Many men suffer from prominent and abnormally enlarged breast tissue (gynaecomastia). While most boys develop this in puberty and grow out of it, it does persist in some men. Some men develop this later in life from medical treatments or other conditions that affect their hormone balance.
Often men have tried losing weight, gaining weight and focussed gym sessions on their chest to no avail by the time they come to surgery. The appearance leads many men to hunch their shoulders, wear baggy clothes and impairs self-esteem.
Male breast reduction (gynaecomastia) surgery is usually undertaken through limited scars hidden around the nipple, with liposuction and / or surgical removal of the central breast mound. In larger breasts with excess skin, larger scars may be required.
Surgery flattens the chest showing greater definition of the underlying pectoralis muscles, allowing improved self-confidence and greater ability to participate in sport.
Men who have a healthy stable weight and general good health, and are substantially troubled by their chest appearance, are best suited to this surgery.
The specifics of your situation will be discussed with you when you have your first consultation with your plastic surgeon.
A consultation with your plastic surgeon will enable personalisation of the procedure and care to your unique situation. If you have abnormal male breast enlargement (gynaecomastia), the procedure may be partly rebatable – you will require a referral from your family doctor to support this.
Surgery is usually booked under general anaesthetic as day surgery, or with 1 night in hospital to support your recovery. You will need to fast on the day of surgery, and organise a support person to take you home and be around to help in the first few days when you head home.
After surgery, it is normal to have some bruising and swelling in the area that will be most evident 1-2 days after surgery and mostly resolve over 2-3 weeks. Perhaps surprisingly, surgery is not particularly painful (simple pain medications such as paracetamol usually suffice after the first 24-48 hours), though it is important to rest after surgery to allow your body time to recover. You will need 1-2 weeks without driving, 1-2 weeks off for administrative jobs and duties and 6 weeks off physical jobs or activity (including gym or exercise). You will also need to wear a compression vest to support your recovery.
A post-operative appointment will be organised for you to see your plastic surgeon 1 week after surgery to check your wounds (dissolving sutures are used, so there are no stitches to remove), and provide advice to care for your scars as you recover – often you will have appointments every week or two for the first month so we can support your recovery.
Substantial improvement will be noticed straight away, though there will be some early swelling from surgery that settles in 1-2 weeks. It may take up to 6 months for all swelling to settle and scars to mature, to see your long term result.
Your chest size should remain stable if your overall body weight does (it is really helpful to get to your ideal body weight before surgery).
All operations have risks, though major complications are rare after gynaecomastia surgery. There is a small risk of concerns that may delay healing and require a little extra care (eg minor bleeding, infection, a small fluid collection, or over active scars). In the longer term, mild asymmetry in size or shape is not uncommon (though your surgeon will do their best to achieve a symmetrical result). Often the nipples may have some sensitivity early on, though long term discomfort or loss of the nipple skin from surgery is very rare. These risks may vary depending on your specific situation and will be discussed with you at your consultation. Please feel reassured that your plastic surgeon will only recommend surgery if they feel that the benefit of the procedure substantially outweighs the risks.
If you have gynaecomastia, the majority of the cost is rebatable through Medicare and standard private health insurance. This does require a referral from your family doctor.
After your consultation, a detailed quote will be provided to you including the surgeon fee, anaesthetic fee, hospital fee and chest compression vest for your initial recovery.
Please be aware that all surgical procedures require a consultation with our plastic surgeons to allow a thorough assessment and discussion of your specific needs.