Whether it’s about recovery time, budget or something more complex, many of our patients have a concern or two about whether they can undergo male breast reduction surgery. In fact, it’s a rare guy who comes through the door with nothing at all to consider prior to his procedure.
What if your concern relates to your health? Will you still be able to have gynecomastia surgery if you’re managing a medical condition or taking medication? Here are some thoughts based on more than three decades of working with men with gynecomastia.
Prospective candidates for male breast reduction often think surgery will be too risky if they have diabetes, blood pressure issues, HIV or another condition they’re handling. The truth is, we have treated many guys with health challenges. As long as your primary care physician clears you for the procedure and you complete all required tests, there’s no reason surgery should be an undue risk.
In cases like these, we can have a conversation with your doctor prior to your operation, and we can perform surgery in a local hospital rather than our accredited outpatient surgical suite if necessary. Remember, the procedure takes just an hour or 90 minutes for most patients and does not invade the chest cavity. Surgery may be more straightforward than you realize.
If you’re taking medication on a regular basis (including herbal and other non-FDA regulated substances), we’ll talk it over with you in consultation. Some medications, such as blood thinners, may need to be suspended for a short period of time. We have a great deal of experience managing medications with our patients, and if there’s any question about what’s best we can coordinate with your physician.
If you take pharmaceuticals that are recognized as triggers for the growth of man boobs, such as some antidepressants, Finasteride for hair loss, some heart medications and others, we’ll need to discuss this. You may still be a good candidate for gynecomastia surgery, but there’s some possibility that breast tissue may return if you continue with your current meds. We have seen thousands of cases of gynecomastia in men and boys and can give you an idea about what to expect to help you make decisions.
Many so-called “recreational” drugs are known or thought to contribute to cases of gynecomastia. These include amphetamines and heroin, and even marijuana and alcohol. If you use any of these, again we will need to discuss the situation in consultation. We’ll be talking about whether enlarged breasts may return and about your overall health and well-being, and yes, we’ll encourage you to think long and hard about what’s most important.
It’s a similar picture for bodybuilders and other athletes who take anabolic steroids. These substances are notorious for causing breast growth, and we hold include in-depth conversations about the future with these patients.
Even if you consider yourself a regular guy with not much to worry about, be assured that we will still take steps to safeguard your health. Every now and then, we discover something no one anticipated, neither patient nor surgeon! For example, routine blood tests revealed a rare bleeding problem in two patients just weeks apart—a variant of hemophilia neither man was aware of. We coordinated care with hematologists and both patients had uneventful gynecomastia surgery (that could have turned out very differently). A “one in a million” experience? Sure. Worth performing the routine tests for every patient? Definitely.
We always encourage prospective gynecomastia surgery patients to choose their plastic surgeon with great care. Board certification and hundreds of successful cases are musts—these credentials help ensure that average guys are likely to get a good outcome.
If you’re a man with an additional challenge such as an underlying medical condition, it’s critical to find the most experienced plastic surgeon you can. You’ll want to know that your doctor has the skills to produce good results and increase the chances that he or she has worked with many other patients like you.
We would be happy to consult with you by phone or in person. Drop us a line!
Reach out to Dr. Jacobs today to schedule your consultation!