Male breast reduction is the surgical correction of gynecomastia, a common condition that is characterized by the over-development of male breast tissue. Enlargement can be seen in one or both breasts, and is more common in teenagers and older men.
Men like women have breast tissues, but they are underdeveloped due to specific male hormones. Gynecomastia is characterized by excess fat or glandular tissue or both, and can develop when there is an imbalance in these hormones. Other reasons for the abnormal growth of breast tissues include birth defects, obesity, certain diseases like liver failure and cancer, excess alcohol, certain drugs like anabolic steroids, or sagging skin due to sudden weight loss.
Breast enlargement can be an emotional burden and can impair the self-confidence in men. Reduction mammoplasty is an option to not only reduce the size of breasts, but also improve the shape.
The following are the indications for male breast surgery:
- Physically healthy
- Relatively normal weight
- Development of breast has stabilized
- Alternative treatments have failed
- No life-threatening condition that can hinder healing
- Non-smoker and non-drug user
The surgery takes two hours and is performed under intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Your surgeon will mark the region to be treated. Surgery can involve liposuction or excision, depending on the presence of excess fat or glandular tissue.
- Your surgeon will make a cut around the areola and removethe excess fatty tissue through the process of liposuction. Liposuction involves a cannula (thin hollow tube), which is inserted through small incisions and moved in a controlled pattern to loosen the excess fat. The fat is then sucked out through vacuum suction. Next, your surgeon will drain out additional blood and fluid through small drainage tubes.
- Your surgeon will suggest the excision technique when excess glandular breast tissue or skin has to be removed. An incision is made around the areola and the underlying glandular tissue is removed. This method not only flattens the breast, but also reduces the size of the areola and repositions the nipple. Some cases of gynecomastia require the use of both, liposuction and excision.
After the procedure, your surgeon will apply a dressing on the incisions and cover it with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling and promote healing. You may have to remain in the hospital overnight. You can resume work in a week, but will have to refrain from strenuous exercises or lifting heavy weights for one month, and exposing the scar tissue to the sun for a minimum of 6 months.
Risks and complications
As with any surgery, reduction mammoplasty involves risks and potential complications. These include:
- Temporary or permanent change in nipple or breast sensation
- Pain, infection, bleeding and blood clots
- Loose skin, uneven breast contour, irregular pigmentation, fluid loss or accumulation (with liposuction)
- Death of deep skin fatty tissue
- Damage to underlying blood vessels, nerves, muscles and lungs
- Cardiac and pulmonary complications