Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Gynecomastia: Answering Your Treatment Questions

Gynecomastia is a condition in which a man develops breasts more commonly associated with women. Often, the effect of this excess growth is minimal and unnoticed by anyone but the victim. Of course, that doesn't make it any better from the individual's standpoint. They may still feel self-conscious and want to have it taken care of surgically. Such options do exist. Although the condition will sometimes go away on its own, in other situations surgery may be the only available treatment method that will make a real difference. Here are the answers to some of the questions you may have.
Are you a candidate?
This is something that can only be properly answered by your doctor, but one of the most important considerations will come from you. Put simply, does the condition bother you enough to take the risks of going into surgery? If so, surgery is a strong option and is probably the best one when all factors are considered. Of course, that isn't the only thing your doctor is going to take into account when determining if you're a good candidate. He will also want to make sure you're healthy and able to handle the effects of the procedure.
How young is too young?
Most doctors like to wait until a patient is 18 years old before they consider surgically treating gynecomastia. This isn't some sort of unfair adolescent discrimination, but rather it is a practical consideration. It makes no sense to undergo surgery if your hormones are still in flux, causing additional tissue growth. You'll wind up in the same position six months from now as you were when you walked into the doctor's office. Surgeons want to make sure the tissue growth is stabilized before recommending surgery.
How do I choose a good surgeon?
Any kind of male breast reduction is considered plastic surgery and thus should be performed by someone who has been board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This alone will ensure you find someone with the requisite training and experience. However, it doesn't hurt to do a little further research. If you can find someone in your area who has made treating gynecomastia a major part of their practice, you'll probably get better results than if you go somewhere that it is just a small part of a larger clinic.
Is it covered by insurance?
Unfortunately, most insurance companies classify gynecomastia surgery as an elective procedure and thus will not cover the costs. Many doctors provide financing options for patients who need it.

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