Gynecomastia, often called man boobs, is a condition that results in the appearance of female-like breasts on men. Although gynecomastia is not a medically harmful condition, it is most certainly a mentally harmful condition that afflicts millions of men. It’s normal for someone with gynecomastia to feel embarrassment and anxiety, often for long periods of time. When evaluating the decision of whether or when to seek gynecomastia treatment, it’s important to take a look at the two essential factors for successful gynecomastia surgery.
Make the informed choice for your gynecomastia treatment.
Treatment of gynecomastia happens to be one of the most requested plastic surgery procedures for men. The procedure is usually performed by board-certified plastic surgeons because this falls under their domain of training. However, there is a problem — many cosmetic surgeons don’t treat a high volume of gynecomastia patients. These surgeons lack the experience to perform the procedure at the high standard we demand at Westlake Plastic Surgery.
Speaking from Experience
I was one of those doctors many years ago. Now that I have performed thousands of procedures, I look back and realize how far I have progressed. There is an art to successful gynecomastia surgery. As we often say, experience makes the best teacher. In my case, I learned so much about the diagnosis and treatment of gynecomastia that I crafted my own set of guidelines for how to best manage those who suffer from the “Achilles heel” of men. I have written on the topic in plastic surgery journals to share my experience with my colleagues. My hope is that my experience will improve gynecomastia treatment for everyone.
Factor 1: Your Surgeon
“You control this decision.”
The two most important factors that determine the quality of gynecomastia treatment are your surgeon and the quality of your skin. For the best chance at achieving your desired results, you must find a surgeon with extensive experience working with the various forms of gynecomastia. Surgeons with a true understanding of gynecomastia will follow up with their patients for the long term. This is the best way to learn what works and what doesn’t.
An effective gynecomastia surgeon knows:
- How much to take out and what to leave
- How best to work with more challenging cases
- How to avoid complications
- How to relate mentally to patients who have lived with this challenging situation
Your choice of surgeon determines your destiny. It’s important. Do your homework. You control this decision.
Factor 2: Your Skin
The second most important factor is the elasticity of your skin. The nature of your skin is outside of your control, but you can understand how your skin will affect the choices of your surgeon. I have learned with experience that patients with elastic skin—thicker skin which retracts fast and fully when stretched — is ideal. Regardless of size and appearance, patients with elastic skin uniformly do well after all the gynecomastia tissue has been removed. The body’s transformative ability is amazing and something many surgeons don’t understand. You have to see it many times before it sinks in and you finally get it.
“An experienced surgeon will know which treatment options are ideal for each patient.”
On the other hand, some people’s skin doesn’t “snap back” after being stretched. This skin is often thin as a result of age or weight loss greater than 50 plus pounds. Stretch marks are a strong indicator that skin will not “snap back.” What you see is chest skin that is saggy, with skin folds under the arms, as well as sagging nipple-areola complexes. After years of experience working with all types of skin, an experienced surgeon will know which treatment options are ideal for each patient.
Gynecomastia Treatment Options
There are two options with gynecomastia treatment: (1) no skin removal with small incisions that are basically invisible or (2) skin excision with scars across your chest and around the areolas. This is the first fork in the road when deciding how to treat gynecomastia. There is no standard test to determine the elasticity of your skin. Your surgeon must use their experience to decide which option is best for your skin type.
I have learned to make this decision based on my visual inspection of the chest. In fact, I consult with hundreds of patients from all over the world every month with photos of their chest alone. For my patients, I also consider their history, particularly weight loss and age. When a patient can come to the Austin Gynecomastia Center, I also perform a hands-on examination of their skin. Once I have made my assessment, I can tell you with confidence which treatment option is best for you.
Make the Informed Choice
What’s the moral of the story? Choose your surgeon wisely based on true experience and understanding of the condition. If your surgeon suggests skin removal with scars across your chest, always get another opinion. You need to be sure you aren’t making a poor choice that can’t be undone.
An experienced gynecomastia surgeon understands the capacity of the chest skin to retract, even in advanced cases. Surgeons who only work with gynecomastia patients a few times a year don’t have the necessary experience. Making a good decision with skin excision treatment requires expertise learned from treating hundreds of patients. If you are considering gynecomastia treatment — or if a surgeon thinks that your gynecomastia treatment requires skin removal — I urge you to schedule a free online consultation from the privacy of your own home. I’m here to help you make the right choice for your gynecomastia treatment.