Author Topic: Dr. Pensler in Chicago  (Read 8877 times)

Offline david_in_chicago

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Dr. Pensler in Chicago
I am just about 1 month post-op, and had a fantastic experience with Dr. Pensler. I guess I'm a "lurker" and I read but hardly ever post.  Reading this board gave me the confidence and comfort I needed to have the surgery, and I have NO regrets what-so-ever.  There wasn't much info about Chicago doctors, so I wanted to put my 2 cents in about my experience.

I'll post my full story in another more appropriate section, so if you're in the Chicago area (or willing to travel here) I just want to let you know that Dr. Pensler is excellent.  He does around 100 gynecomastia corrections a year, and knows this condition quite well.  He took out exactly the right amounts and I'm neither over-corrected or under-corrected.  He's incredibly skilled, and also very personable.  HIGHLY recommended!!!!!!

Offline unisys

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
I also had surgery with Dr. Pensler a little less than 2 weeks ago and I'd have to agree with you on everything you've said.  I had extensive amount of glandular tissue on a person my size, and after this surgery it looks like I'm missing a body part because he did such a thorough job.  It's gonna be hard to hide this surgery from people I know because there is such a noticeable difference!  Not only is he the best choice for gynecomastia surgery in the Chicagoland area, he is also the most affordable around here.  Although he charges for a consultation, the total was cost just under $5000.

Offline david_in_chicago

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
Congrats unisys.  Are you in the area?  or did you travel here for the surgery.

We should compare recovery experiences.  I'm now 2 days without the vest.  I actually kind of miss wearing it. I found it very easy to concel by wearing sweaters that zip down the front.  

I'm glad you also had a good experience with Dr. Pensler.  I was a bit turned off (prior to actually having the appointment) by the idea of paying for a consultation, but it was so so worth it and it separates the serious from the casual.

Offline unisys

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
I'm about 1.5 hours away from his office on a good day with no traffic.

My recovery so far has been pretty fast.  I was quite sore and in pain initially, but all the pain & soreness went away by the 7th/8th day.  By the 10th day I could stretch any which way I wanted to without feeling anything.

I still have numbness in and around the areolar region, and my nipple/areolar region looks mashed up; I'm hoping it'll be back to normal by the time my vest comes off.  The vest is quite bothersome because I'm wearing a size S which is a tight fit; a medium would have been too loose.

I don't think I ever had a noticeable amount of swelling, but there are regions all over my chest where I feel something hard underneath the skin.  I'm assuming this is just bruising/swelling or scar tissue because it wasn't like this immediately post-op.  Did you have something similar?

Also, did you do anything to minimize/reduce your scars and internal scar tissue?

Offline david_in_chicago

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
A lot of what you said sounds quite familiar.  The thing I remember is that every day was a huge improvement over the day before.  I had my surgery on a Friday and the next Friday I flew to LA. I felt almost totally fine, although I was still pretty bruised, numb (flanks), swollen, etc.  There really hasn't been a day yet that wasn't better than the day before in some form of improvement. Since Day 1, I've seen and felt improvement each day, including today.

Today is my 1 month anniversary.  I NEVER thought I'd say this or feel this way, but I've kind of forgotten what it was like to have gyne.  I'm still quite conscious of my chest, but now it's more a sense of curiosity instead of shame.  I had a ton of hard "mass" type stuff this past week, but it seems to be going away.  I really need to get some new clothes in order to get the full advantage of it.  My dress shirts are really blousey and I'm going to try to get some more tailored ones this weekend, because I wear dreass shirts most days and now that I'm out of the vest, it's time to start dressing like the new me.  :)  It's finally starting to feel real that they're NOT coming back. They're gone.  I didn't diet them away and risk them coming back if I don't "behave" or watch out... they're just GONE.  Gone.

I'm not really doing anything for scars or scar tissue.  Scars are quite minimal. I see nothing on my nipples, although mine have always been small and a scar would just blend in.  I have scars above my armpits but I think once the red/pink color goes away, they'll be minimal.  The one on my left was faint from the start and it's almost gone.  By far, the ones on my back from the flank lipo are the worst looking and they seem to really be fine... just red.  I have scar gel that I put on once in awhile, but to work well you have to use it far more often than I remember to.  I see them get better every day, and honestly I have no concerns.  I said going into it that I'd have no problems with any scars, and I'm glad that I was right about that.  I don't see them when I look in the mirror.  I mean, I CAN see them, they just don't catch my eye because they aren't a concern of mine.

