Find out more about our Academic Medical Centre and efforts in Academic Medicine
Find out more about what JOAM do to support AM initiatives.
Academic Medicine Executive Committee (AM EXCO) and ACP Organisation Charts
Guidelines, forms, and templates for Academic Medicine.
Gynaecomastia is a condition where this is enlargement of male breast tissue with or without the presence of excess fat. This can cause significant shame and embarrassment to the affected person. There is usually involvement of both breasts, but sometimes there can be asymmetry whereby once breast is much larger than the other. If due to enlargement of the breast gland, the breast size generally will not decrease despite weight loss and exercise.
Gynaecomastia may be related to puberty, hormonal imbalances, excessive weight gain and certain medications including anabolic steroids. However, it can also develop without an obvious identifiable cause. Rarely, breast enlargement may be due to breast cancer, which should be suspected if the enlarged breast is hard, immobile and there is nipple discharge, skin changes or lumps in the armpit. All men with enlarged breasts should therefore undergo a proper medical check-up to exclude the more worrying causes of gynaecomastia.
Assuming that no abnormalities are found after evaluation by a specialist, gynaecomastia is a condition easily corrected with surgery.
Male breast reduction usually involves liposuction of the excess fat and surgical removal of the breast gland through a small incision at the edge of the areola (the pigmented area surrounding the nipple). These scars usually heal well in an inconspicuous manner. However, if the breasts are very large, excess skin may need to be removed using larger, more visible incisions. Your plastic surgeon will determine the appropriate surgical technique for you depending on degree of breast enlargement, amount of breast sagging, and quality of your breast skin.
Chest before Gynaecomastia surgery (Male breast reductions)
Limited incision beneath the nipple is suitable for mild to moderate breast enlargement.
Incisions around the nipple and at the lower border of the breast are required for moderate to severe breast enlargement.
Chest after Gynaecomastia surgery (Male breast reductions)
Dressings and/or bandages will be applied over the incisions. Small tubes (drains) may be placed to remove the excess blood and fluid for several days. A tight compression garment will be fitted post-operatively to reduce the swelling and control bruising. This will need to be worn continuously for several weeks until your surgeon advises otherwise.
It will take several weeks to months for the breast swelling to settle. The final results can generally be seen 6 months after surgery. Your breasts will maintain their contour for years providing you do not have significant weight gain afterwards.
In general, Gynaecomastia surgery is very safe and most patients has smooth recoveries. However, complications can occur infrequently despite the greatest attention to safety. Some problems include:
Repeat surgery may be necessary to correct some of the above problems.
The subject of risks and potential complications of Gynaecomastia surgery is best discussed on a personal basis between you and your plastic surgeon.