Cosmetic surgery is fraught with deception, so you have to have your wits about you. The most important takeaway is this:
Plastic surgeons are salespeople first and surgeons last
Recall that gynecomastia operations only represent literally 1% of all surgical procedures.
Why would a plastic surgeon become an expert in the field of gynecomastia when the market share is so much smaller compared to other procedures such as female breast augmentation? This is why following this guide is important.
It is also of vital importance to identify a real plastic surgeon from a physician or “cosmetic surgeon”
Any physician could practice brain surgery or plastic surgery inside of their own office, as the only legal requirement is a medical license.
It is difficult to determine who is good and who is not. Plastic Surgery is unregulated and there are no qualifications required for any medical doctor (MD) to setup shop and declare themselves a cosmetic surgeon. This is completely legal in the USA. Reviews are easily manipulated, doctors and their office may lie to you, and popular review websites such as realself cannot be entirely trusted. This is why I will try to save everyone the trouble from having to research a potential surgeon thoroughly.
I’d suggest you simply seek a few established gynecomastia experts that comment in abundance at gynecomastia.org or on reddit or youtube. These surgeons have a clear dedication to the topic and all of their answers can be verified and researched by yourself. Members such as:
- Dr. Elliot Jacobs (NYC)
- Dr. Jay Pensler (IL)
- Dr. Silverman (MA)
- Dr. Caridi (TX)
- Dr. Law (NC)
- Dr. Delgado (CA)
- Dr. Schuster (MD)
- Dr. Pope (FL)
- Dr. Dadvand (CA)
These surgeons take an obvious interest in this specialty by logging on every day and answering questions. These surgeons are all based in the US. You can look up their profiles and answers online. Please see thegyno.org listing for a full listing. Please note that any doctor can be a “Featured Doctor” with a monthly fee, but the site owner requires proof of at least 50 gynecomastia surgeries per year before joining.
Dr. Elliot Jacobs is the longest standing member with over 5500 posts on both primary and secondary surgery, making him the “king” of gynecomastia surgery. He has done thousands of primary gynecomastia operations and has claimed to do hundreds of revisions. He is one of a few doctors that specializes in gynecomastia revisions. His website is extremely thorough including his FAQ section. Picking Dr. Jacobs is a fantastic choice for you gynecomastia operation. Dr. Jacobs is also one of 3 surgeons that perform the fat flap procedure for those that have a failed operation and have a crater.
Dr. Schuster uses the lateral pull-through technique to get all of the tissue only through a few nicks at the side of the chest.
Dr. Caridi has a dedicated youtube channel for his gynecomastia surgeries and some reddit users have had great results.
Dr. Dadvand has experience with the fat flap technique, making him one of a few surgeons that performs this difficult procedure for revision candidates.
Dr. Delgado is the gynecomastia.org site owner. He also performs the fat flap procedure for revision candidates.
There are a few surgeons on that forum who from the UK. The international section is pretty active with many success stories with Dr. Vijh and Dr. Karidis.
Controversial Gynecomastia Surgeons
The following may be good surgeons, however they may have had bad outcomes (with pictures) of prior patients or are not board certified plastic surgeons.
- Dr. Mordcai Blau (NY)
- Dr. Lebowitz (NY)
- Dr. Sean Lille (AZ)
- Dr. Wilcox (TX)
Dr. Blau is a popular name when it comes to gynecomastia. The reason why his name is listed under the “controversy” heading is that he was banned from the gyno.org forums for posting fake 5-star reviews.
After a great deal of consideration, I have decided to remove Dr. “removed doctor” from the gynecomastia.org website and boards. I have been deeply troubled for some time about issues relating to the vast number of postings on the boards about him. It is simply not statistically possible for one doctor on this site to have more glowing testimonials than all of the other doctors combined unless they are false postings and/or there is some organized effort to make it happen. I have never had to take this drastic of action before and I hope that I never will have to again. This decision was not made lightly nor with any joy and I deem it a necessary action to protect the integrity of gynecomastia.org.
Dr. Blau also has had multiple botched gyno operations complete with pictures to tell the story botched2, botched3, botched4. There are also numerous claims to Dr. Blau being rude and off-putting realself1, reddit2, reddit3
Another fact about Dr. Blau that raises the red flags are his “reviews”. His healthgrades.com page has 195 reviews! To compare, Dr. Jacobs and all the other recommended doctors for gyno combined don’t even add up to 50!. Please read my article about fake reviews for the cosmetic industry. You have to really read through the lines.
Dr. Lebowitz is probably the most prolific gynecomastia poster on youtube. His youtube videos are an extremely useful tool to view how a typical procedure is performed. However, there are a few facts about Dr. Lebowtiz and his social media presence that must be discussed, which is why there is a separate page for Dr. Lebowitz.
Dr. Sean Lille has a few bad yelp reviews including a personal friend who developed craters on both sides. His suggestion was to use dermal fillers for the craters.
How To pick a Surgeon
Start with Board Certification from the American Board of Certification. This ensures they are properly trained and have attended an accredited medical school. Don’t fall for “Board Certified cosmetic surgeons”. They learn via youtube or worse. They may even have impressive certificates on their wall saying they are a member of some prestigious cosmetic group. It is bullshit - merit-less.
Look to see if they are active on gyno boards such as reddit or gyno.org forum. Look to see if they have a blog on their website and have an extensive gyno section. Have they been in the news or any journals?
