Men are often overlooked when we think of being self-conscious about weight problems, but in reality, men can be just as concerned as women. For whatever reason, the body area men are often very self-conscious about is the chest.
Enlarged male breasts, when caused by a hormonal imbalance, are a medical condition that results in what’s known as gynaecomastia: enlarged male breast tissue. This condition may require gynaecomastia removal surgery.
Breast tissue development or a fatty chest is one of the most common issues to affect how a man sees himself and it can affect the perception of masculinity, and in some cases cause debilitating problems of self-consciousness and shame.
Frequently the breast/chest area in men can enlarge with weight gain, which is most commonly due to simple lifestyle changes. This situation is not gynaecomastia.
For a percentage of men, an increase in chest proportions can be affected by the amount of oestrogen in the body, causing an increase in glandular breast tissue combined with fat. This is gynaecomastia.
The specific causes of gynaecomastia (also spelt gynecomastia) remain uncertain, although it has generally been attributed to an imbalance of sex hormones or the tissue responsiveness to hormones, in particular oestrogen.
Tthe extra fat and duct tissue stored in the chest is not easily removed with healthy eating or exercise. In most cases, any fat and/or breast tissue that is generally located outside the muscle wall can be removed with liposuction.
In rare cases, a small excision may be required to remove glandular breast tissue.
You will be provided with compression garments after gynaecomastia chest reduction worn all day and night for at least a fortnight. The following two weeks also require compression garments, but only part time – so you can choose if you want them worn during the day or at night.
A binder will need to be worn for the first week after gynaecomastia surgery, which is simply to ensure all the tumescent fluid is drained from the chest area. These garments are generally comfortable.
You can expect to have some soreness and discomfort after the procedure. It’ll hurt a bit, but the soreness will fade away quickly as you heal up, and be very manageable. Painkillers can be taken.
You can also expect some tumescent fluid to leak out of the tiny holes we’ve made to perform the procedure. This leakage is normal, until the skin closes over. Expect bruising and swelling for many weeks.
The results will not be apparent for at least a month or two since all the swelling must go down completely to see results.
There may be some lumpiness and deep swelling for a few weeks post-surgery. We may request an ultrasound treatment every week, or even twice a week, to help with circulation and resolve bruising quickly. You may feel some numbness in the area, but this will resolve as the area heals and the swelling drains over a period of weeks or months.
You are offered a 24 hour phone line directly to a doctor, so if you have any issues, day or night, you can call for advice. You will be back in the clinic the following day to be checked.
The tiny incision marks fade away almost completely, and nobody will ever know you have had liposuction on your chest.
You can usually get back to your job within a few days, but this will depend largely what sort of work you do. Talk to your doctor about what time you should expect to take off work. You can get back to exercising usually when you feel able to do so, but a period of light exercise after the gynaecomastia procedure is recommended, such as a light walk the next day.
When you are in the operating theatre, your chest area will be injected with the special tumescent fluid via a very small tube (a micro-cannula) through tiny incisions. This fluid numbs, softens, and evens out the fat, which can then be suctioned out very gently. The tumescent fluid not only acts as an antibacterial agent but also quells bleeding, so bruising and swelling is reduced. Enough fat is left in your chest so it always looks natural, and if you put on weight (or lose weight) later, your chest will remain in proportion with your body.
The male breast reduction procedure is a day surgery under local anesthetic.
With all invasive surgery, there are risks, including infection, swelling, soreness and bruising. We provide you with a list of risk factors in your consultations so you can fully understand the risk you are undertaking by having liposuction.
Seroma remains rare risk of gynaecomastia treatment. Seroma is where fluid remains in the skin, becoming infected. This fluid may need to be drained from the surgery area later and can be treated with antibiotics.
Every surgical procedure carries risks with it as every patient is unique, and not everyone will be an appropriate candidate for liposuction in any area, particularly male breast surgery.
Stubborn chest fat typically develops due to the effects of oestrogen. Why would a man have too much oestrogen? Well, it’s complicated, but in essence, oestrogens are in and around us all the time, and while men do have more testosterone than women, they also have normal amounts of oestrogen. Women also have normal amounts of testosterone. There are several ways that men can end up with too much oestrogen.
If a man is carrying a lot of fat, he will usually have a lot more oestrogen. This increase in oestrogen is due to fat cells having an enzyme in them called aromatase that converts testosterone to oestrogen. (Fat in women promotes female fertility this way. In men, this outcome is not so desirable, but it happens nonetheless when a man has more fat than can support his healthy testosterone levels.)
Fat is not the only factor when it comes to male hormone levels, but it matters when it comes to male breast surgery. The other way men end up with a lot of oestrogen in their body is xeno-oestrogens, or in plain English, oestrogens (or molecules that behave like oestrogen), in our environment.
An excess of xeno-oestrogens can be due to a combination of factors. If you are of a healthy weight (without too much fat), but are finding your breast tissue increasing, it could pay to take a closer look at your environment for the cause.
We can absorb xeno-oestrogens from meat and dairy, from cows that are fed bovine growth hormones. Choosing quality meat sources is really important, including paying more for animals raised without added growth supplements. Finding great meat is easy to do in Australia with many options available at the supermarket. You can find a local butcher and ask about the source of their meat.
Anti-pest products can also have an oestrogenic effect. Thoroughly washing your produce can make a huge difference, and trying to buy products that are not sprayed with insecticides and pesticides is a good place to start.
