Gynecomastia is an abnormal enlargement of a man's mammary glands; the glands may even secrete milk. Men of all ages can be affected by this condition and find it very distressing. Contrary to popular belief, obesity is not the underlying cause of the problem. The actual cause is unknown. Tissue sensitivity and a sex hormone imbalance have been associated with the problem, but have not been proven to be the culprits.

A close examination by a doctor is needed to diagnosis this condition. Ultrasounds, mammograms and X-rays are usually done to help in the diagnosis. Blood tests may be taken to rule out any other underlying illnesses or causes for the Gynecomastia.

Breast-reduction surgery by a cosmetic surgeon who specializes in Gynecomastia is an option. Prior to surgery, a complete physical and medical work up will be scheduled. This will include blood tests, a chest X-ray and possibly another mammogram. At this time ask the doctor any relevant questions: the more you know and understand about the surgery, the smoother your road to recovery will be. Follow all pre-op instructions given to you by your doctor.

Gynecomastia surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis while you're under general anesthesia. The procedure lasts about one hour, but can last longer if there are any complications.

During this surgery excess tissue from the mammary glands is removed with a scalpel. If liposuction is also used, a tube goes under the skin and sucks out fat deposits. The incision is usually made in a location where it will not be too noticeable, at the edge of the areola or under the arm. Excess skin and fat around the breast bottom, sides and areola are cut away and removed through these incisions.

A small "drain" may be inserted into another tiny incision to help remove excess fluids from the surgical area. Dressings cover the incisions, and bandages are wrapped tightly around the breast area to hold the skin firmly in place.

For the first few days, there will be noticeable discomfort, but prescription medications will help alleviate the pain. Bruising and swelling in and around the surgical area are normal after surgery.

For two weeks after surgery you must wear an elastic bandage around your chest at all times. After that, the bandage must be worn only at nights to help the recovery process. Sutures are removed 14 days after surgery.

Risks associated with this surgery include bleeding, scarring, slow healing, sensations of skin changes, lost sensation in the nipple, and nerve, skin or muscle damage.

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