Gynecomastia (Male Breast Reduction)

Last Updated: December 12, 2012

Natural breast enhancement in men presents quite different issues than self-requested male breast enlargement. Gynecomastia comes from the Greek words gyne meaning "woman"; and mastos meaning "breast"; In other words this means abnormally large breasts on men.

What is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia refers to excessive breast development in men. This is usually caused by a hormonal imbalance that results in an overabundance of estrogen. While gynecomastia is not a danger to a man’s health, it may significantly affect his confidence. Gynecomastia surgery, which is also called a male breast reduction, reduces the size of a man’s breasts. This surgery will help to restore a more masculine physique and may help a man regain his confidence.

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Gynecomastia surgery, which is also called a male breast reduction, reduces the size of a man’s breasts. This surgery will help to restore a more masculine physique and may help a man regain his confidence.

This condition which is relatively common in adolescent boys leaves at least 10% of men burdened with social and mental trauma that affects their everyday lives and relationships. Some of the potential causes of gynecomastia are obesity, genetic disorders, chronic liver disease as well as side effects of certain medications and marijuana use.

In cases of obesity, weight loss can alter the gynecomastic condition, but for many it will not completely eradicate. For lots of chronic causes, plastic surgery is the only known physical remedy for this type of problem. It is important to seek psychological counseling afterwards as gynecomastia affects lots of men on an emotional level as well.

How is Gynecomastia Performed?

There are two different ways that Gynecomastia surgeries are performed. The first way to reduce the size of a man’s breasts is through liposuction. During a liposuction procedure, a surgeon will use a vacuum-like device and a thin cannula, or metal tube, to suck the additional fat from the chest from an incision that is made around the areola. Using strong, deliberate strokes, the surgeon will move the cannula through the layers beneath the skin and will break up the fat and suction it out. This technique results in minimal scarring and is ideal for reducing a moderate amount of fat throughout the chest area.

Common Causes of Gynecomastia

  • Obesity
  • Genetic disorders
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Marijuana use

The second way to perform a male breast reduction is to cut out the additional fat. This is best in cases where a compact fat deposit is located directly underneath the areola. The surgeon will make an incision along the aureole and remove the fatty tissue. The cut may be performed alone or together with liposuction. During most plastic surgery procedures an incision is made in an inconspicuous location--either on the edge of the areola or in the under arm area. Working through the incision, the surgeon cuts away the excess glandular tissue, fat and skin from around the areola and from the sides and bottom of the breast. If liposuction is used to remove excess fat, the cannula is usually inserted through the existing incisions. In many cases, the surgeon will eliminate much of the fatty tissue through the incision and then use liposuction to shape the chest.

In rare cases where large amounts of fat or glandular tissue have been removed, skin may not adjust well to the new smaller breast contour and the excess skin may have to be removed in order to let the contours adjust to the new breast shape.

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Recovery from a male breast reduction is fairly mild. Most men report mild aches that feel more like muscle aches than the result of surgery.

What are the Benefits and Risks of Gynecomastia Surgery?

Male breast reduction surgery can greatly benefit a man suffering from gynecomastia. While many men suffer from this condition, most of these men become very uncomfortable with their appearance. The reshaping of the chest can lead to higher self esteem and increased happiness overall. However, there are also risks that men must consider. Gynecomastia surgery may cause swelling, bruising, bleeding and may leave the area sore for a few days, up to a few weeks. There is also the risk of infection, scarring, and may cause the area to appear lumpy. While these risks are slim, they are something to be aware of.

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The American Society of Plastic Surgeons states that the national average surgeon fee cost of Gynecomastia surgery was $3,051 in 2011. Fees do not include anesthesia, operating room facilities or other related expenses.

What Can Patients Expect During Recovery?

Recovery from a male breast reduction is fairly mild. Most men report mild aches that feel more like muscle aches than the result of surgery. Men will be required to wear a compression vest for a few days to two weeks after surgery. After 10 days to two weeks, most men will notice that much of the bruising and swelling caused by the surgery has disappeared. If an excision was required, men will notice mild scarring that will fade in a few months time.

Am I an Ideal Candidate for Gynecomastia Surgery?

Ideal candidates for Gynecomastia surgery are men who are in good physical condition, but cannot reduce the size of their breasts through exercise alone. The Gynecomastia may have formed during puberty, because of a medication, or due to a hormonal imbalance.

What is the Average Cost of Gynecomastia Surgery?

Because this is an elective surgery, patients will be responsible for the entire cost of surgery. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons states that the national average surgeon fee cost of Gynecomastia surgery was $3,051 in 2011.

However, patients are also usually responsible for the price of anesthesia and hospital fees, which will bring the total cost of surgery up to around $5,000, but may be as much as $8,000.

Fortunately, after all is said and done, most men are very happy with the results and find the price to be worth the improvement.

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