Gynaecomastia or enlarged male breasts can be a distressing problem that Dr O’Mahony corrects with surgery.
What Causes Gynaecomastia?
Enlargement of the male breast may result from a reduction in the levels of the male hormone testosterone compared with the level of the hormone oestrogen. This results in growth of breast tissue. In many cases of gynaecomastia is caused simply by the natural hormone fluctuations that are seen in infancy, puberty or old age.
Other causes for gynaecomastia include:
- Significant hormone imbalance due to a medical abnormality in hormone production and balance
- Liver or kidney failure
- Illicit drug
- Anabolic Steroids
How is Gynaecomastia Assessed and Treated?
Established gynaecomastia in adolescents or older men is treated with surgery. Surgery is not undertaken on infants for gynaecomastia. Prior to any surgery Dr O’Mahony would require investigation into the cause of the abnormal breast growth, usually with a history, physical examination and blood tests.
If you or your child has abnormal breast growth it is most useful to have your local doctor undertake the investigations or refer you to a paediatrician or endocrinologist for investigation into the cause of the problem before your appointment with her so she can proceed with advising you on treatment options when she meets with you.
Surgery for Gynaecomastia
The surgical technique for correction of gynaecomastia depends on the size of the breast. Breasts are composed or both fatty tissue and glandular tissue.
Small to moderate breast excess can be treated using a combination of liposuction to remove fatty tissue and contour the chest to a the normal male shape, and surgical removal of glandular breast tissue through a small incision around the areola (the pigmented area around the nipple), which is well camouflaged. This procedure does not remove extra skin from the breast. In young people the skin usually settles well after surgery and no skin removal is required. In a minority of people a second procedure 12 months or more after surgery maybe required to reduce loose skin if it has not tightened up.
Large breast excess is requires removal of fatty and glandular tissue along with excess skin in the first operation. This results in some scars on the chest around the areola, in the crease under the breast and vertically from the areola to the crease.
What is the Recovery after Surgery for Gynaecomastia?
Surgery is usually undertaken under general anaesthetic as a day case. Dr O’Mahony requires you to wear a compressive vest for 6 weeks after surgery , and not engage in any sport during that time. Time off school or work depends on the size of the breasts, one week maybe sufficient in small or medium breasts, usually 2 weeks in large breasts.
Will Medicare/Health Funds Recognise Surgery?
Correction of gynaecomastia is considered reconstructive surgery not cosmetic surgery and hence some rebates are often available from Medicare and or Health funds. Dr O’Mahony’s practice nurse can provide you with a quotation for surgery after your consultation.
If you would like to make an appointment to discuss your individual concerns regarding gynaecomastia with Dr O’Mahony please contact her office.