Male Breast Reduction
Male breast enlargement, referred to as gynecomastia, is a very common problem for men of all ages. Whether due to age, weight gain or loss, or hormonal changes, enlarged breasts in men can be effectively treated.
Why do men’s breast become too large?
Men’s breasts, like women’s breasts, are composed of fat and breast glandular tissue. Breast enlargement occurs in men when either or both of those tissues are excessive.
Weight gain can easily produce large breasts by increasing the size of the fat cells present in the breast tissue. Hormonal changes that occur during puberty, with age, or with use of hormones for medical conditions or bodybuilding, impact both the breast fat and the glandular tissue in the breasts.
How is male breast reduction treated?
If the enlargement is due to weight gain, weight loss is the simplest approach. However, even with weight loss, many men will note that the breasts remain too large. Hormonal imbalance may be treated by reducing or stopping hormone medication or treating medical conditions which cause the body to produce excessive hormones. For most men, the best approach is surgical. Reducing the tissues that are excessive.
Liposuction is the most common approach and can remove the excess fat very effectively. Through tiny incisions that are barely detectable, the fat is removed by placing a thin blunt tube into the breast tissue and suctioning the fat away. In most cases, the skin will contract to the smaller breast size and the problem will be solved. Wearing a compressive vest for a week or two can reduce swelling and bruising and accelerate the time to complete healing.
Liposuction removes the fat but does not remove the breast glandular tissue. If the tissue is not too excessive, the glandular tissue can be broken up with the liposuction instrument and then removed through the tiny incisions.
If the glandular tissue is of a larger volume or very firm, surgical removal may be necessary. This is performed through an incision around the areola and the glandular tissue is removed.
In cases where the skin is excessive, skin removal is necessary to obtain the best contour. The skin removal may require removing and replacing the nipple and areola as a free graft.
What will it look like?
Depending on what is done, the scarring may be virtually invisible with excellent contour. If skin removal is necessary, you should anticipate some scarring. The final result can best be anticipated after a consultation including an examination.
Will the breast tissue come back?
Unless you have excessive weight gain, the breast reduction tends to be quite permanent.
What is the recovery like?
For the majority of men who are treated with liposuction, the recovery is generally quite easy. The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. Going home with a compressive vest, and limiting your activity for a week following the surgery, generally allows men to return to work in 2-3 days. Full unrestricted activity can be resumed 6 weeks following surgery, but driving is permitted at 2-3 days post surgery and light gym work at 2 weeks.
What about breast cancer?
Breast cancer in men, while much less common than in women, is not rare. If both breasts are symmetrically enlarged, cancer is probably not an issue. If only one side is enlarged, and the enlargement is relatively recent, any breast tissue removed should be sent for examination to rule out breast cancer.
Will insurance cover breast reduction for men?
Generally, it is difficult to obtain insurance coverage for this procedure. In younger men who develop substantial breast enlargement at puberty insurance coverage may be available. We can work with you to determine insurance benefits.
As a man, should I have breast reduction surgery?
That’s a question only you can answer. As a first step, a consultation will help you determine the approach, recovery time, risks, and benefits.
To learn more about what you can expect during a Male Breast Reduction, or to schedule your consultation with Dr. Barnett at either his San Francisco or Walnut Creek office, please complete the form on this page or call 415-362-1221