Gynaecomastia comes from the Greek meaning ‘female-like-breasts’. This medical condition occurs when firm breast tissue forms in males. It is often referred to as ‘man boobs’ or ‘moobs’. It is important to distinguish between real gynaecomastia and pseudo- or false- gynaecomastia. In real gynaecomastia the enlarged male breast actually contains breast tissue. This is unaltered by vigorous exercise or weight loss, and it cannot be reduced other than by surgery.
In pseudo- or false- gynaecomastia on the other hand, the enlarged male breast contains no breast tissue but is simply a fatty enlargement, which often arises in very overweight or obese men and does reduce when there is an overall weight loss. Male breast reduction surgery is usually performed under local anaesthetic combined with a sedative to make you drowsy so that you remain awake but feel very little discomfort during the operation. Some people may be up and about in a day or two after the operation, but you shouldn’t plan on returning to (non-strenuous work) for 3 to 7 days.
Your first consultation with a surgeon should clearly set out your expectations and whether this surgery can achieve the results that you want.
Careful and detailed discussions and exchange of information regarding your medical history are very important at this stage. You should have already discussed this with your G.P. to make sure that there is no possible cause of your Gynaecomastia, which could be treated before surgery.
The surgeon will examine your chest to discover the exact surgical procedure that may be best for you.
The surgeon should discuss where he or she is likely to make the incisions in your chest, and how the excess tissue will be removed. They will also check to make sure that there are no other medical reasons why you shouldn’t undertake this procedure. You would normally also be asked to sign a consent form which means that you have understood the potential benefits and risks associated with breast reduction surgery.
Photographs may also be taken by the practitioner for a “before and after” comparison at a later date.
The surgeon may wish to write to your GP giving details of the operation so that if there are any problems associated with surgery in the short- or long-term, the GP is aware of the procedure and can help with your recovery.
Male breast reduction surgery is usually performed under local anaesthetic combined with a sedative to make you drowsy so that you remain awake but feel very little discomfort during the operation.
Depending on your health and the extent of the procedure, your surgeon may advise having the operation under a general anaesthetic.
Remember that any general anaesthetic has its own small risks attached to it and your surgeon should discuss them with you before any decisions about the operation are made.
The procedure is usually performed in an outpatient surgical centre, either independently operated by your surgeon, or as part of a hospital. The procedure usually takes about 1½ – 2 hours but, depending on the extent of the procedure, it could take longer.
The technique used is dictated by the amount of excess skin present in the enlarged breast. Sometimes, however, the techniques are combined. These techniques are described below.
Liposuction is the preferred treatment when there is not much excess skin and where fatty tissue is the main cause of enlargement.
For liposuction procedures, several quarter-inch cuts are made in either the armpit or areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipples). Fluid is then injected to begin the process of tissue removal. A thin metal rod (or cannula) attached to a syringe or vacuum pump is then inserted to remove the tissue and the fatty tissue is sucked out through the cannula.
Healing depends on both the individual patient and the extent of the surgery required.
Some patients may be up and about in a day or two after the operation, but you shouldn’t plan on returning to (non-strenuous work) for 3 to 7 days.
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