Gynaecomastia surgery, otherwise known as a male breast reduction, is amongst the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures for men in Australia. This procedure is performed to treat the swelling of the male breast tissue, or ‘man boobs’ as it is more commonly referred to. Here, we’ll breakdown everything you need to know about gynaecomastia and how to treat it.
What is gynaecomastia?
Gynaecomastia is an endocrinology disorder, characterised by swelling in the male breast tissue. This increase in breast gland tissue is caused by an imbalance in hormones, with a decrease in testosterone and an increase in estrogen. Gynaecomastia can affect one or both of a man or boy’s breasts, sometimes unevenly.
Gynaecomastia can effect men and boys of all ages, although most commonly occurs in newborns, boys going through puberty and older men. While not a serious health problem, some men and boys with the condition may experience pain in their breasts. More significantly, gynaecomastia can be a cosmetic concern with severe emotional ramifications.
Gynaecomastia can be hard to hide, and many men or boys with the condition find that they are too embarrassed to wear certain clothing, such as fitted t-shirts or golf shirts. Unfortunately, most men with gynaecomastia experience a degree of body shame, which impacts their participation in activities that they typically enjoy, such as swimming at the beach or working out at the gym.
1. Gynaecomastia has numerous causes
As mentioned, gynaecomastia is typically triggered by a decrease in the amount of testosterone in comparison to estrogen.
Testosterone and estrogen are the two hormones which control sex characteristics in both men and women. While testosterone controls male traits, such as muscle mass and body hair, estrogen controls female traits, including the development of breasts. Despite that, men also produce estrogen, although usually in smaller quantities. An increase in estrogen levels that leads to gynecomastia can occur at different stages of a boy or man’s life, such as:
During infancy: Newborn boys are often born with enlarged breasts, a residual effect of their mother’s estrogen.
During puberty: Gynaecomastia commonly occurs due to hormone changes during puberty.
During adulthood: As men age, they may experience decreasing levels of testosterone and an increase in fatty tissue, leading to gynaecomastia. This is most prevalent in those aged between 50 and 69.
Further, there are several other factors that can upset the hormone balance and cause gynaecomastia, including:
- Medical conditions, such as obesity, liver disease, kidney failure, hyperthyroidism and malnutrition
- Some prescription medications
- Illicit drugs and alcohol
- Herbal products, such as lavender or tea tree oil
2. Gynaecomastia is more common than you may think
While gynaecomastia is often a cause for embarrassment amongst men, the condition is nearly unavoidable and is actually far more common than you may think. In fact, 60-90% of male infants are born with short-lived gynaecomastia and 30-50% of boys experience the condition during puberty.
Senior men aged between 50 and 70 are the largest group of people to experience an increase in breast tissue. At least 25% of men within this age range are affected by gynaecomastia.
3. Men choose to undergo male breast reduction for a number of reasons
Australian men are increasingly choosing to reduce their ‘man boobs’ through cosmetic surgery. Male breast reduction is the most consistently effective treatment for gynaecomastia and offers dramatic, long-lasting results.
Men typically consider male breast reduction because they are uncomfortable or self-conscious about the appearance of their chest, or find themselves avoiding activities, such as swimming or working out, because they are afraid to show their body.
With the help of a qualified plastic surgeon, such as Dr Norris, you can treat gynaecomastia and achieve a body you are more comfortable in. However, only you can make the decision to receive male breast reduction surgery. When choosing to undergo surgery, it is essential that you educate yourself on the procedure and understand any surgical risks. Ultimately, it is important that you are doing the surgery for yourself, and not to satisfy another person.
Please check male breast reduction before and after surgery images performed by Dr Norris in Sydney:
To check more before and after images, visit our gallery here.
4. There are different surgical techniques used for male breast reduction
Male breast reduction can be performed a number of ways. The most common procedures include liposuction, excision, or a combination of the two. The procedure you will have depends on the underlying cause of your gynaecomastia.
Liposuction is used to treat gynaecomastia caused by excess fatty tissue. With this technique, very small incisions will be made in the skin and the fat-containing cells will be removed.
Excision is used to treat gynaecomastia caused by excess glandular tissue. With this technique, a small incision will be made around the areola and the excess tissue will be cut out, rather than suctioned out.
Gynaecomastia that is a result of both excess fatty tissue and glandular tissue will be treated using a combination of both liposuction and excision.
5. It will take some time to heal from male breast reduction surgery
Before undergoing surgery, it is important to have realistic expectations regarding recovery. You can expect to be bruised and swollen for at least two weeks, and you will need to wear a compression garment for several weeks after surgery to support the chest as it heals. While most patients can resume everyday activities within a few days, you will have to restrain from more strenuous activity for up to six weeks.
Regardless of whether your surgeon performs liposuction or an excision, your final results will take time to appear. While your chest contour may look irregular at first, this will resolve with time. In this case, patience is key.
6. Male breast reduction can benefit a man’s life in a number of ways
Following surgery, many gynaecomastia patients report an enhanced sense of self-confidence and say that they finally feel comfortable going shirtless. Other benefits that you may experience following male breast reduction surgery include:
- Increased self-confidence
- Restored shape and tone of the chest
- Appearance of a more masculine, or sporty-looking chest
- Increased range of movement due to less breast tissue
- Increased comfort during intimacy
If you’d like to learn more about gynaecomastia surgery, or male breast reduction, please contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr Norris.