I've noticed that the masses in my chest are diminishing now that I'm not wearing the vest (per instructions, I was allowed to stop wearing it after last Thursday's check-in).  The first two days without it were actually kind of painful.  I wore it religiously, so I'd not experienced gravity and the weight of the scar tissue and/or swelling.  It kind of hurt!  I also was a bit sad because it kind of felt like the old boobs again.  I don't know if it's coincidental or if the removal of the vest sped things up, but as of today it seems like all that's left are a few little spots.  I've worn the vest to sleep the last few nights, because I really don't mind it and I want to do everything I can to get the best results.  I took the vest off Thursday afternoon and had it back on a few hours later.  I thought for sure I'd want to burn it toward the end, but I put it on now when I think I need it.

I'm happier with the experience than I ever imagined I'd be.  Some things have been pleasant surprises, and some things have been unexpected.  On the whole, I've been given a clean slate or a fresh canvas and what I do with it is now entirely up to me.

Keep me posted on how things are going!  Just keep moving and wear that vest!  I was given a Medium, and it was snug but then about 3 weeks into it I found that the swelling was going down enough that it was less confining and more normal feeling.  These vests Dr. Pensler uses are good.  Hard to conceal, but they're tight yet comfortable.  Week 3 I also found I had to tighten the shoulder velcro because the swelling went down so much it was starting to hang loose.

Take care!!

Offline unisys

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
Glad to hear everything is going great for you 1 month out!  Time flies by so fast after the surgery is over.  I remember the  week before surgery was the slowest week I've ever experienced.

With regards to the scars, Dr. Pensler said not to worry about any creme/gel which I found odd but since you're doing fine I don't think I'll bother with that stuff.  The random masses remain but hopefully they will be go away on their own.  Also, I can still see the sutures in some places so hopefully they should be falling out soon.

I've also noticed my vest has gotten considerably looser over the past 3-4 days.  Perhaps it is a combination of the swelling and a more nutritious diet that's made it fit so much better.  Hiding it is tough because the shoulder straps are easily visible around my neck since I only wear t-shirts, no collared shirts.  I plan to use under armour/nike compression shirts in place of the vest after I'm 1 month post-op.  Hopefully that'll make the transition easier.

Thanks for your help and words of encouragement.  Make the most out of these newfound opportunities we now have!

Offline david_in_chicago

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
Hey there... just thought I'd check in and see how things are going.  I've noticed that my swelling continues to go down and one side is doing better in that regard than the other. I think I'm down to the last little bits of the scar tissue mass and it'll just take time for that to go away.  I'm starting to get the last bits of sensation back in my flanks as well, so I think in a few weeks I'll be all set.

I feel for you re: the vest.  I had to wear sweaters the entire time I wore the vest.  I found that half-zip sweaters covered everything perfectly.  Something like this: http://www.bananarepublic.com/browse/product.do?cid=22122&pid=433673&scid=433673012

Hope all is well!!

Offline chipreppy

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
My experience with pensler has been just awful. If I could do it over I would find someone who hasn't spent their years practicing medicine with a speciality in the craniofacial area of plastic surgery versus cosmetic. Please contact me using the instant message feature if you have any specific questions. Thanks!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2006, 12:15:19 AM by chipreppy »

Offline unisys

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
I just had my one-month post-op appointment with Dr. Pensler.  Everything is progressing great.  I never thought I would look this normal after surgery as I had extensive glandular tissue that stretched to my sides right below my armpit and also to my upper chest.  I'm still wearing the vest for 12 hrs/day, and there are still some adhesions and minor swelling, but everyday I notice some improvement.  Although the scars are still visible, there is barely any remaining evidence that I ever had gynecomastia.  I'm going to go back to the gym this weekend for the first time in over a month.  Anyone who is looking for a surgeon in the midwest area, do go for a consultation with him when you are ready to choose a surgeon.  I'll post my pre-op & post-op pictures as soon as I can retrieve them.

