Medically reviewed by a licensed NHS consultantLast updated: 15/08/2019
PhotoCredit: ShutterStock/ HENADZ PECHAN
The world of male cosmetic surgery is changing, with around 1 man for every 10 women going under the knife. A male breast reduction (often called gynecomastia reduction surgery) is one of the most common cosmetic procedures for men. The surgery involves removing excess fat, skin and tissue, in order to restore a more masculine, firmer looking chest.
Puberty, hormone imbalance, obesity and several other reasons, cause some men to develop enlarged breasts (in one or both breasts). This condition is known as gynecomastia, which commonly affects boys going through puberty or older men; affecting their physical and mental health. Currently male breast reduction surgery has been the most effective technique in tackling gynecomastia. In 2011, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) stated that 790 men underwent the surgery.
In addition, some males undergo a breast reduction in order to tighten their chest from excess sagging skin, caused by significant weight loss.
- If your condition has not be corrected through alternative medication.
- If you do not smoke
- If you are physically and emotionally healthy
- If you are a relatively normal weight, a breast reduction is not suitable for obese males
- If you are uncomfortable or self-conscious about the appearance of your chest
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Male breast reduction surgery is rarely administered under the NHS.
However, there are some exceptions. For example,
- If you have suffered from gynaecomastia for a long time
- If your condition has not responded to any other medication
- If your condition is causing you pain and discomfort
However, most patients will need to go privately. Male breast reduction surgery in the UK, costs around £3,500 to £5,500. However, you should also consider the additional costs for any follow up care and consultations.
Find out more on your financial options for cosmetic surgery.
Before your surgery, you will consult with your doctor about why you want a breast reduction and your desired results. It is vital you are realistic about the results.
Find out more about the advantages and disadvantage of cosmetic surgery.
Breast reduction surgery is administered in a hospital or day surgery.
The procedure is usually performed under general anaesthesia, although local anaesthesia can also be administered. Your surgeon will recommend the best option for you.
The operation will take approximately 1.5 hours-3 hours.
Depending on your specific needs and desires, your doctor may recommend liposuction, to remove the excess fat. This technique is used when patients do not require a large amount of breast tissue to be removed. Liposuction can permanently remove fat cells, through inserting a tiny vibrating cannula. This cannular breaks up the fat cells before removing it from the breasts.
Males who desire/need a moderate to large amount of breast tissue removal will undergo a traditional male breast reduction procedure. Here, incisions will be made around the areola and breasts, before removing excess fat, skin and tissue. Different incision techniques will be administered depending on your desired results. Discuss with your doctor which technique is right for you. Furthermore, this procedure allows for the nipple and areola to be reshaped.
Incisions are then closed using stitches or sutures. A small tube may be inserted to drain out any excess fluid. Bandages are then placed around the area, before you are returned to the ward.
Patients are often kept in hospital for one to two nights to recover. You cannot drive after surgery so ensure someone is available to pick you up (you can return to driving once it is not painful to wear a seatbelt).
Every patient’s recovery is different, although most experience minimal to moderate amounts of pain.
It often takes several weeks to fully recover from breast reduction surgery, with most patients returning to work after 3 days (depending on what your work entails).
Your breasts may be sore, swollen and bruised for a few weeks. The swelling should subside in the first weeks, although it can take months to completely disappear. Furthermore, pain medication will be given to reduce any discomfort.
Your stitches will naturally dissolve or be removed after 1-2 weeks.
To aid in your recovery a compression garment must be worn for at least one-week post-surgery.
Do not take part in strenuous, physical activity such as heavy lifting for at least 3 weeks. It often takes patients 6 weeks to fully return to their normal activities.
Breast reduction surgery can occasionally cause risks, such as:
- Loss of nipple sensation
- Bleeding (haematoma)
- Bruising or swelling
- Problems with anaesthetic such as allergic reaction
- Blood clots
- Developing lumps
Your surgeon should explain how likely these complications are, and how they will be treated if any occur.
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You should notice immediate changes in your chest after surgery. Although the final contour of your breasts may only be visible 6-12 months post-surgery. Scaring is often permanent, although the marks will continue to fade over time.
Results can take time, so remember to be patient. Your boost in self-confidence will be worth it.
Getting an experienced surgeon will ensure you get the results you desire. To ensure your doctor is certified make sure they are registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and General Medical Council (GMC). Any doctor carrying out a breast reduction surgeon should have years of experience in the field and be a full member of either the British Association of Plastic Reconstruction and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) or the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).
To ensure your plastic surgeon is right for you, book a consultation to meet them before the procedure.
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1. Can only one breast be operated on?
2. Are there any nonsurgical treatments for gynecomastia?
3. Can I have other procedures done at the same time?
4. Will my gynecomastia come back if I gain weight after surgery?
5. How long do I need to wait, before sunbathing after a breast reduction?
Mr Debashis Ghosh
Mr Debashis Ghosh, renowned breast and oncoplastic surgeon and consultant at The Royal Free NHS, UCL London, The Wellington Hospital & Harley Street - MS, FRCS(Edin), FRCS, FEBS(Breast), FEBS(Surgical Oncology). Over 25 years of expertise in breast augmentation, breast cancer treatments and reconstruction. In the forefront of clinical trials, research and has several publications in Kirk's Operative Surgery on breast surgery.
Royal Free London Consultant Profile:https://www.royalfree.nhs.uk/services/staff-a-z/mr-debashis-ghosh/
NHS Consultant Profile:https://www.nhs.uk/profiles/consultant/4657664