What is Gynecomastia?

It can often make men feel awkward, uncomfortable, and self-conscious, but excess fat in the chest area is not an uncommon condition – and it can be treated. Gynecomastia, the clinical term for enlarged breasts in men, can be addressed with male breast reduction surgery at our practice serving Reno, Nevada, and the Lake Tahoe region. Dr. Tiffany McCormack is an experienced plastic surgeon who can eliminate excess fat and tissue in the breasts and give the chest area a more tightened, fit appearance.

What Causes Gynecomastia?

While gynecomastia typically manifests in the teenage years, the condition can arise at any time over the age of puberty. A singular cause of gynecomastia is unknown, but visible male breast tissue has been known to result from a variety of factors, including:

  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Steroid use
  • Medications containing estrogen
  • Aging
  • Klinefelter Syndrome

What are the Symptoms of Gynecomastia?

In general, lingering breast fullness that does not resolve itself after puberty in spite of good dieting and exercise habits can be a sign of gynecomastia. Symptoms of the condition may include:

  • Overdeveloped breasts
  • Breasts that appear disproportionate
  • Swelling or protrusion of the nipples
  • Breast tenderness
  • Excessive glandular tissue

If left untreated, gynecomastia can lead to serious psychological problems, including depression and extremely low self-esteem. If you think you may be affected by gynecomastia, please contact Dr. McCormack at our Reno-area practice. During a consultation, she can help you discover whether breast tissue, glandular tissue, or accumulated fat is creating your enlarged breast appearance, and discuss the appropriate treatment options accordingly.

True Gynecomastia vs. Pseudogynecomastia

Gynecomastia and pseudogynecomastia are terms used to describe excessive breast fullness in men. As both conditions can look the same—typically creating an enlarged breast appearance—many patients are unsure whether they are affected by one or the other.

The biggest distinction between gynecomastia and pseudogynecomastia is the type of tissue creating the look of increased chest mass. While gynecomastia is characterized by excess breast or glandular tissue, pseudogynecomastia refers to breast fullness caused by stubborn fat (adipose tissue). As the prefix “pseudo” means “resembling something else,” many patients who experience redundant fat in, around, and behind the nipples believe they have true gynecomastia as opposed to pseudogynecomastia. However, pseudogynecomastia can cause many of the same symptoms as gynecomastia, such as embarrassment and a negative body image. Dr. McCormack offers treatment for both conditions and can perform an examination to determine the best way to restore the flat planes of the chest for your unique situation.

How is the Male Breast Reduction Procedure Performed?

Treatment for gynecomastia will depend on your individual situation. Dr. Tiffany McCormack will first determine whether your condition is caused by excess fat and tissue, or by glandular tissue. In cases of excess fat and skin, liposuction alone may be all that is needed to reduce the breasts. Sometimes, even non-surgical fat reduction methods, such as CoolSculpting®, can be enough to achieve the desired result.   Once the excess tissue has been removed, the area should have a more contoured, firm appearance. Dr. McCormack will go over all aspects of the procedure with you at your initial consultation, and help you determine if male breast reduction is the best option to meet your needs.

What is Recovery from Male Breast Reduction Like?

Depending on the extent of the procedure, patients can expect some bruising and mild discomfort after male breast reduction. Any residual discomfort can be alleviated with medication. Normal daily routines can typically be resumed within a few days after surgery.

Will I Have Gynecomastia Surgery Scars?

Any surgical procedure can leave small scars, but the incisions made during male breast reduction are typically hidden in the natural contours of the chest and nipples. The visibility of your scars will depend on a number of factors, including the amount of tissue removed, the elasticity of your skin, and whether glandular or fatty tissue contributed to your gynecomastia. In some cases, male breast reduction using liposuction techniques can lead to a smaller scar than procedures in which glandular tissue must be removed. More importantly, a plastic surgeon’s level of experience performing gynecomastia treatment will be the ultimate determinant of how visible your scars will be.

As a board-certified plastic surgeon who focuses exclusively on aesthetic surgery, Dr. McCormack is well-equipped to restore the masculine contours of the chest while incurring as little scarring as possible. She is highly experienced performing male breast reduction and knows which techniques can achieve a natural-looking result. Gynecomastia surgery scars generally heal very well and can fade over time to become even more inconspicuous. Certain measures can be taken to help ensure scars mature properly for an “unoperated” look, such as applying sun protection to avoid hyperpigmentation and keeping incisions from drying out.

How Much Does Male Breast Reduction Cost?

Patient reviews from Realself.com list the average price of gynecomastia treatment near Reno as $5,525, with the cost ranging anywhere between $2,500 – $9,650 depending on your needs. Although this figure is not necessarily an accurate reflection of the price at our practice, it can hopefully serve as a general approximation while you research treatment options. The cost of your unique procedure will be influenced by the type of surgical technique used, as well as other factors, such as your geographic location and the expertise of your plastic surgeon.

In our effort to make the cost of treatment more affordable, our practice works with some of the leading healthcare companies in the nation, including CareCredit®, ALPHAEON™ Credit, and Prosper® Healthcare Lending. These plastic surgery financing options offer qualified applicants a wide array of flexible payment plans with low monthly installments to suit their budgetary concerns. If you have any questions about the cost of gynecomastia treatment, or would like to speak to a member of our team, don’t hesitate to reach out to our practice today.

Does Insurance Cover Gynecomastia?

There are very specific circumstances in which gynecomastia surgery may be partially or completely covered by medical insurance, but most policies consider male breast reduction a cosmetic procedure that is ineligible for insurance coverage. However, every patient’s healthcare policy is unique, so be sure to discuss this possibility with your insurer. For any out-of-pocket expenses, Dr. McCormack accepts various financing plans from some of the nation’s leading healthcare lending companies. These low- to no-interest arrangements can make gynecomastia surgery more affordable for qualified patients who prefer this method of payment. A member of our team will be happy to provide you with all of your options during your initial consultation.

Can Certain Exercises Treat Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is usually the result of fatty tissue combined with glandular breast tissue, therefore the effectiveness of chest exercises is limited. While working out the pectoral muscles can indeed strengthen muscles in the region, there is no exercise regimen that can remove male breast tissue and flatten the chest. For this reason, patients who exercise this region to reduce their gynecomastia usually do not experience the results they desire.

With confidential, effective male breast reduction procedures, our plastic surgeon serving the Lake Tahoe and Reno, Nevada area can help men fight gynecomastia and increase their self-confidence. Please contact Dr. Tiffany McCormack to schedule a consultation.