Male Breast Reduction

A male breast reduction is a procedure that surgically corrects over-developed or enlarged breasts in men. The condition known as gynecomastia results from hormonal changes, hereditary conditions, disease or use of certain drugs, and is common in men of any age. It may cause emotional or physical discomfort and impair self-confidence. This may make men avoid certain physical activities and intimacy to hide their condition. The characteristics of gynecomastia are

  • Excess localized fat in breasts
  • Excess glandular tissue development
  • A combination of both excess fat and glandular tissue
  • Unilateral (one breast) or bilateral (both breasts)

A male breast reduction is a good option for anyone who

  • Is physically healthy and of relatively normal weight
  • Has realistic expectations
  • Has stabilized breast development
  • Is bothered by large breasts

It is not known what causes enlarged breasts in men. Decreasing levels of testosterone (male sex hormone) may be the cause among older men. Enlarged breasts may also result from medications such as anti-androgens, AIDS medications, anti-anxiety medications, tricyclic antidepressants, antibiotics, ulcer medications, cancer treatments, heart medications, anabolic steroids and androgens, alcohol, amphetamines, marijuana or heroin.

Diseases may also cause enlarged breasts. These may include conditions that interfere with normal testosterone production, tumors involving the testes, adrenal glands or pituitary gland, hyperthyroidism, kidney failure, liver failure and cirrhosis, or malnutrition. Sometimes, pseudogynecomastia is confused for gynecomastia because of the appearance of fat on the chests of men and boys.  This condition however may resolve with diet or exercise.  

During your consultation, Dr. Davidson will thoroughly review your medical history. He will also perform a physical exam to measure the extent of excess fat and glandular tissue in the chest area.

Prior to surgery, Dr. Davidson will give you preoperative instructions. This may include some routine lab testing. He will ask you to stop taking certain medications, including aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and blood thinners. These medications can increase bleeding risk. Most surgeons expect their prospective patients to quit smoking for a month before and after surgery.

Male breast reduction may be performed under either general anesthesia or local anesthesia. If enlarged breasts consist of excessive fatty tissue, liposuction alone may only be performed. For excess glandular tissue, the tissue may be cut out with a scalpel. The incision is made either on the edge of the nipple (areola) or in the underarm area. The surgeon cuts away the excess glandular tissue, fat and skin from around the pigmented area surrounding the areola and from the sides and bottom of the breast.

If liposuction is used, the surgeon will make a half-inch incision around the edge of the areola or in the underarm area. After surgery, a small drain may be inserted through a separate incision to remove excess fluids and the incisions are covered with a dressing.