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Medically Reviewed by:

Robert Applebaum M.D.

Gynecomastia Surgery: What You Need to Know

Plastic surgery has evolved over the years.  In addition to being more socially accepted, there is an increase in the number of men undergoing plastic surgery.  Plastic surgery is now widely performed on both men and women.  Fortunately, new technology advances have improved aesthetics and decreased recovery time. 

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons shared on their website the results of a new report from the ASPS, which revealed that in 2018, more than 1.3 million cosmetic procedures were performed on men.  One of the most common types of plastic surgery that men are undergoing is breast reduction surgery for the treatment of a condition called gynecomastia. 

What is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is the medical term used to describe enlarged or swelling of breast tissue in men. It can affect one or both breasts. Gynecomastia is more common than you may think. According to Cleveland Clinic, 25% of men experience gynecomastia at mid-age or older. However, gynecomastia can occur at any age

Causes of gynecomastia

Some causes of gynecomastia include:

  • Hormonal imbalance: the most common cause of gynecomastia is an imbalance between estrogen and testosterone. Typically males produce more testosterone (the male hormone) than estrogen.  In gynecomastia males often have a higher than normal level of estrogen. 
  • Obesity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Liver disease
  • Endocrine disorders including hyperthyroidism, hypoandrogenism, hypogonadism
  • Kidney failure
  • Testicular tumors or adrenal gland tumors
  • Medications: A variety of medications may cause gynecomastia. Some medications include:
    •  Steroids
    • finasteride (taken for enlarged prostate)
    • Heart (cardiac) medications such as Spironolactone, digoxin, amiodarone, and calcium channel blockers. 
    • reflux( GERD) medications such as cimetidine and proton pump inhibitors
    • Valium for anxiety
    • Ketoconazole
    • Metronidazole
    • Human chorionic gonadotropin for fertility issues
    • Substances such as street drugs (marijuana, amphetamines, heroin, methadone) and alcohol.

How Gynecomastia Can Affect Men

Gynecomastia may cause a man to have difficulty comfortably wearing fitted clothing or removing their shirts at the beach or pool. Gynecomastia can also cause emotional stress and decrease self-esteem. Some men may avoid being physically active or avoid intimate activity because they feel self-conscious due to gynecomastia. 

How do you know if you have gynecomastia?

If you think you may have gynecomastia, make an appointment with your doctor or other healthcare provider. Some symptoms of gynecomastia include excess localized fat on one or both breasts and our tender breasts. To help diagnose gynecomastia, your healthcare provider will perform a physical examination, obtain a detailed history, and possibly order additional testing.  It is important to be honest with your healthcare provider so that he or she can best determine the underlying cause of the gynecomastia.  Testing that may be ordered is:

  • Blood sample for laboratory testing: test may include hormone levels including estrogen, testosterone. A complete blood cell count to evaluate blood cell levels. Also, a metabolic panel to evaluate the functioning of your liver and kidneys. 
  • Imaging testing: testing may be ordered and may include an ultrasound or mammogram. 

Treating Gynecomastia

There are some non-surgical options for treating gynecomastia, however, men are not always successful is seeing results with these measures and if success is observed, it may take a long time for noticeable results to occur. 

Non-surgical options

Some non-surgical options include:

  • Watchful waiting
  • Diet and exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Avoiding using drugs and steroids
  • Decreasing alcohol consumption
  • Hormone treatment

Male Breast Reduction

In some situations, gynecomastia resolves or improves on its own. However, this is not always the case. It is important that the underlying cause of gynecomastia is identified. A male breast reduction, also known as gynecomastia surgery, is a surgical procedure to correct gynecomastia. A breast reduction offers immediate and permanent removal of breast tissue.  These results can boost self-confidence and self-esteem. Recovery time is typically 5-7 days and return to physical activity typical can occur after  2-3 weeks from surgery.  Read more about gynecomastia surgery: https://www.applebaummd.com/procedures/breast/gynecomastia/ 

Cost of Male Breast Reduction Surgery

While insurance companies may not cover the cost of gynecomastia surgery, it is good ideas to check with your specific insurance policy to find out if your policy covers the surgery.  The average cost of gynecomastia surgery is $4,123. This is based on the American Society of Plastic Surgeons statistics from their 2019 report.  This cost does not include facility fees or anesthesia.  It is important to discuss pricing with your plastic surgery office, and they can also possibly assist you with financial planning if your insurance does not cover the procedure.      

 Good Surgical Candidates for Gynecomastia Surgery

 According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, good surgical candidates for gynecomastia surgery include:

  • A man who was unsuccessful at correcting gynecomastia with non-surgical treatments
  • A man who is healthy and does not have a significant underlying medical disease that would impair healing or recovery from the surgery.
  • Non-smoker 
  • non -drug users
  • A man who is physically healthy and at a stable weight (no rapid increase or decrease in weight)
  • A man who has a realistic expectation of what to expect aesthetically and during the recovery period
  • A man who is concerned that his breasts are too large
  • A man whose breast development has stabilized. If gynecomastia surgery is performed before growing is complete, additional breast tissue may continue to form even after surgery.

When selecting a plastic surgeon, men should seek a plastic surgeon who has experience in performing procedures on male patients. Men and women’s bodies are composed of different proportions and each is looking for different outcomes from breast reduction surgery.  Dr. Applebaum provides customized procedures to fit each patient’s desired outcome.

Dr. Robert Applebaum

Dr. Robert Applebaum has performed various cosmetic surgeries on both men and women. Review Dr. Applebaum’s before and after photos of both men and women at his online photo gallery.

Applebaum MD is located in the heart of Beverly Hills, Californa.  Dr. Applebaum’s office offers a comforting atmosphere where the staff will manage your concerns and care for your needs. 

If you are a man considering plastic surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Applebaum to discuss possible options specifically for you. Dr. Applebaum and his team can answer your questions in a comforting atmosphere. If you are unable to travel at the moment, no problem.  Consultations are complimentary and tele-consult is available.  

His patients have a great experience and amazing end results.  One of Dr. Applebaums most recent patients commented on the following:

“I have seen my fair share of surgeons before meeting Dr. Applebaum and there are no words that can describe how incredible he is. From the second I entered his office, I felt an immediate feeling of trust and respect. His staff, made out of the most wonderful, smart ladies, made me feel at home and taken care of. Dr. Applebaum is THE most caring, attentive, incredible surgeon I have ever met and most of all he is an artist. I would have never dreamt of achieving the results I am now seeing every day on my body thanks to him. I will be forever thankful to all the help he has given me. Please look no further, in a city like LA it is very hard finding someone that will understand who you are and what you want without being biased by the standards of this city.”

His patient worded it better than we ever could. 

Medically reviewed by Dr. Robert Applebaum

Dr. Robert Applebaum is a world renowned and highly respected Plastic Surgeon who is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. In his nearly 30 years as a practicing physician, Dr. Applebaum has become known as an innovator in the field of laser technology techniques for plastic surgery procedures. He has published numerous articles and scientific papers about the use of laser technology and educates physicians worldwide on the applications of laser technology for plastic surgery. Dr. Applebaum primarily practices out of his private outpatient surgery center, Four Thirty Six Aesthetic Surgery Center, which is located in Beverly Hills.







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