Gynecomastia Surgery

Gynecomastia Surgery

Male Breast Reduction Surgery

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Duke plastic surgeons perform gynecomastia surgery to correct abnormally large breasts in men by removing excess tissue, skin, and fat, while flattening and enhancing the male chest contours. It may be a consideration for you if you avoid certain physical activities, if you have been treated unsuccessfully with hormonal medications, or if gynecomastia has negatively impacted your psychological or physical well-being. The surgery can help you achieve significant relief from many physical and emotional discomforts, give you a new sense of freedom in your exercise and physical activities, and help you feel and look better with and without your clothes. Some men have called the procedure a life-changing event.

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Consultation and Tests

Comprehensive Physical Exam

We conduct a thorough physical examination and medical history to determine the underlying cause of gynecomastia, and evaluate whether medication or surgery is the right approach for you. We discuss your reasons for pursuing gynecomastia surgery, and your desired breast size. To determine if you are a candidate for surgery, we review your family history, general health status, lifestyle habits such as smoking, previous operations, and any medications you may be taking.  Your breasts will be measured and assessed for size and shape, and photographs may be taken for your medical record. Based on these findings, we recommend a course of treatment specific to you. We discuss the expected outcome, potential risks and complications, and your post-operation recovery.

Blood Tests

May be necessary to evaluate hormone levels. Pre-surgical testing also requires several blood tests to test your liver and kidney function, and to determine if you have any infection, blood disorder, or anemia, that may have gone previously undetected.


High-quality, digital X-ray images may be recommended to detect any underlying breast abnormalities. Gynecomastia can increase your risk for male breast cancer.

Additional Tests

Depending on your initial screening results, your doctor may recommend you undergo a biopsy, in which a small portion of tissue is extracted for examination under a microscope. Additional imaging, including CT and MRI, may also be recommended.

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Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.


Medication Management

If gynecomastia is caused by a hormonal imbalance, medication may be prescribed to balance your production of hormones. Options include testosterone replacement therapy, an estrogen receptor modulator such as tamoxifen, which has been shown to reduce breast volume, or clomiphine, which stimulates hormone production.

Male Breast Reduction Surgery

The most common technique involves an anchor-shaped skin incision that encircles the areola (the dark skin that surrounds your nipple), extends downward, and follows the natural curve of the crease beneath the breasts. Excess fat and glandular tissue are removed. Depending on your specific anatomy, your nipples may require repositioning. Liposuction is sometimes added to the procedure to flatten and contour the chest. The procedure typically takes three hours and is performed under general anesthesia. It may be performed in an outpatient facility or may require an overnight stay. Sometimes a second procedure is required to further tighten skin and achieve optimal cosmetic results.


Your breasts will be wrapped in bandages following the procedure and you may need to wear a surgical bra for support. Recovery takes one to two weeks. It may take several months for all swelling to subside and scars to fade.

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Why Choose Duke

Size and Shape Matters
We work closely with you to understand your breast anatomy, skin elasticity and body type before recommending whether gynecomastia surgery will give you the results you seek.

Personalized Treatment Recommendation
Our plastic surgeons help you understand what is involved, and help you make a decision that is right for you. Many factors, including the underlying cause of your gynecomastia, are important considerations. We help you understand your options, and ensure the timing of your surgery is appropriate.

Respected Surgeons
Our plastic surgeons share their experience by teaching advanced breast surgical techniques to doctors across the country and around the world. 

Duke University Hospital is nationally ranked in 10 adult specialties
Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals
In addition, Duke University Hospital is proud to be named the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 10 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.