Male breast reduction


Known as gynaecomastia, this condition can result from a hormone imbalance or from being very overweight, which can increase levels of oestrogen and cause breast tissue to grow.

Breast reduction surgery is an option for men with this condition. It may also be used to tighten the breast area after dramatic weight loss that has caused the skin to sag.
However, it is not suitable for men whose large breasts are simply excess fat from being overweight.
Normally, you'll need to pay for breast reduction surgery privately. 

What does it involve?

Breast reduction surgery is usually carried out under general anaesthetic. 
There are several techniques the surgeon could use, but generally the operation involves:
making a cut (incision) around the nipple
using liposuction to suck out excess fatty tissue
extending the cuts and repositioning the nipples if there is a lot of tissue to remove
The operation takes about 90 minutes. You usually need to stay in hospital overnight.


It can take a few weeks to fully recover from breast reduction surgery. You may need to take a few days off work. It can take up to six months to see the full results.
You will need to wear an elastic garment day and night for a few weeks after the operation.
The length of time you need to keep the dressings on depends on how quickly your wounds heal. After one or two weeks, your stitches will either dissolve or be removed at an outpatient clinic.
You should avoid stretching, strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for up to six weeks after the operation. You can drive again when it's no longer painful to wear a seatbelt, which may be several weeks.

Side effects to expect

It's typical after breast reduction surgery to have:
sore breasts for a few weeks
scars – these may take several months to fade
Most men are just left with a scar around the nipple. But a large breast reduction operation may also result in a scar that runs down vertically and horizontally across the breast crease.
What could go wrong

Breast reduction surgery can occasionally result in problems, including:
thick, obvious scarring
unevenly shaped breasts or nipples
wound healing problems 
loss of nipple sensation
bleeding inside the breast tissue (haematoma) – this generally occurs within the first 24 hours after the operation
developing lumps, bruising or swelling
Also, any type of operation carries a small risk of:
excessive bleeding
an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic
a blood clot forming in the deep veins
The surgeon should explain how likely these risks and complications are, and how they would be treated if they occurred.
What to do if you have problems

Cosmetic surgery can sometimes go wrong, and the results may not be what you expected.
You should contact the clinic where the operation was carried out as soon as possible if you have severe pain or any unexpected symptoms, such as redness of your breast skin, a burning sensation or unusual swelling.
If you have breast reduction surgery and are not happy with the results or think the procedure wasn't carried out properly, you should take up the matter with your surgeon through the hospital or clinic where you were treated.

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Publish Date: 2016 Nov 08

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