Also known as male breast reduction
The goal of gynecomastia treatment is to reduce breast size in men who are embarrassed by overly large breasts. Reduction methods include liposuction, cutting out excess glandular tissue or using a combination of liposuction and excision. If you are treated by a board-certified plastic surgeon, gynecomastia can be effectively and safely improved or corrected completely.
These are the top three pros and cons to weigh when considering gynecomastia treatment. If you want to focus on what is unique to you, please consult with your aesthetic plastic surgeon.
Are you a good candidate for gynecomastia treatment?
Gynecomastia is usually not caused by any serious medical problems; in fact, its cause is rarely identified. However, because there are some medical problems that do cause gynecomastia, your first step is to see your family doctor to rule this out.
The following are some common reasons why you may want to consider gynecomastia treatment:
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
The goal of gynecomastia surgery is to restore a normal male breast contour and to correct deformities of the breast, nipple or areola. Surgical options include liposuction, excision (surgical removal of tissue) or a combination of both approaches. Glandular breast tissue is denser than fatty tissue and is not appropriate for liposuction.
Enlarged breasts may be excess fatty tissue (pseudogynecomastia) rather than breast tissue and, in this case, can often be improved with diet and exercise alone. To treat the puffy nipples associated with gynecomastia, you will probably need liposuction combined with chest reduction using glandular excision. If you’re considering gynecomastia surgery, a board-certified plastic surgeon will determine the best course of treatment based on your physical presentation, i.e., your options will be determined by your condition (see How is a gynecomastia treatment procedure performed?).
Scars resulting from gynecomastia surgery vary, depending on the amount of breast tissue you have and the elasticity of your skin. Even those who have larger breasts and tend to get larger scars are usually quite satisfied with the results.
It's important to choose your surgeon based on:
Members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are experienced and qualified to perform your aesthetic procedure. Learn how to select a surgeon.
After finding a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area who is experienced in performing gynecomastia surgery, you will need to make an office appointment to set up your consultation. Generally, because of the in-depth nature of the consultation, there is a cost associated with the initial visit.
During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss cosmetic goals. Your surgeon will evaluate you as a candidate for gynecomastia surgery and clarify what a gynecomastia procedure can do for you. Understanding your goals and medical condition, both alternative and additional treatment may be considered (see related procedures).
You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your complete medical history. This will include information about:
Your surgeon may also:
Based on your goals, physical characteristics and the surgeon’s training and experience, your surgeon will share recommendations and information with you, including:
For a general list of questions to ask your surgeon about his or her background, to find out about plastic surgery safety and to plan your procedure, visit the Planning Toolkit.
We developed these questions to help you:
It is important for you to take an active role in your surgery, so please use this list of questions as a starting point for your initial consultation:
Your surgeon will provide thorough preoperative instructions, answer any questions you may have, take a detailed medical history and perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for surgery.
If you are older than 45 years, or have heart disease, you should have a preoperative EKG. Get medical clearance from your internist or specialist, especially if you have heart disease, low blood count, or any other medical condition. You cannot have liposuction if you are anemic. If your surgeon recommends weight benchmarks or lifestyle changes, do your best to achieve them to ensure the best results. Regardless of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery and critical outcomes.
In advance of your surgery, your surgeon will probably ask you to:
What can I expect on the day of gynecomastia surgery?
Your gynecomastia surgery may be performed in an accredited hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility or office-based surgical suite. Most gynecomastia procedures take at least one to two hours to complete but may take longer.
You will probably be permitted to go home after a short observation period unless you and your plastic surgeon have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery.
Your surgeon will discuss how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. After surgery, you and your caregiver will receive detailed instructions about your postoperative care, including information about:
See options for short-term recovery locations in Aftercare and Recovery (Planning Toolkit).
Immediately after your gynecomastia surgery
When the anesthesia wears off, you may have some pain. If the pain is extreme or long-lasting, contact your physician. You will also have some redness and swelling after the surgery. Contact your surgeon to find out if your pain, redness and swelling is normal or a sign of a problem.
Recovery time frame
Your recovery time after surgery for gynecomastia depends on how severe your condition is and what was performed for you. The average patient, treated with a combination of liposuction and breast gland tissue excision, will likely be back to work after a week. Gynecomastia surgery usually has a relatively gentle recovery period.
It is vitally important that you follow all patient care instructions provided by your surgeon. This will include information about wearing compression garments, care of your drains, taking an antibiotic if prescribed and the level and type of activity that is safe. Your surgeon will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
Gynecomastia surgical results are permanent, assuming your weight is stable. If your condition arose from the use of medication or anabolic steroids, further use could lead to recurrence.
Maintain a relationship with your aesthetic plastic surgeon
For safety, as well as the most beautiful and healthy outcome, it’s important to return to your plastic surgeon's office for follow-up evaluation at prescribed times and whenever you notice any changes. Do not hesitate to contact your surgeon when you have any questions or concerns.
The cost of gynecomastia surgery varies from doctor to doctor and from one geographic area to another.
See the national average for physician fees per procedure.
These numbers only reflect the physician/surgeon fees last year and do not include fees for the surgical facility, anesthesia, medical tests, prescriptions, surgical garments or other miscellaneous costs related to surgery.
The biggest factors influencing surgical cost are the severity of your condition and the techniques your surgeon uses. In some instances insurance covers this surgery. When it is covered, requirements to get coverage are stringent. Many surgeons offer patient financing plans to make the procedure more affordable.
Choose your surgeon based on quality, training and experience—not cost.
See why ASAPS members are widely recognized for upholding the highest standards in the area of aesthetic plastic surgery by viewing their basic credentials, training and certifications.
Fortunately, significant complications from gynecomastia are infrequent. Your specific risks for gynecomastia will be discussed during your consultation.
All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:
Other risks specific to gynecomastia surgery are outlined below:
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your board-certified plastic surgeon, both before and after your gynecomastia surgery.