What is gynaecomastia?
The breast tissue in males can become enlarged (a condition called gynaecomastia), sometimes as a result of weight issues or loss of muscle tone due to ageing. It’s always best to check with your doctor in case the condition has been caused by a medical condition or is a side effect of medication. But if it’s purely a cosmetic problem, then there is a cosmetic answer: male breast reduction surgery.
What does male breast reduction surgery involve?
Full male breast reduction surgery is normally performed under general anaesthetic and takes between one and two hours depending on the extent and complexity of the procedure. The techniques used differ depending on the exact nature of the problem and the final look the patient wants to achieve. Incisions are made around the nipple and then liposuction is usually used to remove excess fat, but the surgeon may also remove some glandular tissue. Where there is a lot of excess tissue, the surgeon may need to extend the incisions around the nipple further down the chest and reposition the nipples. Excess skin is cut away to make the chest look tighter and smoother.
Many clinics also offer various forms of liposuction-only reduction, often called ‘chest reduction’, which may be suitable if you only need a small amount of excess fat removed. This is normally performed under local anaesthetic, and with some of the more recent fat-liquefying liposuction techniques, chest reduction is a walk-in, walk-out procedure with only a day or two needed for recovery.
What are the risks of male breast reduction surgery?
Besides the risk of a general anaesthetic, full male breast reduction, like all surgeries, carries some risks. There may be bleeding and infection, and in rare cases tissue necrosis. You may also experience a loss of sensation in the nipple area, and although this numbness often resolves itself within a few months, it can be permanent. Cosmetically, there is a risk of pronounced, lumpy scarring which may not fade as much as you would wish, and a possibility of the chest looking asymmetrical after it has healed.
How long will I need to recover from my male breast reduction surgery?
If you have had full surgery and a general anaesthetic, you will need to remain in hospital overnight. After your surgery a supportive dressing will be applied and this must be worn for several weeks. Your chest will feel sore and there will be some swelling and bruising, although this will gradually subside over the next few weeks.
You should rest at home for 4-7 days before returning to work. However if your job is very strenuous you may have to take a longer absence, as you should avoid lifting and exertion for 4 to 6 weeks after the operation.
While the surgery is permanent, weight gain, hormone imbalances or loss of muscle tone could cause the breast tissue to enlarge again.
How much does male breast reduction cost?
If there is a medical reason for your enlarged breasts, you may be able to get your surgery done on the NHS. Otherwise, prices for full make breast reduction surgery range from £2500 to £7000 (prices above £6000 are only for very extensive surgery), with the average fee being around £3500. Chest liposuction fees range from £1500 to £3500.