Carefully comb through the reviews of yelp, realself and google. This is not easy. Please note that google reviews are heavily “gamed” and have no background checking. It is extremely easy to make fake 5 star reviews. You simply buy aged accounts online and then make a review! It is that easy. Note the reviewers and how many reviews they have and how long their last one was. Also note that realself as a platform is PAID by surgeons. All negative reviews are hidden at the bottom and the reviews are sorted from BEST score to LAST. Yelp is better, but the reviews can be played just as how google’s are done.
Ask questions about how they handle revisions. Don’t go in there asking how many procedures they do, how many complications, etc. EVERYONE at the Dr.s office will tell you glowing reviews, no matter if they are truthful or not. You simply cannot trust a surgeon or their staff’s responses. I’m sorry if I offend any doctors here, but they are playing the game from different vantage point. As a consumer, you have to realize that cosmetic surgeons are not paid by the insurance company, but rather the consumer. Cosmetic surgeons are a salesperson first and surgeon last
A good plastic surgeon will never have any clients if he can’t sell his work. And so what you get are surgeons promising this and that saying how good they are and how they do 200-300 gyno surgeries per year! This is why I suggest you ask on what their revision policy is and get it in writing. Ask how he would solve crater cases and what type of lipo they perform. Be careful with Vaser since it can cause more scar tissue due to the heat.
Look up your states medical board for any past or current board actions. I found out that my surgeon had a legal preceding from a prior patient who actually died from liposuction. I was able to pull-up the videos and court documents. Scary shit. Of course, no one mentioned this at the office.
Make sure they use a board certified anesthesiologist. This is important. Most non-board certified surgeons or low-class facilities will use a nurse or some other person to administer this all under the guise of “Hey, it saves you money and its just as safe!”. The reality here is that no board certified anesthesiologist will work with a non-ABPS certified plastic surgeon because they don’t know what they are doing.
Go to a surgeon who either has hospital privileges for his surgery or their in-house OR is state certified. Again, the cheap low-cost clinics are typically not and they will try to push this question aside saying how it is much cheaper not to be certified or look at you like you’re crazy asking this question. You may need to double-check that your surgeon
Verify the clinic’s accredit ion by asking their office for the name of the accrediting facility.
Ok, let’s say you have done all of the above and are happy with your doctor. WOW, you must think! This guy and his office say he does great work and his pictures look good. He has board certification, his reviews are stellar, and no board actions! What could go wrong?? Well….lots. The only verifiable information is the board certification and prior lawsuits. Everything else that they told you could be complete hearsay and yes, even the pictures! You can fall victim of false pictures if you visit a clinic that has multiple doctors. Your surgeon may show you great pictures and one would assume they are of his own, when in fact that could very likely be false. The pictures very well could have been done from another surgeon at the same clinic, or from a past surgeon. Here is a great example of this happening in real life. Dr. Mata vs Dr. Zavala are promoting the same results, yet at competing locations. I dug into the court records to note that the Drs used to work together in 2016.
My main point is that cosmetic doctors have every incentive to get you under the knife - results are secondary. You will see disclaimers such as “Results are not guaranteed” which is true, however it gives them a great way to void themselves of any wrongdoing. It is EXTREMELY difficult to successfully sue a cosmetic surgeon since it is an elective procedures and well, results are never guaranteed! Your only way to have a case is if the doctor disobeyed his “quality of care”. For example, a doctor giving you too much anesthesia which causes complications would fall under this and you may benefit from a lawsuit, but then again you are probably dead already!
Ok, let’s have some fun and put your knowledge to the test. Here is a short list of surgeons that all offer gynecomastia. I’d like the reader to tell me which ones are full of shit, and which ones are probably legitimate.
1, 3, and 4 are NOT board certified plastic surgeons. They did not go through any of the rigorous training and testing plus required residency of an accredited program. They literally could have gotten their MD in an unrelated field and started a website. There is noting illegal about this.
3 has a prior board action that was eventually not found guilty, however the court documents and recorded video streams show a very upset medical board talking about the negative things that happened in his clinic which ultimately ended with a patient death later.
American Board of Plastic Surgery Recommendations
In addition to the above, the following questions should be addressed. Sometimes it is easier to call the clinic before asking these in person when meeting with the doctor. It isn’t worth your time to see a doctor who doesn’t pass all of the tests pointed out on this page anyways.
- Are you an ASPS Member Surgeon?
- Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
- Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? If so, at which hospitals?
- How many procedures of this type have you performed?
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure? What will be expected of me to get optimal results?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure?
- Is the surgical facility accredited?
- What are the risks involved with my procedure?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
- Will I need to take time off work? If so, how long?
- How much will my procedure cost? Are financing options available?
- How are complications handled?
Please keep in mind that there are no laws restricting the surgeon or his office assistants in giving out false or misleading information. All of the above must be verified by you! It is extremely difficult to successfully win a class action civil suit even if you were given false information. Trust should be earned, not given.
Do not trust what a surgeon or his patient coordinator tell you. Verify everything yourself.
This should go without saying, but please do not consider traveling in order to save costs. Here is an example from an India clinic that promotes themselves to people wishing to save money. Note that the results are the 4th mentioned factor
Please be careful going international for cheap surgery. If anything, this post should hopefully scare off most from traveling to Poland or India for cheap surgery. It is much easier to choose a known gyno expert that comments frequently on forums. Every plastic surgeon will guarantee everything until after the surgery. You must be safe!