A Word About Breast Reduction in Men...
Gynecomastia is a medical term that comes from the Greek words
for "women-like breasts." Though this oddly named condition
is rarely talked about, it's actually quite common. Gynecomastia
affects an estimated 40 to 60 percent of men. It may affect only
one breast or both. Though certain drugs and medical problems have
been linked with male breast overdevelopment, there is no known
cause in the vast majority of cases.
For men who feel self-conscious about their appearance, breast-reduction
surgery can help. The procedure removes fat and or glandular tissue
from the breasts, and in extreme cases removes excess skin, resulting
in a chest that is flatter, firmer, and better contoured.
If you're considering surgery to correct gynecomastia, this brochure
will give you a basic understanding of the procedure--when it can
help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect. It can't
answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on your individual
circumstances. Please be sure to ask your doctor if there is anything
about the procedure you don't understand.
The Best Candidates for Gynecomastia Correction
Surgery to correct gynecomastia can be performed on healthy, emotionally
stable men of any age. The best candidates for surgery have firm,
elastic skin that will reshape to the body's new contours.
Surgery may be discouraged for obese men, or for overweight men
who have not first attempted to correct the problem with exercise
or weight loss. Also, individuals who drink alcohol beverages in
excess or smoke marijuana are usually not considered good candidates
for surgery. These drugs, along with anabolic steroids, may cause
gynecomastia. Therefore, patients are first directed to stop the
use of these drugs to see if the breast fullness will diminish
before surgery is considered an option.
If excess glandular tissue is the primary cause of the breast enlargement,
it will be excised, or cut out, with a scalpel. The excision may
be performed alone or in conjunction with liposuction. In a typical
procedure, 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. Major reductions that involve the removal of a significant
amount of tissue and skin may require larger incisions that result
in more conspicuous scars. If liposuction is used to remove excess
fat, the cannula is usually inserted through the existing incisions.
If your gynecomastia consists primarily of excessive fatty tissue,
your surgeon will likely use liposuction 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.
Or, the incision may be placed in the underarm area. A slim hollow
tube called a cannula which is attached to a vacuum pump, is then
inserted into the incision. Using strong, deliberate strokes, the
surgeon moves the cannula through the layers beneath the skin,
breaking up the fat and suctioning it out. Patients may feel a
vibration or some friction during the procedure, but generally
In extreme cases where large amounts of fat or glandular tissue
have been removed, skin may not adjust well to the new smaller
breast contour. In these cases, excess skin may have to be removed
to allow the removing skin to firmly re-adjust to the new breast
Sometimes, a small drain is inserted through a separate incision
to draw off excess fluids. Once closed, the incisions are usually
covered with a dressing. The chest may be wrapped to keep the skin
firmly in place.