Enlarged male breasts, also known as gynacomastia, is a problem that affects over 40% of the male population. Male breast reduction surgery is a popular solution to this problem.
What is it?
• Gynaecomastia is a common condition producing generalised enlargement of the male breast tissue
• This condition often occurs during puberty and in many occasions resolves spontaneously
• It can also occur in old age in which case it is unlikely to resolve but rarely requires treatment, and often runs in families
What is involved?
• Excisional techniques which involve an incision around the nipple allowing access to the enlarged tissue which is removed
• Liposuction techniques involve reducing the amount of breast tissue by suctioning it out via small incisions around the breast
My approach depends on the severity of gynaecomastia. In mild cases where there is minimal excess tissue and good quality skin, liposuction alone is sufficient. This would leave a few short (3-4mm) scars which become very inconspicuous over time. More commonly it is necessary to combine this with open excision of breast tissue just beneath the areola, which leaves a permanent scar around half of the areola. In severe cases formal skin resection is needed, which leaves more prominent scarring - usually a horizontal scar in the chest crease and a round scar around the areola.
Risks can be general to surgery of any kind, or specific to this form of surgery.
• Reactions to tape, suture materials, glues, topical preparations or injected agents
• Anesthesia risks
• Bleeding (hematoma)
• Blood clots
• Damage to deeper structures—such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles and lungs — and may be temporary or permanent
• Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
• Fluid accumulation (seroma)
• Poor wound healing
• Possibility of revision surgery
• Unfavorable scarring
Risks specific to gynaecomastia surgery
• Breast asymmetry
• Breast contour and shape irregularities
• Changes in nipple or breast sensation (which may be temporary or permanent)
• Fat necrosis (in which fatty tissue found in the breast might die to leave a hard lump or lumps)
• Persistent pain
The recovery process following liposuction is typically quite tolerable. Patients are given a compression garment to wear for the first four weeks after surgery; this helps to minimize swelling and offers support to the healing tissues. You can shower from 72 hours after surgery, removing your garment to do so.
Vigorous exercise is off-limits for about 3 weeks, but you will be otherwise mobile soon after surgery and most men return to work by one week after their procedure. You can expect significant bruising for several weeks after the procedure, as well as swelling which can take six to eight weeks to resolve.