Male Breast Reduction

Over-development of male breasts, known as gynecomastia, affects 40 to 60 percent of men.  While it may be caused by hormonal imbalance or side effects of medications, in most cases no cause is ever discovered.

Men with large breasts are often physically and emotionally uncomfortable.  Some restrict themselves from certain activities because they feel self-conscious. Male breast reduction is a great procedure to help improve breast shape, body image, and self-confidence.

Candidates for Male Breast Reduction

The best candidates for male breast reduction surgery have firm, elastic skin and moderate amounts of breast tissue.  The surgical results tend to be better in men who have a body mass index under 30.  Men with larger, droopy breasts may require removal of some skin.

Male Breast Reduction Procedure

Dr. Kunkel performs gynecomastia surgery in an outpatient surgery facility.   The patient is put to sleep under the guidance of an anesthesiologist.  The surgery typically takes one to three hours to complete.  It is an outpatient operation; the man goes home the same day.

Different options exist for removing the extra breast tissue.  Liposuction is included in all cases.  Small incisions are made at the edge of the areola (the colored area around the nipple) and toward the side of the breast.  Fatty tissue is suctioned out through those small incisions.  In most cases there is also some firmer glandular tissue that liposuction cannot remove.  An additional incision is required to remove this tissue.  This incision is usually limited to the bottom or the top of the areola.

In situations where the breasts are droopy, excess skin may have to be removed as well.  This may result in additional scars.  Sometimes these are located in the crease below the breast.  In less common situations the patient may also require incisions and scars that go down the central lower part of the breasts.

The incisions are closed with dissolving sutures and covered with a dressing.

Recovery after Male Breast Reduction Surgery

Patients experience some bruising, swelling, and discomfort in the first few days after surgery. To help reduce swelling, an elastic compression garment should be worn for about two weeks. Swelling and skin discoloration subside over several weeks.

Most patients are able to return to work in about one week. Dr. Kunkel suggests patients refrain from strenuous lifting and working out for six weeks.

Risks and Complications of Male Breast Reduction

As with all surgical procedures, there are some risks of male breast reduction surgery.  Some of the risks include:

  • Skin injury
  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Excessive fluid accumulation (seroma)
  • Loss of nipple sensation
  • Discoloration
  • Scarring
  • Asymmetrical breasts or nipples


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