Male Breast Reduction (Gynecomastia)

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Gynecomastia, or excess development of breast tissue, occurs in as many as 40 to 60 percent of men. The cause is not always known, but the incidence increases with certain drugs (digitalis, anabolic steroids, Tagamet, and spironolactone), use of marijuana or alcohol, and obesity. This condition can cause extreme embarrassment, social inhibition, and self-consciousness for boys and men who suffer from it.

If you think that you have this condition, you should consult with your physician to rule out a more serious condition such as liver or endocrine disease. If you are otherwise healthy, breast reduction surgery may significantly help your appearance and self-image. This procedure is used to remove fat and/or glandular tissue from the breasts. In extreme cases, skin is removed as well. The result is a flatter, firmer and more masculine-looking chest.

If you're considering male breast reduction or gynecomastia, the following information will provide you with a good introduction to the procedure. For more detailed information about how this procedure may help you, we recommend that you consult a plastic surgeon who is board certified or has completed a residency program that includes instruction in this procedure.


*The 2010 national average cost for Male Breast Reduction was $3,377.

*Male Breast Reduction affects an estimated 40 to 60 percent of the male population. It may affect only one breast or both.

Breast Reduction also known as Gynecomastia is a procedure with permanent results.









  1. What some of the most common benefits of gynecomastia?
  2. How is gynecomastia surgery done?
  3. How long does the surgery take?
  4. Do I have to stay in the hospital?
  5. How much pain is there?
  6. What can I expect after gynecomastia?
  7. What is the recovery period like?
  8. What is the long-term outcome like for most people?
  9. How long do the results last?
  10. Ideal candidate:
  11. Alternatives:
  12. Risks:


What some of the most common benefits of gynecomastia surgery?

Male breast reduction, or gynecomastia, can improve the appearance of the chest in cases where diet and exercise have failed. The results of the procedure are significant and permanent. Most men who have had surgery for gynecomastia have been very satisfied with the results.

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How is male breast reduction surgery done?

The type of procedure used by your surgeon will depend on the degree of breast enlargement. The options include removal of the tissue under the breast, or liposuction of the chest wall. In both instances, a small elliptical incision is made on the lower half of the nipple area (areola). For those men with tissue that is more glandular in nature, all breast tissue directly under the nipple is removed.

If the tissue is more fatty in nature, liposuction can provide excellent results. In some people, ultrasonic assisted liposuction is an excellent approach. During liposuction, a small suction rod (cannula) is inserted into the incision to remove fat and other tissue.

In some cases, a repeat procedure is necessary to remove tissue that was missed during the first procedure. In a few cases, if there is a large amount of extra skin, it may be necessary to remove this tissue, which may result in a large scar.

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How long does the surgery take?

Generally, the procedure usually takes one and a half to two hours.

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Do I have to stay in the hospital?

This procedure can be done in the hospital or in an office surgical suite, depending on your preferences as well as your surgeon's. Many breast reductions are performed under local anesthesia (like that used by dentists) combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You'll be awake but relaxed, and although you may feel some tugging and mild discomfort, you won't feel any pain. Some surgeons prefer to use general anesthesia, in which case you'll sleep through the entire operation. The longer the procedure is expected to take, the more likely that general anesthesia will be recommended. You may be allowed to return home within a few hours of the surgery, and spend the night in the comfort of your own home, or it may be necessary to spend the night in the hospital so your recovery process can be monitored by a medical staff.

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How much pain is there?

Depending on the extent of surgery, pain can vary from minimal to moderate, and will last from several days to two weeks.

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What can I expect after gynecomastia surgery?

Usually, the chest is temporarily swollen and bruised after the surgery. You may also experience numbness or a burning sensation. You will probably be given a compression garment to wear for several weeks after the surgery.

If you have severe pain or discharge in the surgical area, or if you experience muscle aches, dizziness or a general ill feeling with fever, nausea, or vomiting, you should call your doctor immediately.

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What is the recovery period like?

Light activities can be resumed within a few days, although your chest will be sore. Most people are able to return to (sedentary) work within three to seven days, and resume more strenuous activities in two to three weeks. You should avoid exposing the operated area to the sun for at least six months to prevent permanently altering the skin pigmentation.

Routine physical activity and exercising (especially lifting, pulling and pushing motions) should be avoided for at least six weeks. This will help the scars to heal. Your doctor will advise you on the level of physical activity that is appropriate for you. Some degree of swelling and bruising may last for three to six months.

Recovery time and privacy needs varies from person to person. If you are not too concerned if people are aware that you have recently had surgery, you may be able to return to light activities earlier.

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What is the long-term outcome like for most people?

Liposuction permanently removes the excess fat, which provides patients with long-lasting results. So long as patients adopt a healthy lifestyle, there should not be a reoccurance of gynecomastia. After healing, most men are very happy with the results.

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How long do the results last?

The improvement from this procedure is permanent, but weight gain or use of certain drugs could result in recurrence.

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Ideal candidate:

In general, the best candidates for breast reduction are:

  • Mature enough to fully understand the procedure
  • Experiencing embarrassment and/or social inhibition due to breast enlargement
  • Knowledgeable about the procedure
  • Having good skin elasticity
  • In good physical and psychological health
  • Wanting to improve their appearance and/or comfort
  • Realistic in their expectations
  • Willing to attempt diet and exercise as first options
  • Non-smokers or able to stop smoking during the healing process
  • Not using marijuana or anabolic steroids
  • Not heavy user of alcohol

The above is only a partial list of the criteria that your surgeon will consider in determining whether or not this procedure is appropriate for you. Be sure to ask your surgeon if he / she considers you an ideal candidate for this surgery.

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In teenagers, it is best to wait for at least one year to see if the condition resolves spontaneously.

In all candidates, discontinuing alcohol, marijuana or anabolic steroids may resolve the problem without surgery.

Overweight men may find that losing weight will reduce breast fullness.

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Male Breast Reduction Risks:

All surgery has some potential risks, including the risks of bleeding, reaction to the anesthetic, and infection. In this surgery, serious complications are quite rare. Other risks include:

  • Excessive fluid loss, leading to shock
  • Injury to the skin
  • Rippling of the skin
  • Excessive scarring
  • Pigmentation changes
  • Altered sensation
  • Insufficient tissue removed
  • Like all body contouring surgery, it is possible that either too much or too little tissue can be removed. In these cases, a second procedure may be necessary.

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The information on this web site is only intended as an introduction to this procedure and should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor as a guarantee of the result. The best method of determining your options is to consult qualified surgeons who are able to answer specific questions related to your situation.

*Disclaimer: Source: According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), nationally in 2010. Most surgeons offer convenient payments plans for this procedure. Cost does not include anesthesia, operating room facility, hospital stay, and other related expenses. Costs may also vary depending on location. Cost does not include anesthesia, operating room facility, hospital stay, and other related expenses. Costs may vary depending the extensiveness of the procedure, location, and other factors. Costs are provided solely for research purposes. For specific estimates, please contact a qualified plastic surgeon. 

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