Male Breast Reduction Surgery
Male breast enlargement (also known as gynaecomastia) can affect men of any age and is characterised by an excess of glandular tissue in the breast. In many cases, there is also excess fat. Men who have breasts are often embarrassed by the appearance of their chest and become self-conscious wearing T-shirts or when swimming.
Causes of breast enlargement in men
The exact cause of gynaecomastia is not fully understood but it is believed to be related to the action of certain hormones on breast tissue. Certain medical conditions and drugs can cause gynaecomastia, and it is for this reason that Mr Karri will ask about your medical status and medication history during your consultation.
Medical conditions associated with gynaecomastia include (but are not limited to);
- Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal imbalance such as an excess of oestrogen or deficiency of testosterone can cause gynaecomastia.
- Liver disease: Liver diseases such as cirrhosis or hepatitis can cause gynaecomastia.
- Kidney failure: Kidney failure can result in an alteration of hormone levels leading to gynaecomastia.
- Thyroid problems: Both overactive and underactive thyroids can cause gynaecomastia.
- Tumors: Rarely, gynaecomastia can be caused by the presence of a tumor in the breast or in the adrenal glands, which produce hormones.
The drugs that can cause gynaecomastia include (but are not limited to);
- Steroids: Sometimes used by bodybuilders and athletes to increase muscle mass.
- Antidepressants: Particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
- Anti-anxiety medications: Benzodiazepines, which are commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
- Certain chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer can cause gynaecomastia.
What are the symptoms of gynaecomastia
Gynaecomastia can occur in either one breast or both breasts. If both breasts are affected, it is not uncommon for one breast to be larger than the other. The condition may start as a lump or excess fat tissue under the nipple, which can sometimes be painful.
How is gynaecomastia diagnosed
During your consultation, Mr Karri will take a medical history and examine your breasts. Depending on your presentation, he may also recommend;
- Blood tests – to check kidney function, liver function, and hormone levels.
- Urine test – to check kidney function.
- Mammogram / ultrasound – to detect any abnormalities in the breast.
- Biopsy – may be needed if a tumour is suspected.
Male Breast Reduction Surgery
Male breast reduction surgery depends on the nature of the gynaecomastia. If there is excess breast tissue, Mr Karri performs a subcutaneous mastectomy, discreetly removing it through a lower areolar incision. If there is a excess breast tissue and fat, Mr Karri performs liposuction and subcutaneous mastectomy. If there is excess breast tissue, fat and skin, Mr Karri performs a modified mastectomy.
Male breast reduction surgery is one of the most commonly requested procedures by men and Mr Karri can advise you on the most appropriate surgery necessary to achieve your objectives.
The final outcome of surgery is permanent in the majority of cases. However, if a cause has been identified (e.g. steroids or significant weight gain) then every effort must be made to stop the cause.
After male breast reduction surgery patients are required to wear a compression vest which helps minimise swelling and bruising, Swelling and bruising is normal and to be expected, but resolves over a number of days. The final result will not be apparent until a number of weeks have passed.
Prior to surgery, Mr Karri will give you detailed aftercare instructions. This will include how to care for the surgical site and incisions, pain relief that may be used to handle discomfort and when you may resume normal activity.
Every surgical procedure involves a degree of risk and it is important you understand the risks associated with male breast reduction surgery;
Scars / poor scarring – subcutaneous mastectomy and liposuction scars usually heal very well and are barely noticeable. In some patients, the scars can remain red and raised for a variable period of time.
Bleeding / haematoma
Seroma – refers to a pocket of fluid that forms within tissue after surgery. If a subcutaneous mastectomy has been performed, fluid may accumulate in the space that results after removal of the breast tissue. Seromas generally resolve on their own but may require drainage if they persist.
Over-correction / under-correction – there is a risk that removal of breast tissue is excessive resulting in the nipple becoming indented or appearing stuck to the underlying chest muscle.
Asymmetry – asymmetric swelling is the most common feature after gynaecomastia surgery and there are many contributing factors for this. Each side of the chest heals independently and there may be differences in breast tissue, chest muscle thickness, skin elasticity etc. This is all normal and will improve as healing progresses.