Division of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery
Gynecomastia is a medical term meaning male breast enlargement.
In the majority of cases there is no known cause and, although rarely talked about, it is a common condition. For men who feel self-conscious about their appearance, breast-reduction surgery can be helpful.
The procedure removes tissue from the breasts, and in extreme cases excess skin.
The breast is made up of two main components, glandular tissue (firm and dense) and fatty tissue (soft). The ratio of glandular to fatty tissue in any breast varies from individual to individual and in gynaecomastia there may be an excess of both. If there is predominantly a diffuse fatty enlargement of the breast, liposuction is the usual treatment.
The surgery involves sucking out the tissue through a small tube inserted via a 3-4mm incision. If excess glandular tissue is the primary cause of breast enlargement, it may need to be excised (cut out) with a scalpel. This will leave a scar, usually around the nipple edge. This excision can be performed alone or in conjunction with liposuction. Major reductions that involve the removal of a significant amount of tissue and skin may require larger incisions that result in more obvious scars. Most operations for gynaecomastia take about 90 minutes to complete and are performed under general anaesthesia, or in some cases, under local anaesthesia with sedation.