And how is everything going for you David?

Offline david_in_chicago

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
I'm doing great, thanks.  I still check my chest out from every angle when I look in the mirror... I think I'm fearing that they'll come back or something!  I always focused on my chest before (mirrors, pictures, etc) so I kind of hoped that obsession would go away after surgery, but it hasn't.  However, the big difference is that before it was always accompanied by a feeling of disgust, and now I'm constantly feeling relieved.  :)

The swelling is completely gone.  There's a bit of lumpiness right under the nipple, but it's minor and it gets better each day.  My left side looks 100% "normal".  Like I never had gynecomastia, never had surgery, just as normal as normal could be.  I think I will end up being a bit lopsided, because I think I still have some fullness on my right side... but when I say "fullness", I'm talking very very VERY minor.  I don't know that I'd have anything done about it, although I do have a follow-up with Dr. P next week and I'll see what he says.  I knew going into it that being uneven was a possibility, and I'm OK with it.

As for the lipo on my flanks, it's taking time for the region to settle into what it will ultimately look like.  I'm 2 months post-op, and everything I've been told and read says it takes about 16 weeks for lipo results to show.  I'm pretty happy with the results there.  There's some rippling on my right side, but that's to be expected.  In a few more weeks, that area should look even better, and I'm pretty pleased with it now.

Going into this, I was 100% sure I wanted to do it.  I'm SO happy to report that I have ZERO regrets.  Not a single one.  I added the flank lipo as an "add on", and I'm so glad I did it.  I think I'd have regretted not doing it, and probably would have saved up and gone back and have it done.  Better to just get it all done at once.

The phrase that keeps running through my head about how to describe the procedure is "gynecomastia correction".  It's not removal or reduction, it's "correction".  I, quite simply, do not have it anymore.  It feels wonderful!  My confidence is definitely boosted.  I still have issues that I need to work on, the biggest of which is a major fixation on that area of my body.  I think over time it will get easier, I just have a LOT of years of history to work through.  For 20 years I've hated that part of my body and spent all of my energy trying to minimize it and cover it up.  Surgery was an instant correction.  It'll take time for my mind and my body to get into sync.  I'd never had surgery before, so I think I just wasn't prepared for the immediacy and the permanance of it.  The results were instant and they're permanant.  Just kind of hard to get used to that... but it was the best possible outcome, so I'm really happy about it!  Hard to describe.  Maybe someone else has a similar experience...?

To anyone considering it, I'd say get a few opinions and a few quotes.  You're doing research already by reading this forum, so get the rest of the info by talking to a doctor.  Any doctor who pressures you to schedule surgery during the consultation probably should be avoided.  This is no small procedure... this is surgery and there are risks involved.  You should have the ability to walk away and think it through very carefully.

So, to make a long story short (too late!) I'm doing GREAT and I am thrilled with the result.  I have a follow-up with Dr. P on Wednesday, and I'll report any updates if there's anything relevant.

Glad to hear you're doing well too Unisys.

David

Offline jrr

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
Did you have a workup by an endocrinologist prior to the surgery with Dr. Pensler to check for hormonal or chromosomal problems?
jrr

Offline david_in_chicago

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
No, I didn't, Jrr.

I had my 2 month follow-up this week.  All is well.  Couldnt be doing any better.  Scars are fading fast, and the swelling continues to fade.  I figure in a few more weeks, I'll be nearly final in terms of the results.  This week, the flanks are really coming down nicely.

