Male Breast Reduction (Surgery for Gynecomastia)

Male Breast Reduction (Surgery for Gynecomastia)

Despite the fact that enlarged breasts in men, also known as gynecomastia, is a relatively common occurrence, their presence tends to be associated with significant mental distress, embarrassment, low self-esteem, depression and insecurity. The impact on daily activities, social interactions and dating can be dramatic particularly in boys and younger men. Otherwise inconsequential acts such as removing one’s T shirt at a beach, pool or to play sports can be extremely terrifying. Many men will wear very baggy clothes or multiple layers even in hot weather in order to camouflage their “deformity”.

Causes of Gynecomastia

The most common etiology of this condition relates to the effects of elevated hormonal levels occurring during puberty. A majority of these enlargements do spontaneously resolve following puberty. There are many other causes of gynecomastia including:

  • Obesity
  • Steroid abuse
  • Medication side effects
  • Illicit drugs such as marijuana
  • Hormonal imbalances such as caused by tumors
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Genetic disorders
  • Aging

Examples of Gynecomastia

The extent of the enlargements can range from being imperceptible to all but the male involved to massive, overly projecting, drooping double D or larger breasts.

Mild Gynecomastia in a 16 year old male with enlargement localized to the areola area.

Moderate Gynecomastia in a 16 year old male

Severe Gynecomastia in a 14 year old male

Does Health Insurance Cover the Treatment of Gynecomastia?

Considering it to be an aesthetic issue, insurance companies do not provide coverage for the surgical treatment of gynecomastia. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Steven H. Turkeltaub does offer special and affordable package pricing in conjunction with the outpatient center and the anesthesiologist that can help make your surgical treatment a reality.

Surgical Techniques for Male Breast Reduction

Men with gynecomastia have variable and increased amounts of fat and glandular tissue. Those who are obese tend to have a greater proportion of fat and will see benefits from weight loss though it usually doesn’t fully eradicate the problem. With extreme enlargements, there can also be a relative excess of skin, possibly even with drooping.

The definitive treatment for gynecomastia is surgery aimed at removing the extra tissue and recontouring the breasts. Fortunately, the results can be quite successful and dramatic. The most common approach is to use Ultrasonic assisted liposuction with or without direct excision of the enlarged breast tissue. One or two small incisions per side, usually less than 3/8″, may be the only incisions needed. They can be placed along the lower part of the nipple, in the crease at the bottom of the breast or even in the armpit. If direct excision of breast tissue is warranted, then an incision involving the lower half of the areola is typically used.

In the relatively rare situations where the breasts are massively enlarged, droopy and there is an abundance of excess skin with poor elasticity, then a much more extensive procedure with lengthy incisions needs to be considered in order to obtain appropriate correction.

Your Surgery for Treatment of Gynecomastia

The surgery to reduce the size of your breasts is done under general anesthesia as an outpatient and typically takes under two hours. Many men frequently combine this with other cosmetic procedures, particularly liposuction of their love handles and abdomen.

Recovery from Surgery for Gynecomastia

A compressive dressing will be place at the time of your surgery which will help to minimize bruising, discomfort and swelling. After two to three days, it is replaced in the office with a snug fitting elastic sports shirt like Under Armor® which is worn most of the time for one or more weeks.

Discomfort for most men is fairly mild and usually well controlled with oral pain medication. Many patients can return to work or school or work within a few days and resume sports and working out at around 2 ½ weeks. It may take from six months to a year for all the swelling to maximally resolve.

Male Breast Reduction Before-and-After Photos

The psychological and physical benefits that occur as a result of undergoing surgery to correct male breast enlargement can be quite profound and rewarding.

Click here for our full gallery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it rare for a man to have enlarged breasts?

A: It is actually fairly common for men to have enlarged breasts. The underlying cause most of the time is related to the persistence of enlarged tissues that develop during puberty. There are many other causal factors as well such as obesity, anabolic steroids, many prescription medications and marijuana.

Q: Where are the incisions most commonly placed for the surgery? Are they conspicuous?

A: Dr. Turkeltaub most commonly uses incisions placed either along the lower part of the nipple or in the crease at the lower part of the breast. Most all of the time, these heal well and can be fairly inconspicuous.

Q: What happens to the extra skin?

A: If you have good skin tone (elasticity), most of the time it will contract and contour to the underlying structures. If you have massively enlarged breasts with or without saggy skin, excision of the excess skin may be warranted and would be discussed prior to your procedure.

Q: How soon after surgery can I return to work?

A: If you have a relatively sedentary job, you may be able to return to work within a few days. For jobs that are physically strenuous and demanding, Dr. Turkeltaub recommends waiting approximately two weeks though you may be able to do light and modified work sooner.

Additional Information About Male Breast Reduction (Gynecomastia) from Dr. Turkeltaub

Read more about male breast reduction (gynecomastia) on Dr. Turkeltaub’s breast surgery blog.

Learn More About Gynecomastia Treatment

If you would like to learn more about gynecomastia treatment or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Turkeltaub, you can contact us at the Arizona Center for Breast Surgery.

Dr. Turkeltaub’s offices in Scottsdale and Glendale are conveniently located near the following: