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There’s no doubt that gynecomastia — the development of excess male breast tissue and/or fat — can negatively affect self-esteem. This is especially true when young men experience this during their teen years.
The teen years are tough on everyone in some way or another. And when teenage boys experience gynecomastia, they can develop deep-rooted insecurities that go much further than simply not wanting to take their shirt off at the pool or in the locker room.
For many, gynecomastia surgery, or male breast reduction, is performed to address enlarged male breasts and restore a more masculine-looking chest. But is surgery always the answer? And how young is too young for gynecomastia surgery?
While many young men are told to wait until their adult years before considering plastic surgery, there are instances when surgery is warranted for teens — but it takes a qualified plastic surgeon to know the difference.
Here’s what to ask when it comes to gynecomastia surgery.
What Is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is the presence of female-looking breasts in males, and while there are many causes of this condition, it is most often the result of a hormonal imbalance. This is why the condition so commonly affects teenage boys. In fact, 10% of males — a significant finding — report persistent gynecomastia at age 17.
Gynecomastia can present in one or both breasts and consist of excess breast tissue (true gynecomastia) or excess fat (pseudogynecomastia).
Why Surgery Is Not Always the Answer
It’s understandable why a teenage boy experiencing gynecomastia would want a quick solution. For this reason, many young men (and their parents) seek the advice of a qualified plastic surgeon — and that’s your best course of action.
More often than not, teenage boys are recommended to take a wait-and-see approach. And while this can be frustrating, it is often beneficial.
While gynecomastia in males presents fairly commonly during adolescence, a significant percentage will experience a reduction of symptoms as they exit their teen years.
This means many plastic surgeons will take a watch-and-wait approach to gynecomastia in many young teens.
When Is It Time for Gynecomastia Surgery ?
If gynecomastia is extreme, its impact can have serious consequences.
Studies show that severe gynecomastia can lead to emotional issues like anxiety, depression, and social phobia. This isn’t surprising, given the pressures during the teenage years.
If a young male is entering adulthood and his gynecomastia issue does not appear to be resolving on its own, it may be time for gynecomastia corrective surgery.
How Gynecomastia Correction Surgery Is Performed
Before your gynecomastia surgery, you will sit down with your plastic surgeon to discuss your goals and the procedure’s possible outcome. Male breast reduction can be performed in one of three ways.
This method is most commonly used for true gynecomastia when the glandular tissue is enlarged.
- You will receive general anesthesia (“sleeping” anesthesia).
- Small incisions are made by your plastic surgeon. This may be one of a number of different shapes depending upon the size and shape of your breasts.
- Excess tissue is removed (excised).
- If necessary, the nipples may be repositioned to a more natural placement.
- The incisions are closed.
In a case where excess fatty tissue is the issue — usually called pseudogynecomastia — liposuction may be implemented instead.
- You will receive general anesthesia or IV sedation.
- A small incision is made.
- A sterile cannula is inserted into the incision and fat is removed via suction. Your plastic surgeon will use a back-and-forth motion under the skin to break apart and remove unwanted fat cells.
- Your incision will be sutured or taped closed when the procedure is complete.
When there is excess size of the glands plus excess fatty tissue, a combination of the two techniques above may be used.
The Right Decision Now Can Mean a Happier Future
It’s important to consider both the patient’s age and how he is being impacted emotionally and physically by enlarged breasts. Your plastic surgeon can help you decide what’s best for your situation.
Interested in Gynecomastia in Birmingham, AL?
With the right approach, gynecomastia no longer has to be a time of suffering and angst. If you’re suffering from gynecomastia or know someone who is, call us today and schedule a consultation. Our caring and concerned staff can help you come to the right decision for you.