Gynecomastia surgery for bodybuilders involves a host of unique challenges. Nevertheless, its goal remains the same—to correct the appearance of overdeveloped or woman-like breasts by removing the excess glandular tissue and possibly some fat.
Dr. Tarick Smiley, one of the leading Los Angeles plastic surgeons, explains the key variables that make gynecomastia surgery for bodybuilders different, or even more challenging than when the procedure is performed on men with “average” physique.
* Bodybuilders have higher expectations. Not surprisingly, these people have high regard to their physique sometimes to the point that they want perfect results. However, perfection is not possible with any form of plastic surgery as it always comes with some caveats and potential risks.
Nevertheless, the surgery can deliver satisfying results for patients with realistic goals and expectations.
It is important to place the incision within the border of the lower areola, and ensure the resulting scar will not migrate, so there will be no obvious signs of the surgery.
* The overdeveloped chest muscle poses a unique challenge. Not only does it increase the risk of bleeding and hematoma (pooling of blood beneath the skin), having this anatomical feature warrants a more meticulous surgical maneuver to deliver impressive, long-lasting results.
While gynecomastia surgery typically involves simultaneous liposuction (fat removal) so the breast tissue will become more compressed prior to its excision, bodybuilders rarely require this ancillary procedure because of their low body fat percentage.
* They may require a different maneuver. Aside from the no-liposuction approach, male breast reduction for bodybuilders typically entails a more aggressive glandular tissue removal to prevent or at least minimize the risk of recurrence. However, it is critical to leave behind 2-3 mm of tissue beneath the skin to avoid nipple-areola collapse and other surgical stigmata.
* Continued use of anabolic use. Surveys have suggested that most bodybuilders who sought for gynecomastia surgery had overlarge breasts due to the use of anabolic steroids or hormone-laden sports drinks/supplements. And even after complete cessation, this “condition” persisted until plastic surgery was performed.
Despite knowing the strong link between anabolic use and overlarge breasts, one study has suggested that continued use was very common among bodybuilders who had the surgery.
* Physical restriction may discourage some patients from seeking gynecomastia surgery. The consensus is to avoid rigorous exercise programs, particularly if they involve the chest muscle, for at least four weeks to avoid bleeding, hematoma, persistent swelling, and other factors that could lead to poor healing.
Due to prolonged downtime, some bodybuilders with overdeveloped breasts avoid or postpone having the surgery.