Name one thing lots of guys have but really, really don’t want to talk about. If your mind jumped to male breasts, aka “man boobs,” or, more formally, gynecomastia, then you’d be right. Lots of guys struggle with this issue, and very few of them want to admit it, let alone talk about it. Men can develop enlarged breasts for a variety of reasons, no matter how young or old they are. The truth is that the condition is a lot more common than you might think. In some cases, the breasts shrink back down to size on their own after a while, but in others, gynecomastia surgery might be needed to create a flat, smooth, and masculine chest.
If you’re considering gynecomastia surgery, there are a few things you can do in advance to prepare for the surgery and to help ensure you get the best results possible.
What to Expect From Gynecomastia Surgery
Gynecomastia is the enlargement of the breast tissue in males. There’s also another condition, called pseudo-gynecomastia, that can make a man’s breasts look bigger. But in cases of pseudo-gynecomastia, the breast tissue isn’t enlarged. Instead, there is a build-up of fat in the area, making the breasts seem bigger. Some men also develop loose skin in the upper chest area, near the nipples, which can make it look as if they’ve developed breasts.
The type of surgery you’ll need depends on whether you have enlarged tissue, too much fat, excess skin or a combination of all three. Usually, surgery for pseudo-gynecomastia involves liposuction to remove the excess fat. True gynecomastia surgery focuses on removing the enlarged breast tissue, often combined with the removal of extra fat in the area.
Make Certain Lifestyle Changes
Gynecomastia usually develops when there’s a hormone imbalance in the body. If you have higher levels of estrogen than testosterone, you’ll be at risk for developing excess breast tissue. In some cases, hormone imbalances occur naturally (such as during puberty). In others, they can develop as a result of certain lifestyle habits, medications or health conditions.
If you believe that a lifestyle habit is contributing to your gynecomastia, it’s a good idea to change your behavior before having surgery. Lifestyle choices that can lead to enlarged breast tissue include using certain types of street drugs, taking anabolic steroids, or drinking a lot of alcohol.
In some cases, certain plant-based oils might play a part in the development of enlarged breast tissue. Body care products and shampoos that contain lavender or tea tree oil might contribute to gynecomastia because those oils have estrogenic activity, meaning they mimic estrogen.
Along with avoiding substances that can contribute to the development of male breasts, it’s a good idea to avoid things that will put your safety at risk during surgery. Your surgeon will recommend avoiding any medications that thin your blood in the weeks before surgery. If you smoke, you’ll be advised to quit, for at least a few weeks before and after the surgery. You’re more likely to develop complications if you continue to smoke during the surgery and recovery.
Shave Before Surgery
One thing you can do at home to prepare for your gynecomastia surgery is to shave. Depending on the planned incision location, shaving either the chest or under the arms can help to streamline the process and save your surgeon a step on the day of the procedure. You should plan to do this soon before the surgery so the hair doesn’t have time to grow back.
Make a Plan for After Surgery
Gynecomastia surgery is a full surgical procedure that typically requires the use of general anesthesia. Afterward, you should plan to take about a week off from work. It’s very important to give yourself a chance to rest and recover after any surgical procedure. Since you’re not going to feel like cooking or finding the right clothing to wear immediately after your surgery, it’s a good idea to get your home ready as much as possible before the procedure so you can focus on recovery.
If you can, try prepping meals to eat during your first week of recovery. You can also try pre-ordering meals from a delivery service or consider hiring someone to cook for you during your recovery period.
Your surgeon is most likely going to recommend that you wear a compression garment around your chest for some time after surgery. It’s a good idea to purchase the garment before surgery so that it’s ready to go when you are.
Also, make arrangements to have someone bring you home after your surgery and stay with you the first night. You’ll be woozy and out of it and won’t be able to drive yourself.
Male breasts might be a source of embarrassment, but they aren’t something you have to live with. In Houston, Texas, Dr. Paul Vitenas offers patients gynecomastia surgery to help restore their confidence. To learn more about the procedure and how to prepare, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation today.