Solutions to Man Boobs: Gynaecomastia, Liposuction or Both?

Surgical Treatment Options for Gynaecomastia

plastic surgery for male breasts

Overdeveloped breast tissues are common occurrences in men. Enlarged breasts in men are normally due to excess fat deposition in and around your chest area or due to abnormal increase in glandular tissues of the breast – commonly referred to as man boobs. It often leads to reduced self-confidence in men. With the advancements in cosmetic surgical techniques, more and more men are resorting to surgery to improve the appearance of their chests. This condition is called gynaecomastia.

What causes male boobs to enlarge?

Enlargement of male breast (gynaecomastia) may occur due to an increase in breast tissues caused by hormonal imbalances in your body. Excess deposition of fat in and around the chest area can also look like a female breast (a condition called pseudo-gynecomastia/ moobs), while excess fat accumulation around the chest can be caused by unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle. True gynecomastia is caused as a result of an imbalance in the levels of testosterone and estrogen hormones in men.

Testosterone regulates male traits, such as muscle mass and body hair, while estrogen controls female traits including breast growth. Even though estrogen can be associated as a strictly feminine hormone, men can also produce in small amounts. In cases when there’s a surplus of estrogen or extremely scarce testosterone present, men may develop an excess of breast tissue.

Several other issues can also cause the hormone disproportion resulting in gynaecomastia, which includes:

  • Natural changes during puberty.
  • Aging.
  • Certain prescribed medications or excessive use of alcohol and other substances.
  • Sometimes due to a medical condition such as hyperthyroidism- a condition of the thyroid gland where it produces an excess amount of thyroxine hormone.

If excess fat deposition in and around the breast has resulted in an enlarged breast, you may benefit from breast liposuction. It is a minimally invasive method of suctioning out excess pockets of fat from your breasts. It will help you achieve a leaner and toned chest. Whereas, if a hormonal imbalance has resulted in excess growth of breast tissues leading to enlarged male breasts, gynaecomastia surgery might be the surgery for you.

You might require combining the two techniques if breast enlargement has occurred as a result of an overgrowth of both glandular tissues and the fat cells.

If there is a large amount of loose skin in the breast or the breast are very large, then occasionally a formal breast reduction like the procedure done for women with large breasts may need to be performed. This will result in significant scarring which is often not well accepted in male patients.

When to consider treating enlarged male breasts?

  • If you want an aesthetic proportion for your body
  • You have issues related to self-image and your confidence is hit because of the feminine appearance of your chest.
  • You want to reduce social anxiety caused by man boobs, as these are usually difficult to hide.
  • If having man boobs is keeping you from participating in sports, exercising at the gym and going for a swim.

What is gynaecomastia surgery?

what to expect before and after man boob surgery

Gynaecomastia surgery (subcutaneous mastectomy) or excision surgery is indicated if the growth of excess glandular component or the presence of excess skin around the chest has caused your chests to enlarge giving it a feminine breast-like appearance. It involves removing excess glandular tissues and excess skin around the breast through an incision around the nipple-areola complex (peri-areolar incision). After removing excess skin, the nipple, areola complex may be repositioned giving your chest a chiselled manly look. Excision surgery allows the surgeon to remove excess glandular tissues and/or excess skin that liposuction alone would not be able to treat sufficiently.

Recovery after gynaecomastia excision surgery

Immediately after the breast reduction operation, you may expect:

  • A drainage tube in the wound area to aid in limiting fluid build-up, bruising and soreness.
  • Some men undergo a loss of sensation in the incised areas after a male breast reduction, which is almost always short-lived. In such cases, the sensation of such places should gradually recover over the months following your procedure.
  • Tenderness and swelling for a few weeks.
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Dressings or bandages.

You will be prescribed pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics as needed to help you manage these common conditions like soreness, bruising, pain, and discomfort.

Severe pain, bleeding, or any unusual symptoms should be reported to your surgeon immediately.

Follow the advice of your surgeon, but some general self-care recommendations after the breast reduction surgery include:

  • Abstain from heavy weightlifting and physical workout for a month.
  • Wear an elastic pressure garment around the chest for up to four weeks following the surgery to obtain the best results and minimize scarring. This elastic garment also will enhance your comfort and help your chest heal optimally.

As every patient’s healing process is unique, an exact time frame to when complete rehabilitation can occur cannot be pinpointed. But in most excision cases, two to four weeks is sufficient to heal to resume routine activities. Complete recovery from an excision surgery may take a few more weeks.

Some patients with desk jobs feel fit to return to their work just a few days after a male breast reduction.

Risks of gynaecomastia surgery

  • Anesthetic complications
  • Excess bleeding and infection from the incision site
  • Temporary or permanent loss in nipple and breast sensation
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Death of nipple tissue
  • Itchy scars
  • Need for repeat surgery to treat complications or in cases with suboptimal results

What is liposuction of the breast?

can i use liposuction to get rid of man boobs

Liposuction is a cosmetic surgical procedure to remove excess deposition of fat tissues that do not go away even after applying conventional methods of weight loss like diet control and exercising. It involves infiltrating fluids into the breast tissue and inserting a thin cannula through two small incisions. Back and forth movement of the cannula through these incisions dislodges the fat cells, which are then suctioned out. If the deposition of excess fat has resulted in a feminine appearance of the chest, liposuction is usually an ideal method of improving the appearance of the chest. Liposuction is an excellent treatment to remove fat – It will not, however, remove glandular breast tissue and in this case, a subcutaneous mastectomy is the best treatment. Most commonly a mix of liposuction combined with subcutaneous mastectomy will give the best result.

Recovery after breast liposuction

Recovery from liposuction can be expected to take only a few days. However, you may feel sore for a few days after the procedure, but the pain is usually minimal.

