Gynecomastia is the medical term for enlarged male breasts. It is a benign condition that causes a man’s chest to adopt a more female breast shape. This can have a detrimental impact on your self-esteem, leading to a loss of confidence, particularly when wearing fitted clothes or during activities such as swimming. Enlarged male breasts vary with age and usually no obvious cause can be found. Certain medical conditions and medications need to be ruled out before surgery can go ahead, however. Your surgeon will talk to you about this.
What is it?
What to expect
Surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and normally takes around two hours. When fat is the primary cause of breast enlargement, liposuction can be very effective. However, if the breast gland itself is large, you may also need to undergo tissue removal. This is done by making incisions around the areola. Often, a combination of liposuction and breast tissue removal gives the best results.
Following surgery, dressings are placed around each nipple so they can be checked regularly. Drains (tubes that drain tissue fluid by connection to suction bottles) are placed in each side of the chest during surgery, in each side of the chest. They remain there until you leave hospital – normally two or three days. If you have liposuction, small dressings are placed over the multiple skin incisions and a pressure garment, similar to a vest, is fitted over the dressings to support your chest tissues while they heal. You will need to wear the vest continuously (day and night) for six weeks.
You will need to attend clinic for a wound review during which you will be given advice about showering and returning to work. You should avoid physical exercise for at least six weeks.
What results can be achieved?
Male breast reduction surgery can help restore a flatter male chest by removing skin and breast tissue and sometimes with the addition of liposuction. This can help to restore confidence and increase self-esteem.
All surgery carries risks and cosmetic surgery is no exception. Fortunately, there are rarely any significant complications associated with male breast reduction surgery, which is a commonly performed procedure.
After surgery you are likely to experience mild discomfort, which can be managed with oral painkillers.
The risk of most types of cosmetic surgery is similar and these will be discussed with you during your consultation. You can help to minimize certain risks by following your surgeon’s advice and instructions after surgery. Some of the common risks include:
- Minor discomfort – this can be treated with over the counter painkillers.
- Minor swelling and bruising – your surgeon will advise you how long this will last based upon your individual procedure.
- Scarring – initially the scars will be red but they will fade over time to be virtually invisible.
- Dissolving skin stitches not holding properly – if this occurs the stitches may need to be removed under local anaesthetic.
- Stitch granuloma – sometimes a tender lump or abscess can occur at the stitch site. This is generally more common where the skin is thinner. The stitch may need to be removed or it may be treated with antibiotics.
- Irregularity or asymmetry – You may notice some minor irregularities in the shape of your chest after surgery or your chest measurements. Occasionally, this can be from internal scarring or fat dying (fat necrosis). Massage may help.