The medical term gynecomastia comes from the Greek words for “women-like breasts.” Surprisingly, this rarely talked about condition affects 40 to 60 percent of men. It may affect one or both breasts and in the majority of cases there’s no known cause.
Breast-reduction surgery for men removes fat and or glandular tissue from the breasts, and in extreme cases removes excess skin, creating a chest that’s flatter, firmer, and more contoured.
Surgery for gynecomastia is most often performed as an outpatient procedure. The surgery itself usually takes about an hour and a half to complete and is typically performed under general, or in some cases, under local anesthesia plus sedation.
If the cause of the breast enlargement is excess glandular tissue, it will be cut out. 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, the surgeon cuts away the excess glandular tissue, fat and skin from around the areola and from the sides and bottom of the breast.
If the cause of the breast enlargement is excessive fatty tissue, liposuction will be used 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. (The incision may also be placed in the underarm area.) A slim hollow tube is then inserted into the incision to break up the fat and suction it out. Patients will generally feel no pain.
You’ll be encouraged to walk around on the day of surgery and can return to work when you feel well enough–which could be as early as a day or two after surgery. Most likely you’ll feel some discomfort for a few days after surgery but prescribed medications can control your discomfort. Any stitches will generally be removed about one to two weeks following the procedure.
Most 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.
When male breast-reduction surgery is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. But as with any and all surgeries, there are risks. These include infection, skin injury, excessive bleeding, adverse reaction to anesthesia, and excessive fluid loss or accumulation. The procedure may also result in noticeable scars, permanent pigment changes in the breast area, or slightly mismatched breasts or nipples. If asymmetry is significant, a second procedure may be performed to remove additional tissue.