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What is a Gynecomastia Operation?

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  • Written By: Christina Whyte
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 29 May 2020
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A gynecomastia operation is a cosmetic breast reduction surgery for men. Men who have gynecomastia have developed female-like enlarged breasts. Breast reduction surgery and liposuction are the two more common operations for gynecomastia.

There are a number of conditions and medical treatments that can cause gynecomastia in males of many different ages. Medications that affect hormone balance and hormonal imbalance during puberty are the two most likely culprits, and often the condition will go away once the body returns to balance. Disorders like testicular cancer, hyperthyroidism, or liver cirrhosis can also cause gynecomastia. Medications as diverse as antibiotics, anti-ulcer treatment, and illegal drugs like heroin can also contribute. A total evaluation of all medications and a thorough physical check-up are necessary to find the cause of this condition, and patients should be sure to mention everything, even if something seems unlikely to be related.

A gynecomastia operation may be performed under general anesthesia, meaning patients will be unconscious for the entire procedure, or under local anesthesia and sedation, meaning patients will be conscious but will not feel pain and will be very relaxed. The procedures performed during a gynecomastia operation are dependent on the source of the enlargement and the degree of enlargement present. Excess glandular tissue will need to be cut out, which may leave an unnoticeable scar, or result in more extensive scarring. If excess fatty tissue is the problem, liposuction or excision may be used depending on the recommendation of the doctor.

As with any surgery, a gynecomastia operation has some risks such as an adverse reaction to the anesthesia or infection of the surgical wound, but outlook is usually quite good. Recovery from a gynecomastia operation will depend on the extent and type of surgery done, but almost all patients will experience some degree of pain and swelling. Due to the swelling, the results of the operation may not be immediately obvious, but after a couple of months a clear difference should be seen. It is important to choose a competent plastic surgeon with a lot of experience in gynecomastia surgery in order to obtain the best results.

For most patients, a gynecomastia operation should be considered only when other treatments have been ineffective. This is because surgery only gets rid of the symptoms. If a medication or underlying condition is causing the gynecomastia, this needs to be dealt with. Patients may need to switch medications, treat an underlying disease, or take hormone supplements.

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