Up until a few years ago, we’d never really heard the word gynecomastia. Though common among doctors, especially plastic surgeons, gynecomastia isn’t something you’d expect to hear tossed around at a dinner party or on the sports court. Men who have it often try to hide it. Men with gynecomastia that isn’t well-hidden are said to have “man boobs,” a term that is more than informal, it’s downright degrading.
The physical aspects of gynecomastia, enlarged male breasts, may be minor compared to the emotional toll this condition takes on a man’s sense of self-confidence. The causes of gynecomastia are not fully understood, which only adds to the confusion about how to handle this situation. Although there may be several potential causes or a combination of causes, what we do know is that surgery can help.
The benefit of gynecomastia surgery is that this procedure gets to the source of the problem, the breast tissue. Breast tissue is different than fatty tissue, and both need to be removed during gynecomastia surgery. The breast tissue is glandular, it is where the stimulation to grow fat in excess occurs. Surgery carefully excises this. Fatty tissue may be removed with minimally-invasive liposuction. The surgical path makes sense because it is proven. Still, men have questions. The most common one we hear has to do with recovery and post-operative exercise.
Recovering from Gynecomastia Surgery
Male breast surgery can sound intimidating. However, most patients can begin to add normal activities back into their routine within a few days. Right after surgery, a compression garment may be applied around the chest. This supports healing tissues and reduces swelling. Patients may take prescription pain medication for a few days, which may make them somewhat groggy. This is fine because it helps keep patients from overdoing it when what their body needs is rest.
Walking is the first form of exercise a patient gets after gynecomastia surgery. This can resume as soon as it feels comfortable, often by the next day. Walking is beneficial because it stimulates circulation and oxygenation to heal tissue. After about 10 days, patients may return to work, provided that their job is not strenuous. Exercise may resume about 4 weeks after surgery but should focus on the lower body. Upper body exercise can resume once approved by Dr. Stiller, usually by 6 weeks post-op. Once upper body exercise begins, it needs to be less intense than it was before surgery. Until complete recovery, chest muscles and skin are prone to injury.
Surgery is a proven successful treatment option for gynecomastia. To see how this procedure can help you, call (509) 747-5773 and schedule a consultation at our Spokane, WA office.