Male Breast Reduction (Gynecomastia)
Gynecomastia is a condition wherein a man develops benign excess breast tissue in one or both breasts. Gynecomastia is linked with an excess of the female hormone estrogen and/or a testosterone deficiency. Gynecomastia can also be caused by weight gain, and can be a side effect of certain medications.
While gynecomastia is not usually a medical concern, many men may nonetheless find it emotionally distressing. Some men with gynecomastia are embarrassed by their enlarged breast tissue, as their pectoral area can begin to resemble female breasts. While surgical procedures that target the female breasts are prevalent, many men may not be aware that gynecomastia can be treated through a male breast reduction.
About Male Breast Reduction
Gynecomastia surgery involves removing excess skin, fat, and/or glandular tissue, as well as sometimes repositioning and reducing the nipple-areolar complex in order to make the chest appear leaner and more proportionate.
Patients with mild to moderate gynecomastia who have good skin tone and no significant sagging may benefit from a simple excision of the excess fat tissue without the need to remove any overlying skin or glandular tissue. This can usually be accomplished through liposuction. New liposuction techniques are minimally invasive, and liposuction for gynecomastia is usually performed through a tiny incision in the armpit, eliminating scarring of the breast itself. For patients with more significant gynecomastia, liposuction may not be enough, and they may require a more extensive surgical procedure, similar to a female breast reduction, which includes the removal of excess skin and glandular tissue. Glandular tissue is typically removed through an incision around the border of the areola (darker skin surrounding the nipple). While this procedure can be more effective, scarring may also be more obvious.
Male Breast Reduction Candidates
While gynecomastia resulting from weight gain may be reduced by adopting a healthy diet and exercise regimen, for many sufferers, the problem persists despite efforts to lose weight. In some cases, weight loss may even make gynecomastia more apparent. Furthermore, some men who experience rapid weight loss may also see excess stretched saggy skin and tissue that will not dissipate. For persistent gynecomastia, medical or lifestyle-based treatments have limited efficacy. Following a detailed medical screening to rule out any serious conditions which may cause gynecomastia, such as testicular cancer, your physician may recommend gynecomastia surgery.
How is the Gynecomastia Performed?
Gynecomastia surgery is usually performed under general anaesthesia on an outpatient basis, and generally takes about 2 hours. Patients can normally return to sedentary work after a few days, but are asked to avoid any strenuous activity for at least 4-6 weeks following surgery, or until advised by a physician. Some pain, tightness, and soreness is normal following surgery, and can be treated with prescription pain medication. Loss of nipple sensitivity is also common, and should subside over time. You may be asked to wear a compression garment until your incisions have healed, in order to reduce swelling.
Gynecomastia surgery carries all the risks associated with any surgical procedure, including the potential for bleeding, infection, scarring, and complications with anaesthesia. Scarring should be minimal, and is usually hidden around the areola and in the natural folds of the skin. Gynecomastia can also lead to reduced or altered sensation of the breast and nipple, breast asymmetry, as well as contour deformities that may present as a pectoral cavity when flexing. Your surgeon is highly qualified to minimize the risk of surgical complications, and serious complications are rare. At your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss the potential risks and complications in detail. It is important to inform your consulting surgeon of any medications, including herbal supplements, which you may be taking. In addition, patients are asked to quit smoking and avoid any substances that are natural anticoagulants (e.g. alcohol) in the weeks prior to surgery.
Expected results from Gynecomastia Surgery
While it is important to maintain realistic expectations, after your surgery you can expect a flattening and recontouring of the chest, a reduction in the volume of breast tissue, and an overall reproportioning of the pectoral area. Patients report high rates of satisfaction and improved self-confidence, and many men no longer have difficulty finding clothes and can confidently engage in activities, such as swimming, that once caused them embarrassment and distress. The best way to find out if gynecomastia surgery can correct your enlarged breast tissue is to book a consultation with one of our experienced surgeons. If you are a man embarrassed by your enlarged breast tissue, gynecomastia surgery is a safe, effective, and relatively simple procedure that could be right for you.