What is male breast reduction surgery?

Some men have one or both breasts that are abnormally large, known sometimes as ‘man boobs’. Clinically defined as gynaecomastia, this condition can be caused by 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 gynaecomastia. It may also be used to tighten the breast area after significant weight loss that has caused the skin to sag.

However, surgery is not suitable for men who have large breasts simply from being overweight.

What to expect during gynaecomastia surgery

Our private male breast reduction surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic. In some cases, local anaesthetic with sedation may be used.

Gynaecomastia surgery involves making an incision around the nipple to cut away excess fatty tissue or alternatively use liposuction to suck it out. Depending on how much breast tissue is removed, the nipples may require repositioning after.

The operation takes between 60 and 90 minutes. You’ll be given pain relief if you experience any discomfort afterwards.

You are usually required to stay in hospital overnight.

Gynaecomastia surgery recovery

It can take several weeks to fully recover from breast reduction surgery. You may need to take a few days off work. You may have sore, swollen and bruised breasts for a few weeks.

You’ll need to wear an elasticated compression garment day and night for 1 to 2 weeks after the operation. This helps support your chest while it heals.

How long you need to keep the dressings on will depend on how quickly your wounds heal. After 1 to 2 weeks, your stitches will either dissolve or be removed.

Avoid stretching, strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for about 3 weeks after the operation. It will take about 6 weeks until you can return fully to your normal activities.

Gynaecomastia surgery risks

The majority of male breast reduction surgeries are successful. However, as with all surgical procedures there is the possibility of problems occurring, including:

  • scarring around the breast area
  • change in the feel of the breast e.g. developing lumps, bruising or swelling
  • changes in breast shape or nipples
  • nerve problems in the nipples – they may become more sensitive, less sensitive, or completely numb; this can be temporary or permanent
  • bleeding inside the breast tissue (haematoma)

Your surgeon will be able to tell you more about these risks, including how likely they are and how they’ll be corrected if you have them.

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