Gynaecomastia Surgery

Gynaecomastia refers to the swelling of a male’s breast tissue. This can occur normally (physiologically) at three times in a males life: newborn, adolescence and after the age of 50 usually due to a temporary imbalance in female and male hormones.

In some men, this may be quite significant and can be very distressing. It can impact on social relationships and levels of confidence with to clothing. Some men will avoid wearing tighter clothing and may take to wearing a compressive vest to hide the effects of this swelling.

There are some circumstances that increase the risk of developing gynaecomastia which include: use of anabolic steroids, excess alcohol causing liver damage, some medications, treatment of prostate cancer, testicular tumours. Investigations may include blood tests to check the hormone levels and an ultrasound of the breast tissue.

Treatment may include gentle reassurance that nothing sinister is going on. Some men will have very tender breast tissue and may be offered a short period of anti-oestrogen medication to see if this helps. These drugs are currently unlicensed.

Surgery can give very rewarding results and involves a combination of removing the breast tissue (subcutaneous mastectomy) and sometimes some liposuction (removal of fatty tissue). This procedure is done under a general anaesthetic with a scar around the areolar. Most men will stay overnight and will be asked to wear a compressive vest for approximately 6 weeks. This can help reduce the swelling and fluid accumulation following surgery. Risks of surgery include bleeding, skin damage, leaving a dent, asymmetry (left and right side not being identical) and recurrence.

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"Treat your patients as you would like your family members to be treated and you won’t go too far wrong."
Naren Basu
Lead Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon