For men in Beverly Hills who have been diagnosed with a common condition called gynecomastia, you may be wondering what your next steps should be. Although it is not frequently talked about in social circles, it is a condition that affects many men. Gynecomastia occurs when excess glandular breast tissue becomes enlarged and swollen. As a result, the chest may look almost like that of a female. According to studies, some 65% of men have gynecomastia, which can surface during all stages of life. While it typically does not cause major health concerns, it can be a painfully embarrassing condition for men, whose confidence in their appearance may be seriously impacted as a result.
Male breast reduction surgery, liposuction, or a combination of these procedures are frequently used to treat gynecomastia. Beverly Hills-based board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jaime Schwartz is a leader in the field of breast surgery and works closely with male patients who are dealing with this condition. His vast surgical knowledge and specialized training allow him to share information and lend insight to male patients about the treatment of gynecomastia.
The basics of gynecomastia
Believed to develop as the result of hormonal imbalance, gynecomastia is a condition that causes male breast enlargement. It occurs when the level of testosterone in the male body, which is responsible for controlling muscle mass, body hair and other male traits, falls below that of the estrogen, the hormone that controls breast growth and other female traits. The male body produces small amounts of estrogen. A decrease in testosterone may result when its effects are blocked by other conditions or prompt estrogen levels to rise. Gynecomastia develops as a result of these increased estrogen levels.
More than half of all infant boys are born with enlarged breasts due to their mother’s estrogen levels. However this condition usually subsides within a short period, Dr. Schwartz explains. Gynecomastia is also commonly experienced during puberty, although the swelling usually goes away on its own within 24 months. The condition can also appear later in life. An estimated one in four men aged 50-69 is affected by gynecomastia.
Are there other causes?
Aside from a hormone imbalance, other factors can spur gynecomastia to develop among men in Beverly Hills, CA. Health conditions such as hyperthyroidism, cirrhosis of the liver, certain tumors, and kidney failure can cause the breasts to become swollen. They also may become enlarged as part of the natural effects of aging. Alcohol consumption and the use of illicit drugs have been pegged as a cause for the condition, as well as the use of specific medications including some antibiotics, those that treat heart conditions, gastric issues and cancer, as well as anabolic steroids, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs.
What are the symptoms of gynecomastia?
The enlargement of one or both male breasts in the primary symptom of gynecomastia in Beverly Hills, CA men. Although it is common for glandular tissue to swell in both breasts, it is possible for only one side to be affected by the condition. The enlarged tissue usually appears behind the nipple, which may be tender or painful, and the entire breast may feel rubbery or firm.
Men need to see a physician when signs of gynecomastia develop. Cancer and other conditions must first be ruled out as the cause of the enlarged breasts. It may help put patients’ minds at ease, Dr. Schwartz said, to know that cancer usually only affects one breast and that the tissue may not be firm. In rare cases, male breast swelling may result due to an abscess, which likely will cause the skin to be red and hot to the touch. Also, with an abscess, patients usually experience pain, chills, and develop a fever.
How is gynecomastia treated?
For some gynecomastia patients in Beverly Hills, CA, testosterone replacement therapy or other prescribed medications, including tamoxifen and raloxifene, can be used to reduce their enlarged breast tissue. In cases when the condition does not respond to such treatments, liposuction or male breast reduction surgery may be recommended to remove the excess tissue.
Liposuction can be employed by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jaime Schwartz when fatty tissue is the underlying cause of gynecomastia. As when liposuction is performed elsewhere on the body to remove undesired pockets of fat, male patients are placed under general anesthesia and small incisions are made on the breasts. Using a small, thin tube called a cannula, Dr. Schwartz removes fat cells to flatten the breasts and restore natural-looking shape and contour to the chest. As with other liposuction procedures performed on the breasts, it is common for male breast reduction patients to experience some swelling and soreness after surgery. In most cases, men are given the green light by Dr. Schwartz to return to work, as well as resume some physical activities and their exercise regimen, about a week later.
For other Beverly Hills, CA men, breast reduction surgery may be the best course of action for severe cases of gynecomastia. As part of this outpatient procedure, any sagging, overstretched skin that has resulted from the growth of the breasts may also be removed. Similar to breast reduction surgery for females, incisions are made by Dr. Schwartz, usually within the natural creases of the chest or around the areola on the male breasts to minimize the appearance of scars. Excess skin and tissue are removed. If necessary, the nipple may be repositioned and the size of the areola can be reduced to achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance on the chest before the incisions are closed. It is possible to pair breast reduction surgery with liposuction to further reduce the size of male breasts, as well as improve the shape and contours of the chest.
Look and feel your best
The health risks associated with gynecomastia are low, however, the swollen breasts that are the trademark of this common condition can wreak havoc on the self-esteem of patients in Beverly Hills, CA. Whether performed separately or in tandem, male breast reduction surgery and liposuction can work to reduce the size of the breasts and restore a more natural look. You are encouraged to schedule a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jaime Schwartz to discover your options for tackling gynecomastia and how to get back to living your best life.