You can expect to take a few days off work initially, but depending on your job, it may need to be longer. Very physical jobs are likely to require longer off work than a desk job. Dr Rich will help you work out what sort of tasks you can undertake while you heal.
Initially, we recommend light exercise, but you can build up to your regular routines over the next two weeks. Gradually reintroduce your regular exercise regime, and avoid going too hard too quickly. You can cause damage that way. Talk to Dr Rich about how to reintroduce exercise safely.
When you remove fat cells, they disappear for good; however, the same may not be true for glandular tissue or with significant weight gain down the track. After many decades of experience, we’ve found that typically recurrence is most often in those who use anabolic steroids after surgery.
We do a careful preop assessment, and we’ll give you all the information about your condition so you can make an informed decision about how you’d like to proceed. You can change your mind at any time.
There are tiny scars on either side of each breast, but they are only a few millimetres long. These scars fade naturally with skin and are barely visible to the naked eye due to their position.
Your body needs to rest and recover, including the delicate tissue that needs to re-establish itself in your chest. Working a very physical job may disrupt this process, so speak to Dr Rich about your work and how much time you’ll need to take off post-surgery.
You can expect to take a few days of home rest but typically can return to your regular activities reasonably soon after. Reintroduce exercise gradually to avoid tissue disruption.
Anyone dissatisfied with the shape of their chest due to fat or glandular tissue can have liposuction, with some caveats. Because liposuction is a surgery, you need anaesthetic which requires a healthy person.
It’s essential that healing isn’t impaired since your body has a lot on its plate after liposuction in terms of resolving inflammation and healing tissue. If you have any condition that impacts your ability to heal or are elderly, liposuction may not be right for you. We have other fat-reduction options, so speak to our clinic.
In some patients, the breast tissue will be fat and thus can be ‘lost’ with general weight loss. It depends on whether you have developed glandular tissue or not. If glandular tissue exists, you can’t just exercise or diet the problem away. Glands are here to stay.
If you are overweight, losing weight may reduce the amount of fat present. Losing weight can undoubtedly decrease the visual impact of a fatty chest, but having an assessment to see whether you have glandular tissue is necessary.
You will need an assessment to determine if glandular tissue exists in your chest, or if the mass is fat. If the weight is fat, then you do not need excision and liposuction is likely to be sufficient.
Yes, every liposuction procedure requires a local anaesthetic. We do not use a general anaesthetic for our procedures. The anaesthetic we use also works as an antibacterial and to constrict blood vessels to reduce bleeding and bruising
You will feel a little swollen and sore after liposuction. The swelling will go down with the use of your compression garments and with time, after which the results will become apparent. The greatest discomfort is the few days after your surgery, where bruising may also be visible. We recommend, if needed, over the counter pain medication.
The chest area is reasonably small and your comfort is our highest priority, so if you are uncomfortable, let us know.
Compression garments are necessary for two weeks full-time after the treatment, then for another two weeks for either the day or the night. The compression garments help drain fluid from the area, reducing the swelling quicker than if you don’t wear them. You’ll see your results faster by wearing the garments, as well as keeping your body supported during recovery.
The first day you can’t shower or take a bath, as you’ll be wearing dressings that need to stay in place. Warm water causes changes to your blood vessels, which may result in fainting or bleeding, which is undesirable. After your first 24 hours, you can take a shower but have someone nearby.
You can’t drive until all the sedatives are out of your system. We give you a relaxant before your procedure to keep you relaxed – getting fat suctioned out of your body can be a little anxiety-inducing! Your comfort is our highest priority, but we also need you to be still and relaxed while the procedure is underway.
We don’t perform liposuction on teenagers or the elderly unless it is medically necessary. Young people haven’t stopped developing and growing, and enlarged breast tissue is common in teenage boys (much to their chagrin). As we age, our ability to heal slows significantly, so performing non-essential cosmetic surgery is inadvisable.
We don’t have age restrictions as much as stage-of-life guidelines. In Australia, surgery cannot be performed on under 18s without a three-month cooling-off period as mandatory. We may also request a psychological evaluation if necessary, to keep our patients safe and ensure treatments are not being undertaken under duress or for regretful reasons.
We respect everyone’s right to choose their pathway in life; however, it is our duty as medical practitioners to be diligent with patient care.
We recommend that you have another adult in the house as you recover to undertake regular household tasks such as laundry, childcare and shopping. Lifting heavy groceries, picking up children (with flailing limbs and unpredictable movements) and doing household chores may be too much during the initial period of healing.
You’ll soon know when it’s safe to go about regular family life because your body will tell you – it won’t hurt or feel tender – and Dr Rich will let you know what you can and can’t do and for how long. Take it easy and stick with bedtime stories until you’ve had the all-clear for more strenuous activities.
*With all surgeries or procedures, there are risks. Consult your physician (GP) before undertaking any surgical or cosmetic procedure. Please read the consent forms carefully and be informed about every aspect of your treatment. Surgeries such as liposuction have a mandatory seven-day cooling-off period to give patients adequate time to be sure of their surgery choice. Results may also vary from person to person due to many factors, including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise. Before and after photos are only relevant to the patient in the photo and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience. Ask questions. Our team of dermatologists, doctors and nurses are here to help you with any of your queries. This page is not advice and is intended to be informational only. We endeavour to keep all our information up to date; however, this site is intended as a guide and not a definitive information portal or in any way constitutes medical advice.