Breast reduction

Male breast reduction

Men can also have breast reduction surgery if they have enlarged breasts, a condition known as gynaecomastia.

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 because of 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 caused by obesity, poor health or excessive alcohol intake, breast size may be reduced through a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Consult your doctor and consider all your options before choosing to have breast reduction surgery.

The reduction procedure

Male breast reduction surgery is usually carried out under general anaesthetic (where you are asleep) and takes around 90 minutes or more.

The surgeon will make an incision around the nipple (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 up to six weeks after the operation.

An elastic garment also needs to be worn day and night for a few weeks after the operation to encourage good results.

Read more about having an operation.

Results

Male breast reductions are an effective way to reduce the size of the breast area and give a flattened shape.

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

Risks

Surgery can leave red and lumpy scars. These may last for several months, but should gradually fade over time.

Other risks include uneven results and loss of sensation in the nipples.

Last updated: 20 August 2014