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Gynecomastia Surgery - A Parents Perspective
My wife approached me about her continuing concerns regarding our son's
gynecomastia approximately one year ago, when he was age 16. It had
developed several years earlier, and his local doctor suggested that
we wait, because it would probably go away. It did not. I had not really
been aware of his current concerns, because he had developed many ways
of hiding his condition, and was far too embarrassed to discuss it
with his father. However, once clued in, it was readily apparent that
he employed numerous hiding techniques, typically involving multiple
layers of clothing, holding his arms over his chest, carrying things
high on his chest, etc. When asked, he was embarrassed to discuss it,
but admitted that he was very embarrassed by his condition and that
he received lots of teasing at school about his "t**s". He
expressed a strong desire to resolve his problem surgically.
I was fortunate to come across Dr. Bermant's web site early in my research. Although locally we have many nationally known local plastic surgeons, I was very impressed by the wealth of information he presented on his site. I was happily surprised to discover that his office was just over an hour from our home. I called and made an appointment.
At our initial visit, I was very impressed with Dr. Bermant's thoroughness, as well as his regard for the sensitivity of my son. He clearly understood the pain he was experiencing. Although at times he seemed a little abrupt with me, he still spent a very significant amount of time in the initial examination, as well as all the time we wanted in reviewing the risks and answering our questions. He quoted a price higher than we initially had expected, but explained that there was more than normal gland tissue and fat to be removed than for a typical gynecomastia patient. Clearly I had not realized as a father the full extent of the problem.
We had the surgery performed during my son's summer break. My wife, a registered nurse, was very nervous, since she knows all too well how things can go wrong. We anticipated about 2 hours of surgery. After over two hours, we were informed that he had completed one side, and was beginning the other. I believe the entire procedure took nearly 5 hours. All this time for work performed only through 2 small 1/2 inch incisions in the areola which are now invisibly hidden. Dr. Bermant took out over 1/2 liter of fat, plus both glands.
My son and I had previously observed liposuction surgery on the Discovery Channel. The surgeons were very abrupt, aggressively moving the wand under the skin, very fast and furious. The patients had significant bruising and soreness for several weeks. This was presented as normal liposuction surgery.
Dr. Bermant is not like that. We had the opportunity to talk with many of his nurses, and they had one consistent comment. He is a perfectionist's perfectionist. He is extremely meticulous and artistic in his technique, always mindful of the desired result, and always mindful of the mental and physical comfort of his patients. This is what we also observed. My son experienced almost no bruising, and needed pain medications for less than a day. The results of the surgery are every bit as good as we could have hoped for. My son is about 20 pounds overweight, and Dr. Bermant left a result that fits perfectly with his current weight and should resolve well if he loses weight. I was very impressed by the entire experience with Dr. Bermant. More importantly, my son is much more comfortable about his body.
Of course, this would not be complete without mentioning his nurse, Jane. She was wonderful, handling all communications to the office smoothly and keeping us at ease. She was able to answer many of our questions directly.
In closing, my first comment would be - Do not disregard the impact this may be having upon your son. My tendency is to ignore these type of things and tough it out. It is clear in retrospect that this problem was having a significant impact on my son and I was oblivious to the issue. Second, I truly feel blessed that we were so quickly led to Dr. Bermant. He is one of those highly intelligent people, with an artistic bent (He designed his own plastic surgery logo, check it out), a little kooky in his own way, all of which results in just what we wanted in a plastic surgeon. I cannot imaging having a better result, along with better care and technique, than what he delivered. He is truly concerned about his work.
Dr. Bermant responds:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Gynecomastia Surgery - A Parents Perspective
Dear Dr. Bermant:
I want to thank you for your personal integrity and professional ethics! My 16-year-old son, ..., was convinced that he had gynecomastia. A consult with a local plastic surgeon confirmed this, but we did not like this particular surgeon. After extensive research, we found your name, and set up a remote consult. You explained the limitations of a phone consult, and explained that without an actual physical exam you could not diagnose gynecomastia. We were so convinced that David could be helped by surgery, we went ahead and scheduled an office consult, followed by (a tentative) surgery. During the office physical exam, you determined that ... was not a candidate for surgery - his problem is more a factor of the skin and muscles than gynecomastia. ... was disappointed because he is so self-conscious of his nipples and the teasing associated with them. However, you took the time to explain in great detail why surgery would not be successful for him, what to expect in the future, and emphasized that his chest was normal for someone his age! ... knows that because of your reputation he can trust you, and if you say that surgery would not be a solution, then it truly isn't. For the first time in years he in more accepting of this appearance and is willing to look for other solutions.
Once again I want to thank you! It would have been so easy for you to perform surgery and collect your fee.....1 I know the doctor in Marietta would have done surgery and possible left him scarred with no change in appearance. Instead you demonstrated your ethics, and took the time to explain the problem to a confused 16-year-old. The entire process of phone consult and office visit went so smoothly, and I want to thank Jane for all her help. If anyone I know needs plastic surgery I will certainly recommend you as someone with great skills that can be trusted.
Dr. Bermant responds:
Thank you very much.