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Duke plastic surgeons correct abnormally large breasts in men by removing excess tissue, skin, and fat, while flattening and enhancing the male chest contours. Research shows that breast reduction, also known as reduction mammoplasty, can have a positive psychological and emotional impact on your wellbeing. Many men report an improvement in their self image and self esteem.
When to consider gynecomastia surgery
At some point in your life, you may experience enlarged breast glands, a condition known as gynecomastia. In newborns through the teenage years, gynecomastia may be related to a hormonal imbalance, and often goes away on its own. When gynecomastia occurs in adults, it may be related to obesity, use of certain medications, hormonal imbalances, or cancer in the thyroid, pituitary or adrenal glands. In severe cases, the excess weight of glands and tissue can cause unsightly and uncomfortable sagging of the male breast area that can only be corrected by a surgical procedure.
You may consider gynecomastia surgery if you find your condition impacts your day-to-day activities. This may be the case 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 wellbeing. Depending on your individual condition, gynecomastia 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.
Choose Duke for your gynecomastia surgery because we offer:
- Respected surgeons. Our plastic surgeons share their experience by teaching advanced breast surgical techniques to doctors across the country and around the world. Our combined skill and leadership means you work with some of the most knowledgeable and experienced plastic and reconstructive surgeons in the U.S.
- 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.
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.
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 from the operation takes one to two weeks. It may take several months for all swelling to subside and scars to fade.
Before the surgery
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. 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.
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.
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.