Jul 10, 2012
Mr.Vergel: First, I would be remiss if I didn't thank you for all that you do for the HIV+ community. Thank you! I have been poz since 1986 and as of my last visit my VL is undetectable (for aprox 12 years now) and my t-cell count varies from 500-1000. I'm grateful. Nevertheless, as I write this in summer, I'm also a quasi-vain. Gosh, I guess it was late 2000/early 2001 that my doc put me on Androgel for a variety of reasons mostly related to fatigue, lack of energy, etc.,based on a low Testosterone level. About 9-12 months later, however, my right breast had what to me felt like a cyst. "Oh great, I have male breast cancer!" So I went and had a mammogram and the doctor said that I had gynecomastia. I had no idea what he was talking about, but he assured me that it was not life-threatening and was probably caused by the Androgel. Well, I stopped the Androgel and then talked to my regular doc who said that other than plastic surgery that there was nothing that could be done. Fast-forward to 2012; my (same) doctor, who knew that I was losing muscle mass in my legs, suggested that we try testosterone treatment and anastrozole in combo to see if the muscle mass would increase and it may even help with the gynecomastia. I should add that I work out 3 days a week--cardio and resistance--and despite more definition I still have that hanging boob on my right side. Leave it to my youngest nephew, at a pool party celebrating his 6th birthday, to say in front of all his friends, "Uncle Tim, how come you have a woman's titty there?"Ahhhhh. My insurance considers the operation to remove the "crud" aesthetic surgery, and it's not cheap. The Testosterone therapy has brought more vigor to my step, more energy to really work on my legs at the gym, more "natural," sans Viagra, energy, and just a "happier" disposition. Nonetheless, if this darn thing starts to grow I will stop the Testosterone therapy el-pronto. Do you know of ANY therapies, other than the knife, that I may try to see if I can at the very least have some symmetry of my pecs. If not, how successful is the surgery and what exactly do they take out. Thanks so VERY much. Be well. Tim
Response from Mr. Vergel
Thanks for the kind words.
Advanced gynecomastia cannot be reversed with medications like anastrozole (this drug can halt its progression, however). Only surgery can remove the breast tissue. I would suggest that you call several doctors to get an cash-paying estimate since most insurance companies consider this surgery purely cosmetic.
You can read more about gynecomastia here: Approach to Men with Gynecomastia (Breast Enlargement)
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