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Gynaecomastia surgery

4-minute read

What is gynaecomastia?

Gynaecomastia is a condition where too much breast tissue has developed. The condition can be severe and can affect one or both sides of your chest.

Is gynaecomastia surgery suitable for me?

For most teenagers, gynaecomastia goes away as your hormone levels naturally get into balance. However, in some men the condition is permanent.

Gynaecomastia is not life-threatening but you may want to have treatment if you feel embarrassed by the condition.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Your chest should have a more male appearance and both sides should look similar to each other.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

If the condition is in its early stages, you may be able to take medication to prevent further growth.

If you are overweight and your gynaecomastia is caused mainly by fatty tissue, losing weight may lead to a reduction in the gynaecomastia.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but various anaesthetic techniques are possible.

The operation usually takes 30 minutes to an hour for each side that needs to be treated.

If you have only a small amount of excess fatty tissue and good skin elasticity, the operation may involve only liposuction. Your surgeon will use a cannula (thin, hollow tube) attached to a suction device to remove the fat through a small cut.

They will make 1 or 2 small cuts on a crease line on the inside or outside of your chest.

Your surgeon will move the cannula through the tissue. Your surgeon will move the cannula at different angles so the tissue is removed as evenly as possible.

For severe gynaecomastia, where there is a lot of excess skin, there are several different options. Your surgeon will discuss what they think may be the best option for you.

Illustration showing position of cuts for gynaecomastia.
Position of cuts to remove disc of tissue.

How can I prepare myself for the operation?

If you smoke or use nicotine products, stopping smoking 6 weeks before and for 6 weeks after surgery may reduce your risk of developing complications and will improve your long-term health.

Try to maintain a healthy weight. You have a higher risk of developing complications if you are overweight.

Regular exercise should help to prepare you for the operation, help you to recover and improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

If you have not had the coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine, you may be at an increased risk of serious illness related to Covid-19 while you recover. Speak to your doctor or healthcare team if you would like to have the vaccine.

What complications can happen?

Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.

General complications of any operation

  • bleeding
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • allergic reaction to the equipment, materials or medication
  • blood clot in your leg
  • blood clot in your lung
  • chest infection

Specific complications of this operation

  • small skin burns
  • changes to skin colour
  • irregular body shape
  • fat embolus
  • injury to small nerves
  • developing a collection of fluid under your skin
  • developing a collection of blood under your skin
  • loss of skin, including the areola and nipple if you have severe gynaecomastia
  • developing an abscess (a collection of pus)
  • change of nipple sensation
  • stiff shoulder
  • cosmetic problems

Consequences of this procedure

  • pain
  • unsightly scarring of your skin

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day if you had only liposuction, or the next day when any drains have been removed.

You should be able to return to work after a week, depending on your type of work.

Most men return to normal activities after 4 to 6 weeks.

The healthcare team will advise you on exercising to help keep you to a healthy weight and to improve the cosmetic result.

Your new chest shape will take several months to settle as the swelling reduces and your skin tightens.

Summary

Surgery for gynaecomastia is an operation to remove excess tissue from your chest. You should consider the options carefully and have realistic expectations about the results.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you. Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com.

For more on how this information was prepared, click here.

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Last reviewed: September 2022


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