Enlarged male breasts are caused by a medical condition known as ‘gynaecomastia’, which can cause untold embarrassment and stress. 40 to 60 per cent of men in the UK suffered from the condition and in some cases, young adolescents can see their chest go to the size of a C cup. Undergoing male breast reduction surgery can offer a permanent solution to gynaecomastia, enabling you to lead a more normal life.
Male breast reduction is not a way to lose weight. Surgeons will discourage surgery for obese men, or for overweight men who have not first attempted to correct the problem with exercise or dieting or weight loss surgery.
There are a variety of causes for this condition. Physiological changes in hormone ratios just after birth, at puberty and late in life often create ‘moobs’. Various drugs – medical or recreational – such as cannabis, steroids, methyldopa, phenothiazines, cimetidine, cyproterone acetate and drugs that inhibit testosterone also can have side-effects such as breast growth.
This is best decided during a consultation, but generally speaking if you are a healthy, emotionally stable man, with firm, elastic skin that will contract to your chest’s new contours after breast reduction, you will benefit from either liposuction or surgery to decrease your breast mounds.
The aim of either liposuction, or surgery for this condition is to produce as predictable, stable and aesthetic a breast shape for you as possible.
Liposuction is best suited to small breast mounds composed mostly of fatty tissue in men with good elastic skin tone. It involves making 2 – 3 small incisions through which the excess tissue is sucked out.
Surgical technique depends on the size of your breast mounds and the elastic tone of your skin. At the least, incisions are made around half the circumference of the areolar skin, but may stretch all the way around the areolar, then vertically down the chest wall and then in a symmetrical curve below – to leave an anchor-shaped scar.
The operation is performed under General Anesthesia – meaning you will be asleep. The operation usually takes an hour or so, depending on the technique used. After surgery, you will awake in a recovery area and soon afterwards you will be returned to your room. A drain is placed under the incision in each breast to remove the normal healing fluid that the body produces and stop it accumulating within your reduced breasts. These drains will be removed when the drainage is minimal – usually after a day or two and once they have been removed you can shower normally. Most patients go home a day or two after surgery on simple pain relieving medications and a short course of antibiotics.
You will feel tired and somewhat sore for a week or two following your surgery, but you will be able to move around and function relatively normally.
You will be swollen and bruised after surgery or liposuction, and this can have an effect on your healing and final result, so to counter this you will need to wear an elastic pressure garment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 4 weeks after surgery. Thereafter, you should wear it at night for a further 4 weeks. Your final result will mature over 3 – 6 months.
You can return to work as soon as you feel able, but if your work involves heavy, manual work, you should have at least a week off.
New scars benefit from friction-free massage (using vaseline, for instance, to lubricate the massaging process). Beginning to massage scars two to three weeks after surgery, will help them mature, soften and flatten faster than if left to their own devices. New scars should be protected from sunlight for 2 years to avoid them pigmenting differently from the surrounding skin and becoming a different colour permanently. Factor 15 sun block should be applied whenever they are exposed – even to a British winter sun.
You may find you lose nipple sensation, which is usually a temporary loss, but may take up to a year to return, and may remain permanently diminished or absent.
You may also experience altered pigmentation in the nipple-areolar skin, which may be permanent.