As every patient’s healing process is unique, some patients depending on the type of their work can return to their work just a few days after a male breast reduction through liposuction while for some it may take more time. The recovery following liposuction is quicker than a subcutaneous mastectomy.

During your rehabilitation period:

  • Bandages and compression garments will be applied over your incision’s sites and surrounding areas. These compression garments must be worn for up to six weeks following the surgery.
  • Temporary surgical drains may be placed.
  • The dressings must remain in place for one week.
  • Tenderness, bruising, and swelling commonly occur after the surgery.
  • Infections don’t usually occur following breast reduction through liposuction, but even in cases it does occur, antibiotics are the treatment of choice.

Pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics as needed to help you manage these common conditions will be prescribed to you by Dr Doyle.  Sutures are dissolvable and follow up appointments are usually 10 days then 3 and 6 weeks following the procedure.

Risks of Liposuction

Male breast reduction with liposuction carries significantly lesser risks compared to gynaecomastia excision surgeries. Potential risks include:

  • Excess skin may be left behind the area where liposuction is performed.
  • Fat necrosis.
  • Breast asymmetry.
  • Seroma formation.
  • Complications related to anesthesia and blood clots.

Sometimes, combining both gynaecomastia surgery and liposuction might be required for the best aesthetic results, in cases where chest enlargement is caused by an overgrowth of both fat and glandular components.

Things to consider before undergoing male breast reduction surgery

Whether you undergo gynaecomastia surgery or liposuction you will require some incisions. While the incisions of liposuction are small and the incisions of excision surgeries are hidden in natural contours of your body or in the nipple-areola complex, you will still be left with some form of scarring after the procedure. Scarring is an unavoidable part of male breast surgeries.

If the growth of excess glandular tissues of the breast has occurred as a result of certain prescription medications or drugs, you should avoid using these substances to maintain the results of the procedure.

Diet control and exercising help retain results following liposuction to remove excess pockets of fat from your breasts.

You should avoid smoking before and after any breast reduction procedure. Nicotine present in smoke has been associated with fat necrosis in liposuction. It also delays wound healing and results in a less than aesthetic appearance of the scars following excision surgery.

Medical references:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Does liposuction work for an enlarged male chest?

Yes, liposuction of the breasts works for enlarged male chests if it is caused as a result of excess fat deposition in and around the male chest. As liposuction is a cosmetic surgical procedure to remove excess deposits of fat tissues that persist even after applying conventional methods of weight loss like diet control and exercising. It involves infiltrating fluids into the breast tissue and inserting a thin cannula through multiple small incisions, through these incisions the persistent fat can be removed from the chest. This helps restore the normal contour to the male chest. In cases where male chest enlargement is caused due to excess glandular tissues or skin, excision surgeries are necessary.

What is the best treatment for gynaecomastia?

If gynaecomastia is affecting you because of your obesity, this condition can be easily treated by following a healthy diet and supplementing it with a good exercise routine.

Where gynaecomastia has occurred due to genetics or hormonal anomalies, the best treatment would be a subcutaneous mastectomy.

Is it worth getting gynaecomastia surgery?

It is worth getting a gynaecomastia surgery if:

  • You want an aesthetic proportion for your body
  • You have issues related to self-image and your confidence is hit because of the feminine appearance of your chest.
  • You want to reduce social anxiety caused by man boobs, as these are usually difficult to hide.
  • If having man boobs is keeping you from participating in sports, exercising at the gym, and going for a swim.

Is gynaecomastia surgery painful?

As the procedure is done under general Anaesthesia the procedure itself won’t be painful at all. However, after surgery, there may be some pain that may last up to a few weeks, but the pain is usually minimal. Any discomfort that is experienced following the surgery is managed with prescribed pain medication or over-the-counter pain medication.

Can male breasts be reduced without surgery?

Only in cases where breast in male occur due to obesity, it is possible to reduce or even eliminate man boobs without surgery by adhering to a healthy diet and a good exercise routine. But in cases where male breasts arise due to hormonal imbalances or genetics, reduction in breast size is possible only through surgery or liposuction.

In case breast enlargement has occurred due to overgrowth of both glandular tissues and the fat cells a combination of gynaecomastia surgery and liposuction will be necessary.

How much does it cost to get moobs removed?

The expense for a male breast reduction surgery will differ from patient to patient because the procedures are different depending on whether subcutaneous mastectomy, liposuction or both are required.

You can access our list of patient resources to find about more about the cost of male breast reduction surgery:

Are gynaecomastia surgery results permanent?

The results post-operatively are usually permanent in most cases but there could be a need for repeat surgery to treat complications or in cases with suboptimal results. It is essential to adhere to a healthy lifestyle post-surgery. Significant weight gain, steroid use, or certain medical situations can result in a recurrence of gynaecomastia. Additionally, drugs that impact testosterone levels could also influence the results of gynaecomastia surgery.

Book a Consultation

To find out more, book a detailed consultation with Specialist Plastic Surgeon, Dr Mark Doyle.

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About Dr Mark Doyle FRACS (Plast) – Queensland Plastic Surgeon

Servicing patients in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and New South Wales NSW – Northern Rivers, Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and more.

Dr Mark Doyle is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with over thirty years of experience performing BreastBodyFace and Nose surgery. As a highly esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr Mark is driven by an intense passion for helping patients achieve a happier, more beautiful self through advanced cosmetic surgery procedures.

He maintains a strong commitment to achieving the best possible results for all his breast, body, face and nose patients, both men and women.

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*DISCLAIMER: All information on Gold Coast Plastic Surgery website is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Results can vary significantly and depend on individual patient circumstances. All images on this website, unless specified as real patient images, are stock images used for illustrative purposes only. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your surgeon. Book a consult for details regarding your cosmetic surgery procedure.