Male Breast Reduction (Gynecomastia)
Gynecomastia is the medical term for abnormally enlarged breasts in a male. This is not uncommon in adolescents, young men, and even older gentlemen. In the younger patient, it can be a great source of embarrassment and social disruption, especially with sports-related activities and changing in the locker room. However, for men of all ages, visible male breast tissue can cause significant psychological distress, diminish self-esteem, and inhibit self-confidence. Male breast reduction is one of our comprehensive male plastic surgery procedures that is designed to treat gynecomastia by removing excess breast tissue and/or fat in order to restore the appearance of a flat chest. Male breast correction should ideally have invisible scars to retain discretion, which is why Dr. Ram Kalus takes great care to perform the surgery in a manner that can leave residual scarring as inconspicuous and unnoticeable as possible.
Causes of Gynecomastia
While the development of excess tissue or fat in male breasts is fairly common, it often resolves naturally throughout adolescence and puberty for a generally flat chest appearance. When the breast tissue becomes enlarged and markedly visible, the condition is known as gynecomastia. A number of factors can contribute to enlarged breast tissue in men, including:
- Elevated hormone levels during puberty
- Steroid use
- Medication side effects
- Chronic liver disease
- Hereditary conditions
With gynecomastia, it is common for breast tissue to develop asymmetrically; sometimes, excess tissue may even be present in one breast, but not the other. Ultimately, gynecomastia often develops as a result of changes in an individual’s hormone levels; however, the condition can also be caused by genetic influences.
Male Breast Reduction Procedure
Male breast reduction surgery aims to reduce excess breast tissue, while flattening and enhancing the contours of the chest. Liposuction may also be utilized as a technique to remove excess fat; our plastic surgeon will discuss the particulars of your treatment plan after a careful consultation and physical examination. When undergoing treatment for gynecomastia, it is common for men to combine the procedure with other enhancement options—such as liposuction of the back or flanks—in order to achieve a more comprehensive cosmetic result. Our surgeon will be happy to talk with you about the most ideal options for your ultimate goals.
To achieve a natural-looking result, scarring from any incisions should always try to remain around the areola (the dark pigmented area surrounding the nipple) exclusively and not extend into the remainder of the breast or chest, as would typically be the case in female breast reduction. To see examples of male patients who underwent breast reduction surgery, or gynecomastia correction, please visit our before-and-after photo gallery.
Male Breast Reduction Recovery
Immediately following surgery, you may have to wear a support garment for a brief period in order to minimize swelling and promote proper healing of your new chest contour. There will be some degree of normal post-operative bruising and swelling; however, discomfort from this surgery is often minimal and should be manageable with oral pain medication. While strenuous exercise and aerobic activity should be avoided for at least a couple of weeks in most cases, work and other daily activities can usually be resumed after a few days. Dr. Kalus will give you specific instructions regarding recovery in person.
The results of surgery are typically immediately visible. Over time, any residual scarring should generally fade. Men who undergo male breast reduction surgery are often among the most satisfied individuals at our practice. Gynecomastia patients’ newfound ability to remove their shirt or work out without fear of embarrassment has been described as life-changing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Does male breast reduction result in excess skin?
Patients who have good skin elasticity generally don’t worry about excess skin after surgery, as the skin can contract and tighten to their new chest contour. However, for those with poor skin elasticity or a large amount of excess breast tissue, additional procedural steps may be required to remove extra skin during the operation. Our surgeon will perform a thorough examination of your needs and make you fully aware of your surgical expectations during a consultation.
Can exercise be used to treat gynecomastia?
The effectiveness of exercise on male breast enlargement is dependent on the nature of your unique condition. If your gynecomastia is a result of excess glandular breast tissue, exercise will have no effect on the appearance of male breasts. On the other hand, if your gynecomastia is related to obesity, weight loss and exercise can sometimes provide improvement aesthetically; however, it is very rare for gynecomastia to be completely resolved with exercise alone. In most cases, there will be some degree of visible breast tissue and surgery is often necessary to completely remove the excess.
Does insurance cover male breast reduction?
Unfortunately, male breast reduction is considered a cosmetic enhancement in most cases. Therefore, the procedure is not covered by many insurance policies. However, coverage varies on a case-by-case basis, so be sure to carefully review your health care plan or insurance policy and do not hesitate to raise any concerns with our practice. We will be happy to discuss our accepted forms of payment and financing options with you.
If you would like more information on treatment for gynecomastia, or if you would like to schedule a confidential consultation, please contact Plastic Surgery of the Carolinas.