Male Breast Reduction
Gynecomastia repair (“male breast reduction”) is an operation to reduce enlarged male breasts. This may involve liposuction, tissue removal, skin removal, or a combination of these.
Why does my chest have extra fullness?
There are several reasons for the male chest to abnormally increase in size. In fact, there are three age groups which commonly have a higher likelihood of gynecomastia. First, at birth all infants have a high amount of estrogen from their mother’s circulation, and some degree of enlargement of the chest, particularly around the nipples, is common. Secondly, hormone fluctuations during puberty often will cause a similar effect. In one study, around 70% of males had signs of breast enlargement around this time. Finally, in middle age, and increase in body fat can cause testosterone to convert to estrogen and result in gynecomastia.
There are also several medical problems and medications that can result in male breast enlargement. Marijuana and testosterone supplements, such as those used in body-building, are other causes. If a reversible cause is present (such as a pituitary disease, medication, etc.), stopping this may be enough to reverse breast enlargement. Otherwise, surgery is typically the best option.
Finally, excessive body size may result in a form of breast enlargement, called pseudogynecomastia. It is called “false” breast enlargement because there is no actual disease of the male breast tissue– the chest is enlarged proportionally to the rest of the body.
What occurs in gynecomastia reduction surgery?
Techniques to reduce male breast size depend on the type and amount of tissue excess. In most patients there is some extra tissue underneath and surrounding the areola in an oval shape. This tissue is dense and does not respond well to most forms of liposuction. Therefore, an incision around the lower portion of the areola is used to directly remove the extra. Leaving a small amount of tissue is critical to keep the areola flush with the surrounding skin, though– too much tissue removal results in a concave contour (“saucer-cup deformity”).
If extra fatty tissue exists over the entire chest, liposuction is useful (typically in addition to the direct tissue removal described above). Please see the dedicated liposuction page for more information.
Finally, if significant extra skin is present (such as in pseudogynecomastia), removal of skin alone or in addition to the techniques described above may be necessary. This is not common, but results in additional scars being present.
How is the recovery after gynecomastia correction?
Discomfort after male breast reduction is usually described as soreness, and is mild to moderate in intensity. Tissue within the male chest is more dense than female breast tissue and this operation is sometimes more uncomfortable than female breast reduction surgery. Pain medication is prescribed, and activity restrictions provided to make your recovery as smooth as possible.
You will be provided with a postoperative support vest to wear for 4 weeks after surgery to minimize swelling and bruising. This, along with minimizing upper body activity in the weeks after surgery, helps get you back to normal as soon as possible.
What kind of scars will I have ?
The most common scar pattern after gynecomastia repair will be a fine-line scar at the lower part of the junction of areola and surrounding skin (see the photo to the left). If liposuction is required, there may be one or more well-hidden, small scars near the armpit. When skin removal is required, scars will be more extensive and will be discussed with you at the time of consultation.
How much does male breast reduction cost? Does insurance cover the operation? Is financing available?
We believe in keeping costs affordable. At Gallatin Plastic Surgery the total cost of gynecomastia repair averages between $5800 and $7400.
Unlike a female breast reduction, male breast reduction surgery is not commonly covered by insurance. There are occasional exceptions, and we are happy to discuss your individual case at your consult.
Financing is available through Care Credit. We are happy to provide you with additional information at your free consultation.