Gynaecomastia (Male Breast Reduction)
What is gynaecomastia surgery?
Gynaecomastia surgery, also known as a male breast reduction, is a surgical procedure to remove excessive enlargement of male breast tissue in one or both breasts.
This procedure is performed for medical/functional reasons and therefore attracts a rebate from Medicare.
When is gynaecomastia surgery desirable?
Gynaecomastia is common in men of any age, and can cause emotional and physical discomfort, as well as affecting self-confidence. Gynaecomastia may develop due to:
- Hormonal and metabolism changes
- Increase in weight
- Certain medications
- Hereditary factors
- Liver disease
- Use of recreational or non-prescription drugs, including steroids, marijuana, anabolic steroids, etc.
Although gynaecomastia may be treated by non-surgical treatments, such as adjusting medications or medically treating hormone levels, for some patients the best option is to surgically remove the excess breast tissue. In some cases, gynaecomastia can be treated with suction lipectomy.
There are important issues to consider regarding male breast reduction surgery:
- Younger men or adolescent boys may need to wait until their breast tissue is fully developed, in most cases a couple of years after the onset of gynaecomastia.
- Overweight men who have not tried weight loss through diet and exercise may not be suitable for this procedure.
- Patients who have developed gynaecomastia due to excessive alcohol consumption, prescription medicine or certain drugs (e.g. steroids, marijuana), must be complete free of these substances before undergoing surgery.
- For gynaecomastia surgery to be most successful, you should be physically healthy and be maintaining a stable weight.
How would gynaecomastia surgery help me?
A consultation with your Specialist Plastic Surgeon is the first step in considering male breast reduction surgery. You should frankly discuss your goals and expectations, and your plastic surgeon will explain to you whether this procedure is right for you. Blood tests and special examination techniques like ultrasound or mammography (x-rays) may be required before the final decision. You should always keep in mind that the desired result is an improvement, not perfection.
How important are psychological factors in relation to gynaecomastia surgery?
Emotional stability is the primary factor to be considered before any surgery is performed. A “new body” does not guarantee a new life or an end to all personal problems. It is mostly the mental attitude of the individual that determines a successful outcome. A male breast reduction can improve your appearance and renew your self-confidence; the rest is entirely up to you.
How is gynaecomastia surgery performed?
There are currently several techniques for male breast reduction surgery. They all aim to remove excess breast tissue and restore the appearance of a flat chest wall. Your plastic surgeon will take your physical condition and requirements into consideration, and will determine which technique would be best for you.
Male breast reduction surgery is performed in Perth in a fully-accredited hospital. The surgery can be performed as a day procedure or alternatively with a short hospital stay, under either local or general anaesthesia, depending on your general health and the extent of the procedure.
Are there any side effects to male breast surgery?
Any scars situated around the areola of the nipple usually fade over 6-12 months. Thus, although scars will be present, most patients believe they are worth it. There may be an alteration in sensation of the nipples, but this often improves with time. Permanent pigment changes may also occur in the breast area.
There may be a slight difference in size between the breasts or nipples and if this is a significant problem, a second procedure may be required to correct the imbalance in size or position.
Recurrence of breast tissue growth following surgery can occur if breasts had not finished developing, which is why it is extremely important to wait until growth has stabilised before having surgery.
Will the gynaecomastia procedure leave any scars?
Although your surgeon will make every effort to keep them as inconspicuous as possible, scars are the inevitable result of any surgery. Some patients have a tendency to develop thick scars and you should advise your surgeon if you are aware of this tendency in yourself.
What results can I expect from a gynaecomastia procedure?
The goal of your surgery is to reduce your breasts to a size that is in better proportion with your physique and makes you feel more comfortable. Your surgeon is the best person to determine whether your expectations are achievable.
When can I resume normal activities following a gynaecomastia surgery?
Most men in office roles are usually back at work after one week. Men in manual labour roles, or who undertake strenuous activities, generally require a recovery period of four to six weeks. Returning to work or your normal activities is an individual matter, and your surgeon will advise you. You will have to wear post-surgical compression garments for up to six weeks to reduce swelling and assist with the healing process.
How much does this procedure cost?
Please contact us online or call us on (08) 9380 0333 and one of our medical secretaries can provide you with more information. Please note that pricing does vary from case to case.
The Australian Foundation for Plastic Surgery (part of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons) is a helpful and reliable source of information online. Their website is an excellent place to research a range of surgical procedures and non-surgical treatments, and view video animations. Click here to visit their website.