Correcting Gynecomastia Or “Man Boobs”

Dr. Jeffrey Lee is a Harvard trained plastic surgeon serving patients in the greater Boston area. He specializes in cosmetic procedures of the face, breast, body, as well as nonsurgical treatments such as Botox and Juvederm. After medical school, he completed his training in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, a Harvard Medical School hospital. During this time, he also completed a fellowship in the Plastic Surgery Research Lab where he published numerous book chapters and journal articles. He also traveled extensively giving presentations at the national and international level advancing the field of plastic surgery. Haute Beauty discusses the causes of gynecomastia with Dr. Lee and options on how to correct enlarged breast tissue to restore a positive self-image.

male breastsPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

HB: What is Gynecomastia? What causes it?

Gynecomastia is abnormal breast tissue that can develop in men. The breast tissue can become enlarged and many times is surrounded by fat that can cause men to have the appearance of having breasts. While this is not dangerous, it can be unsightly and can cause men to feel self-conscious about their chests. I often hear from men suffering from gynecomastia that they feel uncomfortable taking their shirts off at the beach/pool or even wearing athletic shirts at the gym. Hormones play a large role in the development of gynecomastia and most people have no control over this. There are known causes such as marijuana, certain types of tumors, and anabolic steroids that do cause gynecomastia but most cases are idiopathic, meaning that it occurs without a known cause.

HB: What should a man do if they suspect they may have Gynecomastia?

Men with gynecomastia should first see their primary care provider to make sure they do not have a hormone-producing tumor. This can usually be evaluated by a physical examination and sometimes requires blood tests. The next step is to be evaluated by a plastic surgeon to see what needs to be done to correct it. From an appearance standpoint, gynecomastia usually requires surgery to correct.

HB: What options are available to treat it?

Surgical options include fat removal via liposuction, breast tissue removal via surgical excision, and skin removal via either skin tightening or surgical excision. What is required really depends on what is causing the problem and this can be diagnosed by a plastic surgeon during your consultation.

Gynecomastia Treatment BostonPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

HB: What is the recovery like?

Recovery is typically fairly easy compared to other surgeries. After your surgery, you will be asked to wear a compression garment for a few weeks. Pain is typically well controlled with a few days of prescription medication. Outside of this, I ask my patients to take it easy from an activity standpoint for a few weeks. I usually do not need to place drains unless it is a more severe case of gynecomastia.

HB: What is the cost?

The cost can range depending on what needs to be done. Most patients require a combination of liposuction and breast tissue excision which will range between $6,500-$8,500. If there is minimal fat and you only need excision of breast tissue, it will range between $5,500-$7,500. If you need fat, breast tissue, and skin excised, it will range between $8,000-$10,000.