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Gynecomastia in San Francisco, CA

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Male Breast Reduction

Gynecomastia is the enlargement of the male breasts. It most often occurs with puberty and can sometimes resolve over time. Some drugs, such as steroids, can cause it, and some medical problems that affect a man’s hormone levels can also be the cause of gynecomastia. If drug and medical hormonal abnormalities are ruled out as the cause, and time has been given for the gynecomastia to resolve on its own without improvement, then plastic surgery by board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Leonard Gray, can be considered at Bay Area Plastic Surgery in San Francisco, CA. The surgery has become increasingly popular over the years.

Until recently, there have only been the options of liposuction and direct excision through a relatively large incision at the nipple/areola area. However, Dr. Gray is very excited to bring to his practice an exciting new technique using liposuction and excision of the gland through small liposuction incisions only that are placed laterally on the side of the chest. There is no large scar at the nipple/areola area. The self-consciousness of having large male breasts is not replaced with self-consciousness regarding scarring. Therefore, there is no reason for a man not to take his shirt off following male breast reduction surgery.

Gynecomastia Surgical Technique

Before male breast surgery is recommended, the surgeon will perform a variety of tests and possibly prescribe medications to see if any improvement occurs. If the breast enlargement persists, surgery is an option. Mild cases of gynecomastia are corrected with liposuction. Small incisions are made surrounding the areola where suction tubes (cannulas) are inserted to extract fat and breast tissues. When the enlargement is severe, a longer incision is done to excise breast tissues and loose skin. Skin tightening may also be incorporated and the nipples repositioned so that they are proportional to the new chest shape.

Dr. Leonard Gray

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Dr. Gray is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience conducting surgical procedures of the breast, body, and face. His emphasis on patient education and attention to detail have made him the top choice for plastic surgery in the Bay Area. Dr. Gray invites you to meet with him for a friendly and informative consultation.

During & After Male Breast ReductionSurgery

Male breast reduction surgery uses general anesthesia and is performed in an accredited surgical facility. The operation lasts up to an hour. It is normal to have bruising and swelling around the chest area for the first couple of weeks. A compression garment must be worn for about 2 weeks to help with reshaping and healing. Most patients are able to return to their normal routine after a few days but must avoid any strenuous physical activities, especially ones that will put pressure on the chest. Results are generally satisfactory with patients regaining their confidence in situations where their chests are bared.

Male Breast Reduction Surgery (Gynecomastia) FAQs

This condition must not be confused with a false gynecomastia, also known as pseudogynecomastia, in which the enlargement is caused by fat deposits instead of breast tissue development. The plastic surgeon will be able to determine this by physical examinations or lab tests during the initial consultation. If it is a case of excessive fat tissues on the chest, the approach in treatment is the same when removing  excess fat tissues in any part of the body. Proper diet and exercises are initially recommended before considering any surgical treatment. However, if the issue persists, a liposuction – sometimes even combined with a lift – may be performed to reshape the chest.

Gynecomastia, unfortunately, hides the normal chest muscles that lie underneath the layers of overdeveloped breast tissue. For those who have severe gynecomastia, it is even possible that the overgrowth of breast tissue has developed into internal scarring. With a breast reduction surgery, all excess fat and breast tissues will be removed and the pectoralis muscles will be spared so that they can become more visible. With proper diet and exercise after the surgery, men will be able to tone and strengthen their chest muscle to regain the chest’s natural form.

Liposuction is the primary approach in extracting fat or any soft tissues. Because it uses a small cannula to vacuum the fat out, it is a less invasive approach compared to excising the tissue, which requires longer incisions. There are liposuction options that are even less invasive. These options will be provided with more details prior to the surgical plan so the patient can consider all factors and ultimately decide which technique is preferred.

If the breast reduction technique uses liposuction, the incisions will be minimal and will be placed around or near the areola. The plastic surgeon will make every effort when it comes to making the incisions and suturing to minimize the effects of scarring. 

The cost of your gynecomastia surgery in the Bay Area will depend on several factors, including the extent of your condition, the amount of time your procedure will take, what methods will be employed, and more. For this reason, you must meet with Dr. Gray for a one-on-one consultation. We offer plastic surgery financing options for those interested.  

Unlike many plastic surgeries that are done for aesthetic purposes, Gynecomastia occasionally may be covered by your health insurance if it being done for medical purposes. The primary factor in determining if gynecomastia is covered by insurance is whether it is deemed ‘medically necessary’ by your doctor and your insurance provider.

Some reasons why your insurance include might cover it: 

  • if the condition is causing moderate to severe chest pain that creates a functional or physical impairment
  • if the gynecomastia persists after you have stopped taking prescription medication, recreational drugs, or substances that are known to cause gynecomastia, and 
  • Gynecomastia must be present for two years. You also must have a thorough evaluation to determine the cause of the condition, including liver enzymes, serum creatinine, and thyroid studies. 

To find out more about if your insurance will cover gynecomastia surgery, speak with your insurance provider.

Working out and living an active lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to maintain your gynecomastia results after surgery. Dr. Gray encourages all of his male breast reduction patients to exercise regularly once they are sufficiently healed. You should be able to resume exercising after about one month. When you do return to the gym, you will need to limit the intensity of your workout to cardio exercises and other activities that won’t interfere with your healing process. It’s crucial that you refrain from arm or chest workouts until you are fully healed, which generally takes about six to eight weeks.

It’s normal for swelling to increase after surgery, usually peaking around 5-6 days after gynecomastia surgery. After that, the swelling will subside—rapidly at first and then gradually. After one month, you’ll think the swelling is gone, but it can go down even more at three to six months.