Dr. Mark Barlow MD, Plastic Surgeon in Houston, Clear Lake, Texas

2060 Space Park Drive, Nassau Bay, Texas, 77058

(281) 333-8999

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Gynecomastia

Enlarged, feminine breasts on men, technically known as gynecomastia, can have many causes. Regardless of why it is present, gynecomastia can be very embarrassing for both adolescents and adults. In some cases, a hormone imbalance is the root cause. Dr. Barlow may have you work with an endocrinologist to correct such an imbalance. For others, prescription or elicit drug use or abuse can lead to breast enlargement. Anabolic steroids and marijuana use are the most common causes of breast enlargement in men.

At the time of your initial consultation, you will meet with Dr. Barlow and discuss your concerns and goals. He will examine you and then offer possible surgical solutions. At this time, the extent of the corrective surgery will be explained. Pre-operative photographs will be made to facilitate surgical planning. Of course, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered.

You will again see Dr. Barlow for a pre-operative appointment. The surgical plan will be reviewed and any additional questions answered. Dr. Barlow will note any changes in your medical history and will listen to your heart and lungs. You will also be given prescriptions to fill prior to your procedure. You will then register at the hospital.

The procedure takes between one and three hours and is typically performed under general anesthesia. In some cases, the breast volume can simply be reduced with liposuction. Surgical resection will frequently be required to reduce denser, more fibrous gynecomastoid growth. Incisions are typically made along the lower border of the nipple-areolar border. In rare circumstance, so much excess skin has been generated that longer incisions along the lower border of the chest must be made. Your surgical plan will be tailor made for you by Dr. Barlow.

Dr. Barlow's surgical time for bilateral gynecomastia varies between one and three hours, depending on technique. Dr. Barlow performs all procedures in two hospitals in the Clear Lake/Houston area (Houston Methodist St. John Hospital where he is co-director of the Plastic Surgery Program or Clear Lake Regional Hospital where he serves as the Plastic Surgery Section Head on the Surgical Executive Committee) as an outpatient procedure. This is an important distinction. In Texas, a fully trained plastic and reconstructive surgeon is granted hospital privileges to perform gynecomastia correction. Physicians who call themselves cosmetic surgeons may not have completed a plastic surgery residency. In fact, some cosmetic surgeons have not completed a single day of any surgical residency, let alone a plastic surgery residency. These physicians generally perform procedures in their own facilities because they cannot obtain hospital credentials. There is only one certifying board for plastic surgeons that is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, and that is the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The American Board of Medical Specialties governs and regulates each residency program, insuring that every graduate has met a rigorous training standard.

Post-operatively, you will be seen within a week to evaluate your healing. Bruising is common as is a moderate amount of swelling in the operative areas. You may be required to wear a compressive vest to help reduce swelling and speed your recovery. You will be seen weekly for the first month, every other week for the second month and then every other month out to six months. You will be followed annually from then on.

Full activities are resumed gradually but rigorous exercise is prohibited for the first post-operative month. This will allow your body time to recover from the surgery and avoid any unnecessarily prolonged swelling. During the early recovery period, increased activity will often lead to increased swelling.

Gynecomastia correction is a very gratifying procedure for both Dr. Barlow and his patients. Most men are very pleased with the increased self-esteem they experience. Dr. Barlow looks forward to meeting with you and discussing your options. Call or e-mail today to schedule your appointment!

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