Treating gynecomastia is one of my passions. As a body contouring expert, I love being able to sculpt the smooth, flat chest that most men desire. It’s a procedure that can not only radically improve your physical appearance, but may also profoundly improve your self-esteem. While it is estimated that almost 60% of older men and 40% of younger men have some degree of gynecomastia, this was a condition that, until recently, most men didn’t discuss even with their own doctor. As with anything that is silenced, many men with an excess of breast tissue and/or fat felt a great deal of shame. Luckily, the internet has gone a long way towards making a conversation about the appearance of the chest more commonplace. However, there is still a lot of confusing information when it comes to male chest contouring. So, here are answers to some of your most common gynecomastia questions.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
One of the first questions that I get asked in a gynecomastia consultation is: “Why me?”. Many of my patients are fit men who spend considerable time and money on their physique, working out regularly in the gym and eating a healthful diet. Yet despite all of this hard work, they still can not achieve the smooth, flat chest that they want. It’s understandably both confusing and frustrating. Unfortunately, the real question should really be: “Why not me?” Gynecomastia is phenomenally prevalent because there are so many underlying causes. At its core, “man boobs” are the result of a hormone imbalance. When the body has too much estrogen, as happens quite often in men aged 50-69, it can lead to a fullness in the chest. Other causes may include:
- Prescription drugs, particularly anabolic steroids
- Health syndromic conditions such as hyperthyroidism
Getting to the bottom of your unique situation must always begin with an in-person consultation with a gynecomastia expert who can assess your anatomy and needs. There are a number of different ways to treat fullness in the chest and the right course of action is going to depend on your physique, desired outcome and tolerance for downtime.
Is There a Non-Surgical Treatment for Gynecomastia?
The next most pressing question is whether or not there is a non-surgical option for re-contouring the chest. In general, men do not like the idea of surgery. Having to take time off to recover and/or the possibility of others knowing that they had something “done” is a huge turnoff. So, yes, there are non-surgical options for treating an excess of fat in the chest. These include:
Most men, however, are not going to achieve the look that they want with any nonsurgical chest contouring procedure. Furthermore, you’ll need multiple treatments, spaced 6-8 weeks apart, and the end result will never be as robust as what I can achieve with surgical liposuction. Most importantly is that in my many years of treating gynecomastia, I can honestly say that it is typically the result of both excess fat and excess breast tissue. The latter can only be addressed with a surgical male chest contouring procedure as glandular tissue is not responsive to either SculpSure® or Coolsculpting®.
Top Patient Concerns with Surgical Gynecomastia Procedure
Once a patient understands the benefits of surgery, especially the fact that it’s a one-and-done procedure, they ask one or more of the following:
- Will I have a scar?
- Is there a chance of losing nipple sensitivity?
- Can surgery make my areola smaller and less puffy?
- What’s the chance that my gynecomastia will return post-surgery?
There is no surgical procedure without some type of scar. And while it is frightening to think about scars on the chest, most are hidden within the border of your areola and chest skin. With fastidious surgical technique and a wide array of scar therapies, most men will not notice the scars. In terms of nipple sensitivity, there is generally not a loss of sensation. It’s going to depend on how much work we do on the areola which, yes, can be made both smaller in size and less “puffy” in appearance. Removing fat and gland BEHIND the areola creates a less puffy appearance without actually removing any areola tissue. And last, assuming that your weight and lifestyle stay the same, the probability of your gynecomastia returning post-surgery is low. This is one of the many benefits of the surgical approach.
Gynecomastia Recovery Questions
The trade off with surgery is that it will require some downtime for recovery. And you will need to wear a compression garment. This may be another potential stumbling block for patients who immediately want to know what will happen if they don’t. The answer is simple — you will not get the result that you want. The compression vest reduces swelling, aides in healing and helps to ensure that you achieve the smooth, flat chest of your dreams. It’s truly non-negotiable. Stage One of compression is weeks 1-3 where a garment is worn all the time except for showering. Stage Two is the next 2 months in which your compression shirt is only worn 12 hours a day. The other major gynecomastia recovery question is: “When can I go back to the gym?”. While you may start back with light cardio 7-10 days after surgery, I’ll ask you to refrain from any chest workout for 4-6 weeks post-op. We need to give the skin and tissues of your chest time to fully heal before putting any additional pressure on them.
How Much Will my Gynecomastia Procedure Cost in Boston?
Last, but not least, patients want to know: “How much will my gynecomastia procedure cost?”. The price is going to depend on your individual treatment plan, including what type of anesthesia we use. Many patients think that a non-surgical approach will be less expensive, but keep in mind that it does require more than one treatment. This can quickly add up. I take cost very seriously, and will be able to give you an honest and realistic assessment of what you will need to do to achieve your desired outcome, including the price, at your initial consultation. Generally, the total cost for a surgical gynecomastia procedure will range anywhere from $8,500 – $11,000. This includes all surgery, anesthesia and facility fees. While this can be a lot of money, patients are usually so happy with their result that they feel it’s money well spent.
To find out more about gynecomastia, or any other surgical or non-surgical procedure with Dr. Sean Doherty at his Boston or Brookline office, contact us today or call (617) 450-0070 to schedule a consultation.