Male breast reduction, also known as gynaecomastia, is the benign enlargement of the breast tissue in men. All males have breast tissue beneath the nipple and areola. It is likely a very subtle hormonal imbalance or increased sensitivity of the breast tissue accounts for its increase in size. In some cases, an identifiable cause may be found such as a hormonal imbalance, or the use of some medications or ‘recreational’ drugs that are known to increase the likelihood of developing gynaecomastia.
Medications may be effective in reducing gynecomastia in the early stages. In cases in which medication has not been effective to help restore a normal breast appearance, another option is to undergo surgery to treat it. The surgery for gynaecomastia aims to create or restore a relatively flat appearance to the chest that can take on the shape of the underlying chest muscle.
Some patients with gynecomastia may present with breast pain, embarrassment, or fear of breast cancer, but in most cases, gynaecomastia is not associated with severe health problems. Nevertheless, it is important for the patient to be examined by a physician to disregard any potential chronic conditions (e.g., cirrhosis, hypogonadism, renal insufficiency).
At Avery, we welcome the opportunity to have an open conversation with you to understand the changes you are looking for with surgery. Our patients’ stories matter a great deal to us. You can discover some of our wonderful patients’ journeys here.
Wherever you are on your personal journey, we would like to assist you. Dr Avery will listen to your concerns and what you want to achieve with surgery. Dr Avery will assess your health and medical history to ensure any surgical procedure you are considering is a safe and appropriate choice for you.
Correction of gynaecomastia removes fat and excess glandular tissue from the chest area using liposuction. A small incision is made around the outside edge of each areola, where scarring should be minimally visible.
In some cases, an excision technique may be required in addition to liposuction, to remove large amounts of glandular tissue and excess skin. Several incision options are available, and the surgeon will discuss each in detail with the patient.
The surgical technique used will be determined by the patient’s:
- Breast anatomy
- Amount of reduction desired
All male breast procedures are performed under general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital, with appropriately trained support staff.
There are two main pathways to a consultation with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon. Your GP or another health practitioner can make a referral to Dr Avery. Alternatively, it is possible to refer yourself for a consultation. The decision to have surgery may be made after talking with family or friends or following your own research into plastic surgery and Dr Avery.
Plastic surgery is a varied specialty with a number of surgeries to treat a variety of conditions or concerns. A unique feature of plastic surgery is the ability of the surgical procedures to produce physical changes that can also impact psychological functioning in a positive way.
The purpose of your initial consultation with Dr Avery is to discuss both your concerns and your goals. It is an opportunity to openly communicate what you want to change, alleviate, improve, restore, enhance, or remove. We will discuss any concerns you may have about your potential surgery and its outcome. We will also collect information that is specific and tailored to you, to add to the knowledge you acquired through your research outside of the consultation process.
When you arrive at Avery, you will check in with our front-desk team and complete a medical history form, if not already completed. We encourage you to bring a supportive family member or friend who can remain with you throughout the consultation if you like, and be a sounding board during your decision-making process following the consultation.
The consultation with Dr Avery will include an examination of the area of your body that you are concerned with and considering changing. Our aim will be to determine if plastic surgery can achieve what you hope it will, and if so, what specific plastic surgery procedures will address your concerns and meet your expectations in a realistic way.
We will discuss what the surgery involves, how it relates to you specifically given your uniqueness and current state of health, what the possible risks of the surgery are and then decide if having the surgery is a safe and appropriate choice for you as an individual.
After your consultation, our support team will be there to talk through any further questions you have including the cost of the surgery.
Plastic surgery procedures generally impact both physical appearance and your psychological response to the new changes in your body. Besides all the advantages to having plastic surgery, it is important to be fully aware of any potential limitations of the operation and how they apply to your unique situation. This includes possible complications and what can be done if these occur. Dr Avery and the Avery team will be available to answer all of your questions.
Generally, this can be performed as either a day procedure or with one overnight stay post-surgery to aid with recovery. Depending on the complexity of the surgery, up to two weeks off work may also be recommended.
If you have undergone another surgery in addition to the male breast reduction, a longer stay in hospital might also be necessary for recovery. As with any operation, you will need to organise somebody to drive you home. We encourage our patients to have another adult stay with them during the first night after surgery.
After male breast reduction or gynaecomastia, you will be required to wear a compression garment for 2–6 weeks to provide support and reduce post-operative pain or swelling, which generally subsides about two weeks after the surgery.
A customised pain relief program will be created for you and issued before you leave the hospital. If circumstances change at any stage during the recovery period, we can adjust the pain medication accordingly.
Gynaecomastia Surgery FAQ's
Gynaecomastia is a benign condition. Breast cancer although uncommon in men is possible. Both gynecomastia and breast cancer can be seen as a change in the appearance and size of the breast or nipple and areola and therefore, it is important to have any lumps checked by a doctor.
Prior to considering any surgical interventions, a medical evaluation should be performed by your GP. Any suspicion for an existing malignant breast tumour must be addressed before your consultation with a plastic surgeon.
All incisions leave a scar over time. The incision required will depend on the severity of gynaecomastia taking into account the amount of skin excess and the size of the breast tissue.
As with any surgery, you will need some recovery time after surgery. Most patients take a day or two off before returning to their daily activities. For the first two weeks after surgery, strenuous activities should be avoided and it is highly recommended the use of a compression vest for the first four weeks to control swelling, provide support and facilitate skin retraction.
The aim of gynaecomastia surgery is to create a flat chest. The majority of the breast tissue is removed to achieve the desired contoured chest shape, but given that men who do not have gynaecomastia also have a percentage of breast tissue, some will be left attached to the areola to recreate a natural male chest appearance.
Generally, the chance that there will be a change in nipple sensation increases with the extensiveness of the surgery.
Some men may experience a reduced sensation in the nipples that can be temporary or permanent. They may also find their nipples become hypersensitive for a short time after surgery.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. Dr Avery is a member of the two leading professional associations for plastic surgeons in Australia, ASAPS and ASPS. Their websites provide additional information regarding plastic surgery in Australia that you might find useful, please visit ASAPS and ASPS.