Breast enlargement, also known as gynecomastia, is an embarrassing and painful condition many men face. The problem is particularly prevalent among bodybuilders who take steroids or supplements containing hormones to enhance their results. Fortunately, special techniques in gynecomastia surgery can make treatment of this patient population highly effective and successful.
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a condition characterized by the enlargement of breast tissue in men. For some the problem may be relatively mild, but other men may have a significantly enlarged breast size that causes excessive pain and embarrassment. There are a variety of reasons why gynecomastia may develop, including:
- Hormone fluctuations
- Underlying medical conditions like liver disease
- Some medications, including anabolic steroids
- Lack of testosterone or exposure to estrogen
- Chemotherapy treatments
With bodybuilders, the risk is higher due to steroid and hormone use. These substances can also complicate treatment somewhat, so it is important to select a physician that is experienced in treating this condition in bodybuilders specifically.
For some men, gynecomastia may resolve on its own over time. This is especially true for young men that develop the problem during puberty. If the problem does not resolve, surgical treatment may be necessary. Gynecomastia surgery involves removal of excess breast tissue, fat and skin to construct a flatter, more masculine body contour.
Gynecomastia surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis under local or general anesthesia. Most men recover relatively quickly from the procedure, with the majority returning to work and other activities within one week. Scarring after the procedure is minimal, since care is taken to place incisions in hidden areas like around the areola.
Special Considerations for Bodybuilders
Bodybuilders are more concerned about their appearance as a general rule, which makes gynecomastia surgery on these patients more complex. Complications are also increased by the fact that these patients typically have more blood flow in the chest muscles, which can increase the bleeding risk during and after surgery. Steroid use can also increase bleeding risk.
In some cases, it is preferred to remove all the breast glandular tissue from patients in this category, to prevent the condition from redeveloping over time. This is particularly true of patients that plan to continue using anabolic steroids after surgery. However, these patients usually have less fat and skin to remove than other gynecomastia patients.
When performed by an experienced plastic surgeon, gynecomastia surgery can be a very successful experience for bodybuilders. To learn more about the procedure, contact Dr. Andrews at PCI Plastic Surgery at 319-382-8230.