Male Breast Reduction (Gynaecomastia)
Excess breast tissue in men is a common condition, seen in an estimated 40 to 60 per cent of men.
Excess breast tissue in men is a common condition, which can result in significant social embarrassment and loss of confidence,with potential repercussions on both social and professional life. The condition is called “gynaecomastia” which literally means “male breasts” (sometimes also called “man boobs”). The plastic surgery to correct this condition is called a male breast reduction.
Gynaecomastia most commonly becomes evident in puberty. Up to 90% of adolescent boys will develop some male breast enlargement, which resolves in the majority as they grow into adulthood. The most common cause of problematic gynaecomastia is residual breast tissue that does not go away through puberty. Less commonly, certain drugs (prescription and “recreational”) and hormonal medical problems can cause gynaecomastia. In the vast majority of cases there is no identifiable cause, and non-surgical treatments have no role in the treatment.The objective in the surgical treatment of gynaecomastia is to make the chest proportional to the rest of the torso. If a man is significantly overweight, it would look odd to make the chest totally flat; if a man is very thin, then the chest should be quite flat.
Excess breast tissue in men is usually a combination of true breast glandular tissue, as well as fatty excess, depending on the age of the patient and the underlying cause. In severe cases there can also be excess skin resulting in droopy breasts.
Male breast reduction is a plastic surgery procedure that removes excess fat and glandular tissue from the breasts. In extreme cases, excess skin may also need to be removed, although this is uncommonly needed. The surgery results in a chest that is flatter, firmer, and better contoured, with minimal and virtually invisible scars. The surgery is usually done with a combination of liposuction, to remove the excess fat, and excision (“cutting out”) to remove the excess breast tissue. The scars are minimised and hidden at the lower border of the areolar. The surgery is done under a general anaesthetic, can be done as day surgery, or with a one-night hospital stay.
Before and After Gallery
What are the risks of gynaecomastia surgery?
When male breast reduction surgery is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon like Dr. Merten, complications are infrequent and usually minor. They include visible scars, a non-smooth chest contour, persistent breast tissue, chest asymmetry, infections, bleeding and other risks. These will be fully discussed with you at your consultations before surgery.
Could it be breast cancer?
Although male breast cancer is rare, it’s important to take the proper precautions to prevent future health risks. Men who are in their 60s and 70s are most prone to male breast cancer. If you have any concerns with changes in your breast shape, size or color, Dr. Merten recommends seeking medical help immediately.
How is the surgery done?
The surgical procedure for gynaecomastia is called “subcutaneous mastectomy”, and is typically done in conjunction with liposuction to effectively remove the excess fat and breast tissues. Incisions are typically made at the lower edge of the areola to remove excess fat and breast tissue. If there is a significant amount of fat and tissues need to be removed, drains will be left in place for a few days following surgery to help remove excess fluids. Within six to 12 months, scarring is typically minimal and undetectable.
Gynaecomastia surgery is performed under a general anesthetic and usually done as day surgery, with you going home within a few hours after the surgery.
Is there much pain?
To minimise any discomfort or pain, Dr. Merten will provide you with a long-lasting local anesthetic during the procedure. He will also provide you with postoperative pain medication to help alleviate any soreness. Typically, most patients report feeling mild discomfort rather than pain after surgery.
How long is recovery after gynaecomastia surgery?
Typically, patients can resume daily activities a few days after gynaecomastia surgery. To optimize the healing process, you will be provided with a surgical vest with foam padding that will be placed over the treated area. The vest is usually worn for a couple of weeks following surgery. Dr. Merten advises patients to avoid exercise during the time the compression vest is worn. Stitches applied in the treatment area will dissolve naturally and require no need for removal.
How much does the surgery cost?
Gynaecomastia costs vary depending on your health insurance provider and the duration of your hospital stay. Medicare can often be used for this procedure and there are rebates available for the doctors’ fees, including the surgeon, anaesthetist and surgical assistant.