Many men suffer from “man boobs” or “moobs”. Although it’s not usually medically serious, it can have a real impact on your life. Despite it being a relatively common issue, it can still have a massive effect on your self-esteem and confidence. From going shopping for clothes to taking your shirt off for a swim, it can negatively affect how you feel. If you’re considering male chest reduction, here’s a quick guide to answer your questions.
What is Gynaecomastia?
Male breast reduction is a surgical procedure to treat gynaecomastia. Gynaecomastia is a condition in men where there is an increase in breast gland tissue. It affects 50 to 65% of boys and men worldwide. This results in more prominent breasts. Although gynaecomastia can go away on its own, it doesn’t respond to exercise and diet the same way fat does. For more information, we’ve pulled together a quick guide to gynaecomastia.
Gynaecomastia is triggered by an imbalance of the hormones testosterone and estrogen. The imbalance of hormones can be caused by a number of things, including:
- Natural hormone changes – natural changes in hormones in infants, puberty, and adults can cause a hormonal imbalance that triggers the condition.
- Medication – there are several conditions that can cause gynaecomastia including ADHD medications and anti-anxiety medications.
- Recreational drugs and alcohol
- Health conditions – certain conditions can affect the balance of hormones that can trigger the condition, such as tumours and hypothyroidism.
Many people who have gynaecomastia don’t have any symptoms. Signs and symptoms of gynaecomastia, including:
- Breast tenderness
- Swollen breast tissue
- Nipple sensitivity
If you notice these symptoms or have any concerns at all, it’s important that you speak with your doctor.
Can You Prevent Gynaecomastia?
When talking about gynaecomastia, it’s normal to wonder if there’s any way you can prevent it naturally? The problem is that you can’t prevent natural hormone changes. If you can switch medication, lose weight, or reduce alcohol intake, it may help to reduce the triggers of hormonal imbalance.
While this may prevent further growth, if the problem has persisted for a while, it won’t get rid of the breast tissue you have. Each case can be different, so it’s important that you speak with your doctor and plastic surgeon to determine the best approach.
How to Get Rid of Gynaecomastia
Non-surgical treatments may be helpful for gynaecomastia, but often surgery is the way to treat it permanently. There are some non-surgical approaches that may help such as:
- Diet and exercise – a healthy weight, diet, and regular exercise may help to balance hormones and burn fat.
- Stopping certain drugs – some drugs and steroid use can increase the chances of developing gynaecomastia.
- Cut down on alcohol – alcohol intake may increase the likelihood of developing male breast enlargement.
- Hormonal treatment – if a hormonal imbalance causes gynaecomastia, then hormone-balancing treatments may improve the look of the breast.
- Lose weight – may benefit someone who is overweight, but it won’t reduce excess breast tissue fully.
For some patients, a non-surgical approach may help to improve the appearance of the breast. However, if you’re suffering from moderate to severe gynaecomastia symptoms, a surgical approach may be necessary.
Although lifestyle changes like weight loss may help you to lose weight, they won’t improve gynaecomastia fully as the condition doesn’t respond to weight loss in the same way.
What is Male Breast Reduction Surgery?
Male chest reduction surgery can treat gynaecomastia and restore a more masculine and defined chest. In general, the procedure takes between 1-2 hours to complete. During the surgery, the plastic surgeon will remove excess fatty tissue. Your nipple may be repositioned if necessary.
Your surgeon will make an incision, usually around the nipple. They will then remove excess fatty tissue with either a scalpel or using liposuction. The surgeon may use one or a combination of techniques depending on the individual case.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From Male Chest Reduction Surgery?
You will wake up with bandages after your surgery and feel some discomfort and mild pain in the first 3-5 days. Your doctor will discuss pain relief with you. If your job doesn’t involve heavy lifting, you can usually return to work in a week or two. It still might twinge a little. At six weeks, you can resume regular exercise and begin to see the results.
Like all surgeries, there are risks that you will need to discuss with your plastic surgeon. Risks include bruising, swelling, scarring, and never damage. Some change in sensation on the chest can occur, but this usually clears up in 6-12 weeks. After your surgery, bruising may take a couple of weeks to ease up. It can take up to 6 months to see the full results.
To give you a better idea of what to expect, here’s a breakdown of male breast reduction surgery recovery week by week:
- 1 week – in the first few days, you will have some discomfort. You should get moving as soon as you can to reduce the risk of post-op complications. You will be wearing your compression garment day and night for the first 3-4 weeks.
- 2 weeks – You can gradually increase activity. There will still be some mild pulling and any non-dissolvable stitches will be removed. You should be able to return to work as long as it’s not too physical.
- 4 weeks – any bruising and swelling will continue to subside. At this point, you should be able to return to work and normal activities.
- 6 weeks – you can begin to exercise again but take it easy. You should see the results as the swelling will have eased up. Avoid exposing the area to the sun for at least 6 months.
Although everyone heals at a different rate, this gives you a good idea as to what to expect after your procedure. Your plastic surgeon will give a list of post-operative instructions to follow after your surgery. It’s important that you stick to the list for the best results possible.
It can be tempting to jump back into your normal exercise routine after your surgery. But remember that your body is healing and your chest will be weaker than normal. Take it easy and increase weight gradually as you get back to your exercise regime.
Male Breast Reduction Surgery Scars
In most cases, you can expect a scar around the nipple. Like any scars, gynaecomastia scars are permanent but your surgeon will do everything in their power to conceal them in the natural creases of the body.
Depending on the severity of the condition, the scarring can differ. For example, if you only need liposuction to remove the excess fatty tissue, this requires small incisions. These types of incisions are hardly noticeable after healing. However, if you need a more intensive approach, the scarring could be larger.
Following your procedure, you will have instructions to follow that are specific to scar healing. While it’s impossible to avoid scarring altogether when making incisions, there are several ways you can work to reduce the appearance of scarring throughout the healing process, such as:
- Avoid direct sunlight and UV exposure on the scar
- Keep wounds clean
- Silicone sheets to encourage good healing
How Long Do You Wear Your Compression Garment After Gynaecomastia Surgery?
Whether you’re getting male breast reduction surgery or male liposuction, your doctor will talk to you about compression garments. These post-operative garments are designed to fit tightly on your skin for several reasons, including:
- Protect the incision site
- Reduce swelling and fluid build-up
- Optimise recovery
- Reduce pain
- Improve circulation
Most patients will need to wear the compression garment for the first 3-4 weeks day and night. You only take your post-surgical vest off to shower. Try to wear your compression garment as much as possible for the first few weeks as this is when you get the most benefit.
What are the Benefits of Male Chest Reduction Surgery?
Male chest reduction surgery can help you achieve a flatter, firmer, and more masculine chest. One of the main benefits is that it can treat gynaecomastia. The procedure can help increase confidence and self-esteem, especially if you’re self-conscious about the way your chest looks. It means that you can fit in more clothes and take your top off without hesitating. The surgery creates a more balanced look that’s in proportion with your body.
The goal of male chest reduction surgery is to restore a natural-looking and firm chest. A large percentage of men experience breast tissue enlargement, and the condition can have a big impact on their confidence and self-esteem. If you’re unhappy with your chest size, you may be just the right candidate for the surgery for men.
Male Breast Reduction Surgery UK Before and After with Dr Riaz Agha, the Harley Clinic
Gynaecomastia Surgery at Our Harley Street Plastic Surgery Clinic
If you’re bothered by your chest and think that gynaecomastia surgery may be right for you, contact the team at the Harley Clinic and book a consultation today.