Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in complete removal of the fatty tissue located in my chest area. I don’t know why I have developed actual breasts but it is very embarrassing. I am a 32 year-old male and I have to wear loose fitting shirts to hide my jiggling breast mounds. I am not really much overweight, no more so than some of the pro golfers that I have seen. I wanted to know the average recovery time. Also how long does the procedure usually last as well.
A: Thank you for your inquiry. Gynecomastia deformities the size of yours, where there exists a real breast mound, is a difficult challenge to get the flattest result with the least amount of scarring. It may likely require a two-stage approach. The first stage would be a circumareolar approach with nipple lift/reduction with open excision of underlying gland tissue and surrounding contouring liposuction. Depending upon how it looks and heals, this may be all that is needed. But I like to prepare patients for the high probability of the need for a revision based on how the circumareolar scar heals and contour of the chest looks. This would be known as the second stage if needed. (areolar scar revision, touch-up liposuction) It is difficult, although not impossible, to get a good symmetrical chest result with good-looking scars in one procedure.
This type of gynecomastia reduction procedure is done under general anesthesia as an outpatient. Drains would be needed for up to 5 days after surgery. Recovery time would depend on what type of work/activities you do. For a more physical job, it would be two to three weeks before one should actively stress the chest area. This restriction is done primarily to affect fluid build-up after the removal of the drains. The results of gynecomastia are fairly long-lasting and in many cases would be considered permanent…provided one does not gain a lot of weight.
Dr. Barry Eppley