Gynecomastia Surgery (Male Breast Reduction)

Overview

Gynecomastia surgery, also referred to as male breast reduction, involves the removal of excess breast tissue and fat in men, providing both cosmetic enhancement and practical benefits. This procedure aims to reduce breast size through techniques such as liposuction, excision via larger incisions, or a combination of these methods. It can significantly improve confidence and self-esteem by alleviating discomfort and pain associated with activities like jumping and running, where excess tissue can be particularly bothersome.

Reasons for undergoing the procedure

Gynecomastia surgery is an elective cosmetic surgery aimed at treating gynecomastia, a condition characterized by enlarged male breast tissue.

The goal of this surgery include:

  • To alleviate pain and discomfort associated with excess breast tissue
  • To make clothing fit more comfortably
  • To treat severe cases of gynecomastia may cause breasts to sag and the areola to stretch

Gynecomastia can develop due to factors like obesity, certain medications, or hormonal changes during puberty, and can also affect older individuals as hormone levels fluctuate.

Risk

Gynecomastia surgery comes with inherent risks. Typically, these procedures result in permanent scars that may fade over time but won’t completely vanish. Occasionally, additional surgery might be required to resolve any complications or to achieve the desired aesthetic results.

Specifically, potential complications of gynecomastia surgery include:

  • Different sized and shaped breasts
  • Diminished sensitivity, numbness, or loss of feeling in the breast region
  • Infection
  • Persistent pain
  • Prolonged or severe bleeding
  • Scars and bruises

Before the procedure

In preparation to a gynecomastia surgery, the following may be advised:

  • Quit smoking to enhance healing, as tobacco use can slow the process
  • Stop certain medications, including blood thinners
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing when arriving at the surgical center or hospital

Instructions will also be given regarding when one should stop eating and drinking the day before the surgery.

Major pre-surgery preparations include:

  • A comprehensive discussion about one’s goals, medical history, and available options
  • Conduct of tests such as a complete blood count (CBC) to evaluate the patient’s health and determine the cause of gynecomastia
  • Examination and measurement of the breast tissue
  • Screening for male breast cancer
  • Taking photographs for medical records

During the procedure

Gynecomastia surgery offers several techniques, including liposuction, excision, or a combination based on the individual’s breast size and desired results. Before either procedure, general anesthesia is administered intravenously to ensure the patient is unconscious and experiences no pain during surgery.

  • Liposuction: This technique removes excess fat from specific areas of the body by inserting a suction tube through small incisions.
  • Excision: To address excess breast tissue and reshape the chest contour, the tissue, including skin and glandular tissue, is cut out and removed through larger incisions.

During surgery, healthcare providers may place thin tubes under the skin to drain fluid and blood as part of the healing process. These tubes collect the fluid into a receptacle or bulb located at their end. Once they are no longer necessary, the healthcare provider will remove these tubes from the body.

After the procedure

After gynecomastia surgery, patients typically wear bandages and a supportive chest garment to reduce swelling and provide essential support during the healing phase. Pain medications may be prescribed to manage discomfort, decrease swelling, and minimize infection risks. Detailed instructions on post-operative care, including wound care, will be provided. Gynecomastia surgery is often performed as an outpatient procedure, allowing patients to return home the same day with necessary support.

Outcome

Following gynecomastia surgery, it’s common to experience soreness and discomfort in the initial days, with tenderness improving within about a week. It’s crucial to diligently follow the healthcare provider’s instructions during the healing process, which typically involves avoiding heavy lifting, carrying objects, and extending arms above shoulder level to support optimal recovery. Most individuals can expect to return to work in approximately two weeks post-surgery.

It is also important to be on look out for possible complications. Seek immediate medical attention if the any of the following is experienced:

  • Bleeding, pus, or opening of the incision
  • Chest pain
  • Dyspnea, or shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations, this can be a complication related to anesthesia
  • Severe pain or swelling
  • Signs of infection, such as fever, redness, or swelling near the incision

Gynecomastia surgery often boosts confidence and comfort in appearance for many individuals. They may find satisfaction in being able to wear shirts without gaps or feeling more confident in t-shirts and swimsuits.

Visible results may take three to six months as swelling subsides and tissues heal. While results are permanent, additional surgeries may be necessary to achieve desired outcomes.