I'm 26, and I Should've Had This Surgery Years Ago! - Houston, TX

I’m posting this story to share my experience...

I’m posting this story to share my experience with a subject that’s addressed too rarely in our society, but yet which affects many men: gynecomastia, AKA “man-boobs,” “man-tits,” etc… Hopefully my story will provide some encouragement for those who are dealing with this issue and might be considering surgery.

As a short man (5’5”), I’ve always been very self-conscious about my body. As a child and up through college, I was also rather overweight at around 140-160 lbs. with little muscle. Near the end of college, I began running to lose weight and starting a somewhat regular exercise routine using body weight and free weights etc. Since then, I’ve been in and out of shape depending on how busy I’ve been with work etc., but I’ve consistently maintained a higher muscle mass despite gaining and losing weight. I’m now 26 and weigh about 142 lbs…. at my leanest I was at 125 lbs. when I was 23.

I was always uncomfortable with my chest, but I thought that I was just chubby and had “man-boobs” from just fat. I’ve always had “pointy nipples” where the areola grows in size and sticks out more when it is warm than when cold. Even when cold and the nipple was small though, there just seemed to be too much tissue on the breast area. It almost looked like big pec muscles, but didn’t have the right lines or hardness of muscle tissue. I was definitely ridiculed for it when younger (like at the pool or when wearing tighter shirts), and even as I’m older I notice people staring at my chest at the gym or when at the beach etc. I thought that the problem would go away when I got into shape—after all, I thought that it was just fat tissue.

However, over the course of gaining muscle and losing weight, I noticed that the “boobs” became more visible and did not reduce in size much when I lost weight. As I gained stronger chest muscles, I felt as though the breasts became much more visible. As I gained muscle and leaned out more, I could see and feel a distinct area where there was somewhat firm tissue on top of the muscle and under my nipples, as well as fat all around the lower pec area. I started researching the issue on the internet, and became aware of gynecomastia (woman-like breast development in men).

Honestly, I’ve worked out a lot less since I found that I couldn’t make the “boobs” go away… at least when I was a little overweight, the belly helped hide the large chest.

I’m the type of guy who has to research something fully until I’m confortable making a decision. Even going to a doctor to discuss the problem was a really hard thing for me to do… I had a lot of anxiety about the whole thing. However, my fears were totally misplaced. No one at the doctor’s office made fun of me, and the doctor confirmed the presence of breast tissue on both sides through a simple physical examination. They conducted a blood test for both male and female hormone levels, and everything came up perfectly normal. Apparently this condition can occur from hormones in puberty or other unknown causes.

After a lengthy consideration, I finally decided to get surgery to eliminate the problem. I did a lot of research and found out that there is a relatively recent technique that uses one or two small punctures (2-3mm each) and a combination of liposuction and tissue extraction in strips. This technique seemed much better to me, as it doesn’t leave any large scars. To anyone interested, see this: http://centerforplasticsurgery.wordpress.com/article/gynecomastia-breast-tissue-removal-1vzjj2of3zunt-75/

My surgeon used a similar technique to the one in the article, but with one small incision on each side of the chest and one small one on each nipple/areola.

I went through with the surgery just a few days ago. It was my first time under general anesthesia so I was a bit anxious about it, but the doctors and nurses were excellent and made me feel very comfortable. The surgery was over in an hour (I don’t remember a thing), and I was awake and out the door after 30-45 minutes of recovery from the anesthesia. They gave me diazepam and hydrocodone to reduce the pain and help me relax and sleep for this week while I recover.

The total cost of all appointments and my surgery was just under $6500. However, I can already state that it’s worth it. I still have some moderate swelling and some gnarly looking bruises, but the flatness of my chest is already 90% better! In a few weeks, I am going to get back into running to lean up and will work on more chest exercises once I’m fully healed. In the meantime, I have to wear a compression vest, which is moderately annoying but not too uncomfortable.

Even at this early stage post-surgery, I am very happy with my results. I would really encourage any guy dealing with gynecomastia issues to go see a doctor. In some cases, it can be addressed through hormonal treatments without surgery. Even if it requires surgery, I think it is worth it for the benefit of feeling comfortable in my body. Although my surgery was expensive because I went with a top-notch doctor, it can be much cheaper (especially in other countries). Unfortunately, the surgery is not covered by most health insurance plans in the US.

I’m posting pictures so that y’all can see what my form of gynecomastia looked like and how my chest looks now at this early stage. I’ll be sure to post more pictures in the coming weeks as the healing comes along. It may take 8 weeks or longer for everything to be fully healed with no swelling or bruising.

Two weeks later and healing nicely

I'm about to go in for my two-week follow-up appointment. I thought it would be helpful to share my healing experience in the last 15 days or so. All of the bruises have disappeared, although my chest is still sore in areas. Other than soreness, the pain when resting (or not stretching too much) was minimal after the first week or so. However, I could not sleep on my side until the last few days or so... that was pretty annoying because I'm usually a side sleeper. The prescriptions (Valium and Hydrocodone) definitely helped me get to sleep for a while.

Although my nipples/areolas initially had some swelling and a little bit of bleeding (very minimal), that has now completely healed and the areola diameter seems smaller and more aesthetically pleasing now. The pectoral area of my chest and nipples still feel pretty sore and sensitive to pressure, but are not generally painful and the swelling is almost totally gone. The small liposuction incisions on my side had a very small amount of drainage each day for the first week, but I just applied fresh gauze and ointment every day and that was enough to take care of it with no problems. However, I left the gauze and tape on too long the first few days when I was stuck in bed, which made it irritate my skin and form blisters. Those blisters hurt worse than the incisions themselves! Now everything is pretty much healed up, and I only notice it if I try to stretch my arms too high.

I do feel like there is some slight asymmetry between my right and left nipple in terms of how they are positioned around the pec area... While my right side feels "right," the left side seems like it still has a small amount of swelling that is pushing it out a little in the downward direction. It's probably hard to see this from the pictures, as it's pretty minimal. It makes sense that the left side would swell more, because I'm pretty sure it had more glandular tissue than the right side. I'll talk to the surgeon today, but I'm pretty sure some slight swelling is normal for a few months.

Overall, I'm impressed with my speedy recovery. I'm hoping to hear that I can remove my compression vest today and begin cardio exercise to burn off that belly fat... we'll see!
Houston Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Boynton did a great job making me feel comfortable with the procedure and was both very friendly and professional. His staff did a great job making sure I was fully informed about everything and did a great job making me feel comfortable. While my interactions with him were fairly short, he and his staff were and still are very available to me for any questions or help. Even only 2 days after the surgery, the results look great. The incisions are very small and should heal well. Although there is slight swelling (which is normal), the reduction in size and form is already dramatic. I am impressed with his work and very glad I did this surgery.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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