Are you surprised if I told you breast surgery is not just for women?
You may of heard the terms “man boobs” and “moobs” which are phrases often used to mock men who may be overweight or simply just carrying a little more around the chest area. But did you know abnormally large breasts on men could be caused by a health condition called Gynecomastia?
What is gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a fairly common health condition, which can be caused by a number of things such as hormone imbalance, some medications, use of alcohol or drugs, or by being very overweight. This can lead to increased levels of oestrogen in the male body and therefore cause breast tissue to grow.
Breast reduction surgery for men
Breast surgery is a procedure which is traditionally associated with women looking to enhance or lift their breasts. However, an increasing number of men are starting to feel self-conscious about their bodies and so are choosing to undergo surgery to reduce the appearance of their “man boobs”.
The procedure removes excess breast tissue and can also tighten the breast area if you have saggy skin following a significant weight loss.
Surgery for men is becoming less of a taboo subject and more men are having aesthetic procedures than ever before.
When to consider breast reduction surgery
If you are a man with large breasts, which are simply due to being overweight, then you may want to consider other options before surgery. Try eating a healthy balanced diet as well as taking regular exercise. You should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week or 75 minutes of intense activity.
Any underlying health conditions should also be ruled out before undergoing surgery.
You should consider breast reduction surgery if you have been diagnosed with gynaecomastia and you have been unable to reduce your breasts with your diet and exercise plans.
If your larger breasts are causing you pain or distress as well as making you feel self-conscious then you should consider surgery. Some men experience light-hearted teasing from their friends which can be upsetting or feel as if everyone notices their overdeveloped breasts when they look at them.
Breast reduction surgery can help you to feel happier with what you see when you look in the mirror and more comfortable in your own skin.
What does the male breast reduction procedure involve?
There are two different kinds of procedures for men looking to reduce overdeveloped breasts.
Liposuction based male breast reduction
One is based around liposuction and this procedure is suitable for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of excess skin. This procedure isn’t too invasive and is a good option for those who are new to surgical procedures.
Two small incisions of three to four millimetres are made underneath the breasts. The breasts are then numbed with medicine and an ultrasound handpiece is used to loosen the tissue. Excess tissue is then suctioned from the breasts using a cannula and the incisions are closed with a single stitch.
The downtime for this procedure is minimal with men usually returning to work within a few days and there is no need to stay overnight in the clinic. Men should avoid intense exercise for the first few weeks following their surgery and should wear a compression garment to support the healing of the tissues.
Tissue excision male breast reduction
The second type of male breast reduction surgery is less common and is suitable for men who have a more extensive problem which includes excess skin. With this procedure the glandular tissue and the fatty tissue of the breast is removed.
A general anaesthetic is usually used and incisions are made under the breast and around the nipple, which do leave scarring. The scars may take several months to fade. If a lot of tissue needs to be removed then the nipples will also need to be repositioned.
Occasionally a local anaesthetic with sedation may be used. The procedure takes around one and a half hours and you will usually need to stay in hospital overnight. The recovery time is a little longer for this procedure and you may need to take longer off from work. After around a week you should be fine to go back, but you will still need to avoid intense activity.
What could go wrong during surgery?
Although complications are very rare, there is a small risk as there is with any surgery. Some issues can include a loss of sensation in the nipples, bleeding inside the breast tissue and developing lumps or swelling.
There is also a small risk of excessive bleeding, infection and allergic reaction to the anaesthetic, although again the risk of this is minimal.
How long does it take to recover from male breast reduction surgery?
It takes several weeks to recover fully from breast reduction surgery and you may feel swollen, sore and bruised for a few weeks.
You should wear an elasticated compression garment all day and night for up to two weeks after your surgery to help support the healing of your chest. Dressings will need to be kept on until your wounds are healed and after a couple of weeks your stitches will need to be removed (if dissolvable stitches haven’t been used).
You should avoid intense exercise, stretching and heavy lifting for the first three weeks and you are able to drive again once it isn’t painful to wear a seatbelt anymore.
After around six weeks you should be able to go back to your normal routine and activities with the knowledge that you no longer need to feel uncomfortable with your body.