Gynaecomastia is the enlargement of the male breast, affecting one or both breasts, and can occur in teenaged and adult men.
The condition is quite common and is often the result of increased levels of estrogen due to imbalance in levels in puberty, health conditions or changes to the male metabolism.
Candidates for surgical treatment of gynaecomastia include men who have attempted and failed at non-surgical treatment of the condition, patients concerned with or psychologically affected by the aesthetics of the condition, patients who experience significant discomfort and in rare cases, where there is suspected malignancy.
The decision to have gynaecomastia surgery should not be made in haste and should only be done in consultation with your surgeon and when you feel well informed about all associated risks and benefits. Prior to commencing any treatment your surgeon will develop a treatment plan specific to your needs.
The surgical procedures applied in gynaecomastia surgery depend largely on the type of tissue present in the affected breasts, however, when gland tissue is excessive, surgical excision is usually required.
Mammary gland tissue requires surgical cutting; dissecting the glands away from the surrounding tissue.
Fatty tissue can be removed using liposuction where the fat cells are suctioned out using a slim cannula attached to a vacuum and often a combination of excision and fat removal is necessary.
In both cases, the wound is closed in layers, typically using hidden or dissolvable stitches in the deeper layers.
In some cases, additional surgical procedures may be required. In cases where a significant amount of breast tissue has been removed the new breast shape may not settle into the smaller contour and the excess skin on the chest wall may need to be removed. Micro-liposuction may also be used where the surgeon needs more control to remove smaller amounts of tissue.
Nipple reduction surgery can also be performed on men with large nipples that protrude above the areola.
Modern surgery is safe but does have associated risks. Despite the highest standards of surgical practice, complications are possible: your surgeon will discuss these with you prior to surgery.
There is often limited down time after surgery, however, this is dependant on the extent of the procedure.
Due to swelling, the breasts may appear much the same as they did before the operation; however, most swelling and bruising will subside within a few weeks.
It can often take up to three months for the area to fully settle to its final appearance.
Some pain and general discomfort is to be expected for a few days following the procedure but can be treated with pain medication as prescribed by your surgeon.
Be patient: healing can be a slow process. Your surgeon will advise on how to best care for yourself and will arrange for a follow up appointment to check on your progress.
Gynaecomastia originates from the Greek words for “women-like breasts“. This condition is far more common than many realize. Although certain drugs and medical conditions may cause male breast enlargement, in a large percentage the cause is unknown.
Enlarged male breasts can be reduced by liposuction and/or by cutting out excess glandular tissue. Results are permanent, although subsequent obesity can create a gynaecomastia – like effect. There is little downtime and you may return to work within one week usually.