Puffy Nipple Surgical Treatment

What is Puffy Nipple?

Puffy nipples is a condition found in men and adolescent boys and is usually known by its technical term - Gynecomsatia. It results in the abnormal development of glandular tissue around the nipples and breast area and can be very psychologically distressing to those who suffer from it. It is usually caused either by obesity or a hormone imbalance or a combination of the two. It first appears most commonly in adolescent boys but can also develop in middle-age or old-age. If the underlying cause in adolescence is not obesity then it will usually be grown out of after two to three years. Diet and losing weight can help to reduce the problem but in most acute cases of the condition a surgical solution is often the only cure. The general cause of puffy nipples is thought in about 90% of cases to be hormonal. It's usually attributable to an over-abundance of the female hormone estrogen, and not enough of the male hormone androgen.

Unilateral and Bilateral Gynecomastia (Puffy nipples)

These two terms refer to the way in which the condition of puffy nipples can affect the chest's appearance. With unilateral puffy nipples, only one side of the chest is affected but in bilateral cases both sides are affected. About one third of cases are unilateral and the rest are bilateral. In some rare cases, unilateral gynecomastia can lead to bilateral gynecomastia but in the vast majority of cases it develops in both sides from the initial stages.

How to Treat the Condition

Certain medications, like the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal, can cause puffy nipples. In which case the patent should discuss this with their doctor and look at changing to a medication that will not cause this particular side-effect. If the condition does not clear up or reduce naturally after about two to three years and if hormonal drugs do not help to reduce the problem then some kind of surgical intervention might be the only treatment option. The most common way of treating the condition surgically is breast reduction otherwise known as a mammoplasty. Surgery is usually performed under general anaesthetic. The surgical technique performed will be determined by the amount of breast tissue that needs to be removed and the degree of sagging that needs to be corrected. As well as using full open surgery to perform male breast reduction, liposuction techniques can also be used to achieve the same result, although this is usually in less severe cases of gynecomastia. Surgery can sometimes be performed under the NHS but only in cases where it can be proved that the patient is suffering sufficient psychological distress to warrant having the treatment on mental health grounds.

Recovery and Risks

Patients can usually be discharged from hospital after one to two nights. The recovery period can be anything from two to six weeks after surgery. The stitches will be removed after about two weeks. Strenuous exercise and any kind of heavy lifting should be avoided for up to six weeks after surgery, depending on your age and general level of fitness. Patients usually feel a certain amount of soreness and discomfort immediately post-surgery, which is to be expected as it is quite a major operation. The final appearance of the chest after surgery will not become apparent for a few weeks, until all the swelling has cleared and the wounds have fully healed. Scarring may last for several months but will eventually fade to virtually nothing. In some rarer cases a loss of sensation in the nipple area might occur but this is usually not serious. It's worth remembering that, although the results of surgery are permanent, things like weight gain or the use of certain drugs could cause the problem to resurface so you have to be careful. These are the kind of things that can be discussed with your specialist in the pre-surgery consultation and in any follow up appointments that you may have.