with stitches. Mastectomy is best for cases where the breast enlargement is primarily due to glandular tissue or where there is significant excess skin.
- Combination procedures: In some cases, a combination of liposuction and mastectomy may be necessary to achieve the desired result. This is particularly true when the breast enlargement is caused by a combination of excess fat and glandular tissue.
After surgery, patients will need to wear a compression garment to help minimize swelling and promote healing. Pain medication may also be prescribed to manage any discomfort. Most patients can return to normal activities within a few weeks after surgery, although strenuous exercise should be avoided for several weeks.
It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with your healthcare provider to determine if it is the right treatment option for you. Potential risks of surgery include infection, bleeding, scarring, and changes in nipple sensation.
what testing is needed before surgery?
Before undergoing surgery for gynecomastia, Dr. Baumholtz will perform a physical exam and review your medical history. We may also order additional tests to ensure that you are a good candidate for surgery and to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could impact the surgery. Based on your age or medical history – you may be asked to see your primary care doctor before proceeding.
Some common tests that may be ordered before surgery for gynecomastia include:
- Blood tests: Blood tests may be ordered to assess your overall health and to check hormone levels. Hormone imbalances, such as low testosterone or high estrogen levels, can contribute to gynecomastia and may need to be addressed before surgery.
- Mammogram: A mammogram is a type of imaging test that uses X-rays to create detailed images of the breast tissue. This test can help to determine the amount and location of breast tissue and rule out the presence of any underlying conditions, such as breast cancer.
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of the breast tissue. This test can help to determine the amount and location of breast tissue, as well as the presence of any abnormal growths or masses.
- Biopsy: In some cases, a biopsy may be needed to rule out the presence of cancer or other underlying conditions. During a biopsy, a small sample of breast tissue is removed and examined under a microscope.
Your healthcare provider will discuss with you which tests are needed in your individual case. These tests can help to ensure that you are a good candidate for surgery and can help to guide the surgical approach.
To learn more about the Baumholtz Plastic Surgery treatments and procedures performed by Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and Reconstructive Surgeon, Dr. Michael Baumholtz please contact us.
Dr. Baumholtz receives patients from San Antonio, Shavano Park, Texas and surrounding areas.