Gynecomastia Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions

Gynecomastia is a condition in which a man develops excess fat and breast tissue on the chest. It is most often caused by heredity, weight gain, hormonal changes, medications, or endocrine gland dysfunctions. Although the condition does not pose a health risk, male breast reduction surgery can improve the appearance of the chest and help restore self-confidence.

Q: When is gynecomastia surgery necessary?

A: Most cases of gynecomastia resolve on their own once the underlying cause is addressed. If the condition persists for more than a year, surgery may be needed to remove the excess breast tissue.

Q: Are there non-surgical treatment options for gynecomastia?

A: No. Although creams, pills, and other “treatments” claiming to reduce breast tissue can be found on the internet, they are not effective.

Q: Am I a candidate for gynecomastia surgery?

A: The doctor will determine your suitability for the procedure during the initial consultation. As a general rule, candidates for male breast reduction should be in good health with no pre-existing conditions or active diseases that would make surgery contraindicated.

Q: How is the procedure performed?

A: Gynecomastia surgery is typically performed using a combination of liposuction and tissue extraction to remove excess tissue and contour the chest. The procedure normally takes one to two hours and is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia.

Q: What can I expect after surgery?

A: As with any surgery, you may experience some tenderness and discomfort surrounding the surgical site; however, this is normally easily managed with prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers. You will also have drains inserted at the surgical site for the first few days following surgery to help with the removal of blood and other fluids and to promote healing. You will be provided with a compression vest that you will need to wear for approximately six weeks following surgery.

Q: Are there any activity restrictions following surgery?

A: You can resume driving and most activities a week after the surgery. Strenuous physical labor and exercise should be avoided for two to four weeks.

Q: Will I see the results immediately?

A: Although you will notice some change immediately after surgery, the final results may not be apparent for up to six months. Your chest contour may continue to improve for up to a year following the surgery.

Q: Will I have scars?

A: Every surgery produces a certain amount of scarring. With male breast reduction surgery, the incisions are normally hidden under the arm or around the areola to make them as inconspicuous as possible.

Q: Can gynecomastia return following surgery?

A: This depends on the cause. If the condition is hereditary, the results are normally permanent. If it is caused by medications, hormonal imbalance, or endocrine dysfunction, the breast tissue may grow again if the underlying issue is not addressed.

Q: Does gynecomastia put me at risk for breast cancer?

A: Although it is possible for men to develop breast cancer, there does not appear to be a correlation between gynecomastia and cancer risk.