Offline reaper33

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
hello David and Unisys, glad to hear about your successful surgeries with doctor pensler, im 21 living with gyno for past two years, cant take it anymore, im pretty athletic, and my chest contour is great, but i have puffy nipples, not sure if you guys had the same problem or the breasty look, anyways i live in western suburbs of Chicago, and i have an appointment with an endocrinologist next week, and im pretty sure hes gonna send me for surgery since i have both fat and glandular tissue, i already started looking for surgeons, but cant find many in Chicago, Dr. Pensler looks like a rational choice after hearing your success stories, but my question is does he offers you a choice for lipo or gland excision or a combination of both, because i wanna get it done in one op, and ive heard pretty horrible stories on this site that people had 2 or 3 surgeries and still dint get the results, and does he offer any easy payment method, or financial assistance, because i cant pay in full coz i go to school full time and work part time. and i also wanna know how does it feel when the actual surgery is being performed, and how does it feel when you wake up? i guess i asked a lot of questions, sorry guys hope you understand im in desperate need of getting rid of this problem, coz its killing both my personal and professional lives, thank you in advance for your replies guys, peace

Offline david_in_chicago

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
Hey there.  Happy to help.  I can only speak from my own experience, so please take it for what it's worth...

Personally, I did not see an endocrinologist prior to surgery, so I hope you find that helpful in deciding what to do.  I developed gyne when I was 13 and I'm now 33.  By the time I finally decided to address it, enough time had passed that it pretty much "is what it is" (or "was what it was") so to speak.  If you are 21 and this has only been a problem for 2 years, then getting some more medical background is probably a very wise choice.

I had lipo + gland excision.  Dr. Pensler said that I'd be having lipo for sure, and that gland removal would be determined on the day of surgery.  He initally thought it might be possible to get it all out through lipo, but we both agreed that a "wait and see" approach would be fine.  If he was performing surgery and felt that an excision through the nipple was going to give the best result, that'd be how he'd handle it.  I had a strong hunch that he'd have to go that route, and that did end up being the case.  There wasn't really any discussion of doing it in two phases, or doing lipo OR excision... he and I discussed how to just deal with the problem in one fell swoop.

I don't think any doctor out there does direct financing.  Maybe I am wrong?  What you will likely get is referrals to financing companies that specialise in cosmetic surgery lending.  I used a credit card and transferred the balance to a 0.0% 48 month payoff.  I financed about $7,000 in late October and have already been able to pay about $1,000 of it off.  I've got a bit of equity in my home and have two good incomes coming in though between my partner and I, so I was able to go this route to just spread the payments without accruing interest.  As a 21 year old, you might be in college and have other loans and such going on.  Make a smart financial decision about your financing!  Have some kind of safety net.  Should something go wrong, you don't want to have stretched yourself TOO far for an elective procedure. In home buying, it's called being "house poor". Be careful.

As for the feelings and sensations.  I personally felt absolutely zero pain until I got home that afternoon.  During the surgery, I didn't feel a thing.  It happened in the blink of an eye.  The nurse said "here's the good stuff" - referring to the anethetic - and literally it felt like I immediately opened my eyes and was sitting upright ready to go home.  Felt like an instant.  As best I can tell it was about 3 hours that passed, but I was oblivious.  So, no pain at all during the procedure.  Then I was so whacked out on meds that I couldn't feel anything.  I was stiff and walking stiffly, but I couldn't actually feel anything... just knew I had to take it slow and easy.  I had lipo done on my flanks as well, and honestly that's the only real pain I had at all in the first week after surgery.  Those incisions were right at my midback on both sides (kidney area, I suppose) and every twist and turn hurt.  In the chest, honestly, it didn't hurt at all.  There was numbness and an odd sensation as the healing took place (kind of like if you sit on your hand for awhile and then you start to get the sensation back as the blood gets back in there...).  I think I was more cautious and conscious of it than I actually needed to be.  I was hyper-vigilant.  Wouldn't let anyone hug me, took great care with the compression vest, etc. 

I hope this helps.  I don't think our actual symptoms are the same, so our procedures wouldn't necessarily be the same either.  You mention puffy nipples which was not a factor in my case.  I actually had the blessing of pretty small, ordinary, "regular" nipples.  They just happened to be attached to handful-sized breasts.

Good luck to you!  You're doing the best you can do right now which is research and know your options.  This site is a fantastic resource, and hopefully you'll find what you need in order to do what's right for you at the right time.

David

Offline reaper33

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Re: Dr. Pensler in Chicago
hey David, how is your recovery? your experience really motivates me for the op, i feel much more confident now, thanks for the advice, one more thing, how much did Dr. Pensler charge you for the first time consultation?


 

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