Breast reduction

Male breast reduction

Causes of male breast enlargement

Enlargement of male breasts is known as gynecomastia. Large breasts in men are often believed to be a result of obesity, but this is not the only cause. Men, like women, can have an abnormal growth of glandular breast tissue, usually due to a hormone imbalance.

Other causes of enlarged male breasts include:

  • excessive alcohol intake
  • use of certain drugs, particularly anabolic steroids
  • certain diseases, such as liver failure and cancer
  • congenital abnormality (a problem from birth)
  • dramatic weight loss, which can cause the skin to sag

For men who feel self-conscious about their appearance, breast reduction surgery may be considered to flatten the breast area.

Before surgery

When breast enlargement is due to obesity, poor health or excessive alcohol intake, breast size may be reduced through healthy eating and regular exercise. Consult your doctor and consider all your options before choosing to have breast reduction surgery.


Male breast reduction surgery usually takes an average of one hour. The surgeon will make an incision around the areola and liposuction may be used to suck out excess fatty tissue. If there is a lot of tissue to remove, cuts may extend down the chest from the areola and the nipples may need to be repositioned.

You will be required to stay in hospital overnight, take a few days off work to rest and avoid lifting or strenuous physical exercise for one month after the operation. An elastic garment also needs to be worn for one to four weeks after the operation to encourage smooth results.


Male breast reductions are usually required to reduce the size of the breast area and give a flattened shape.

Results are permanent but weight gain, hormonal imbalances and the use of certain drugs can cause the breast area to enlarge again.


Surgery can leave red and lumpy scars. These may last for several months but should eventually fade to your natural skin colour. Other risks include uneven results and loss of sensation in the nipples.

Last updated: 04 October 2011