frequently asked questions about gynecomastia
1 - Does gynecomastia have to be treated?
No, it does not. Even though gynecomastia may cause acute embarrassment to those afflicted with it, the excess tissue does not cause physical harm nor pose any risk. For example, gynecomastia is not a known risk factor for cancer. This is why insurance companies consider the surgery cosmetic.
No effective medical treatment exists at this time. There are supposed “treatments” that are sold over the Internet, but such products will lead to disappointment.
Liposuction cannot remove breast gland tissue as it is too firm and fibrous. Liposuction is a good treatment for pseudo-gynecomastia, because the breast fullness is due purely to fat accumulation. Dr. Delgado’s bgynecomastia reduction surgical practice consists of 30% revision surgery. The most common reason for revision surgery was that the initial surgery was performed using liposuction alone, a technique which fails to remove breast gland tissue.
The goal of gynecomastia reduction surgery is to produce an aesthetically attractive male chest and this usually means leaving some gland tissue behind. Removal of the entire breast gland could cause over-correction, or a crater deformity, which can be very difficult to fix.
Gynecomastia reduction surgery is not painful unless there is a complication, such as a hematoma. There can be tenderness at the drain insertion sites, but the drains are removed a few days after surgery. (These soft plastic drains allow any blood that may collect and the residual tumescent and anesthetic fluids used for the surgery to exit the surgical sites. The drains reduce the risk of a hematoma and promote better healing overall).
Most patients can drive a car and return to work by the end of the first week. If the work involves physical labor, the patient should allow two weeks for healing before returning to work. Exercise can start about the fourth week. The compression vest should be worn for six weeks, though it is easily concealed by clothing.
Yes, it is safe. At least 50% of Dr. Delgado's practice come from far distances. They will travel from the East Coast, Europe, Asia, Australia, or the Middle East. All of the pre-op planning is done in advance with a virtual consultation by phone or Skype. The lab tests are completed in the patient’s home location, prior to travel. The surgery is performed on day one; drains, if used, are removed on day three; an appointment with final post-op instructions is scheduled for day four; departure for home can be on day five. All follow-up is done with photos via email. As Dr. Delgado frequently performs surgery on patients from out of town, he offers a travel package to offset some of the costs, using a local motel that offers a flexible free shuttle service.
The cost is approximately $6,000-$8,000. This is all inclusive, and covers Dr. Delgado's fee, anesthesia by Dr. Gaynor, a board certified anethesiologist, and the cost for use of Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center, a state and federally certified surgery facility.
Only on rare occasions, will insurance companies pay for gynecomastia surgery. Insurance companies consider this an elective, cosmetic procedure. If the male breast enlargement can be attributed to a medical syndrome, tumor, or other significant medical condition, then the insurance company might cover cost of the surgery.
All men with enlarged breasts are candidates but the more extreme cases of gynecomastia will require more extensive surgery and possibly skin excision. It is important for the patient to be healthy and emotionally stable. A consultation with Dr. Delgado will help determine if the patient is a good candidate and what may be the potential result.