Male Breast Reduction

Gynecomastia is a medical term that comes from the Greek words for “women-like breasts”. Though this oddly named condition is rarely talked about, it is actually quite common. Gynecomastia affects an estimated 40 to 60 percent of men. It may affect only one breast or both. Though certain drugs and medical problems have been linked with male breast overdevelopment, there is no known cause in the vast majority of cases.

For men who feel self-conscious about their appearance, breast reduction surgery can help. This procedure removes fat and or glandular tissue from the breasts and in extreme cases removes excess skin, resulting in a chest that is flatter, firmer and better contoured.

Surgery to correct gynecomastia can be performed on healthy, emotionally stable men of any age. The best candidates for surgery have firm, elastic skin that will reshape to the body’s new contours. Surgery may be discouraged for obese men or for overweight men who have not first attempted to correct the problem with exercise or weight loss.

THE SURGERY

If excess glandular tissue is the primary cause of the breast enlargement, it will be excised, or cut out with a scalpel. The excision may be performed alone or in conjunction with liposuction. In a typical procedure, an incision is made in an inconspicuous location, either on the edge of the areola or in the under arm area. Working through the incision, Dr. Fisher cuts away the excess glandular tissue, fat and skin from around the areola and from the sides and bottom of the breast. Major reductions that involve the removal of a significant amount of tissue and skin may require larger incisions that result in more conspicuous scars. If liposuction is used to remove excess fat, the cannula is usually inserted through the existing incisions.

If your gynecomastia consists primarily of excessive fatty tissue, Dr. Fisher will likely use liposuction to remove the excess fat. A small incision, less than a half-inch in length is made around the edge of the areola, the dark skin that surrounds the nipple or the incision may be placed in the underarm area. A slim hollow tube called a cannula which is attached to a vacuum pump is then inserted into the incision. Using strong, deliberate strokes, Dr. Fisher moves the cannula through the layers beneath the skin, breaking up the fat and suctioning it out. Patients may feel a vibration or some friction during the procedure, but generally no pain. Sometimes a small drain is inserted through a separate incision to draw off excess fluids. Once closed, the incisions are usually covered with a dressing. The chest may be wrapped to keep the skin firmly in place.

After the procedure, you will feel some discomfort for a few days after surgery. However, discomfort can be controlled with medications prescribed by Dr. Fisher. In any case, you should arrange to have someone drive you home after surgery and to help you out for a day or two if needed. You will be swollen and bruised for awhile. To help reduce swelling, you will probably be instructed to wear an elastic pressure garment continuously for a week or two and for a few weeks longer at night. Although the worst of your swelling will dissipate in the first few weeks, it may be three months or more before the final results of your surgery are apparent.