Gynaecomastia (“man boobs”)

These are a problem at two ages – in the teenage years and then when slightly older, classically when a little weight has been added to one’s youthful profile! Teenager gynaecomastia will generally settle down on its own without the need for surgery. If Gynaecomastia appears at an inappropriate or unexpected time then it is often necessary to be investigated by an Endocrine doctor to make sure there is no more serious underlying cause. Very occasionally they are also a complication of drugs given for prostate cancer and with various liver diseases.

Once it is clear that the problem is purely cosmetic I can discuss what may be done to help your problem. The male breast invariably contains some breast tissue although the problem with gynaecomastia is also a build-up of fat. The surgical approach is therefore to address both elements by excising a bit of breast tissue and liposucking the excess fat (liposuction). The surgery is usually done under a general anaesthetic as a day-case or one night stay. The scar sits under half the nipple and will be almost impossible to see after some months.

What to expect at the initial consultation?

At the initial consultation, I will discuss your thoughts and needs with you and elicit a past medical history. At this stage, I will assess whether gynaecomastia surgery is suitable for you and whether the operation will meet your specific needs. Your breasts will then be examined.

It is important to bring to my attention any previous breast problems that you may have had. Such problems would include breast lumps, nipple discharge, breast pain, breast cancer and any other surgery you might have had on the breasts. You should also inform your surgeon if you have any family history of breast cancer, particularly in your mother or sisters. If you are on any long-term medication, if you have any allergies, if you have a tendency to bleed or bruise easily, if you have had any previous surgery, if you have had any previous problems with local or general anaesthesia and if you have any chronic medical ailments, tell your surgeon. Smoking is also NOT allowed in the pre-operative period – one should be off all cigarettes and nicotine patches for at least 2 weeks before your operation.

You will awaken pretty much pain-free with dressings and drains in place.

Where does the treatment take place?

We can arrange for you to be admitted as an inpatient to either:

  • Parkside Hospital, Wimbledon, SW19
  • St Anthony’s Hospital, Cheam, Surrey
  • The New Victoria Hospital, Kingston

What can go wrong?
In general, gynaecomastia surgery is associated with a high degree of patient satisfaction and the vast majority of men are very pleased with their results. Nevertheless, no surgery is without risk, and I will explain the risks and possible side-effects of treatment with you at your consultation. Possible complications include:

  • Bleeding and haematoma
  • Infection
  • Wound healing problems
  • Poor or absent nipple sensation
  • Loss of the nipple
  • Poor scars including hypertrophic and keloid scars
  • Asymmetry
  • Fat necrosis (benign fat lumps)

How long does it take to recover?
Recovery can take up to 2 weeks and you are not advised to return to heavy work during the recovery period. I will advise you about exercise, return to work etc. All your stitches dissolve on their own.

How satisfied can you expect to be with the procedure?
Because this is a common plastic surgery procedure, the results are quite predictable. After the operation, many men report a feeling of increased self-esteem and self-confidence and reduced self-consciousness. Many men suddenly feel able to wear clothes they have previously avoided and even wear swimming trunks without a T-shirt.

Although much of the swelling and bruising will disappear in the first few weeks, it may be six months to a year before your breasts settle into their new shape

I can discuss the exact nature of your treatment, including procedure details, recovery times and any possible side-effects at a consultation. This will reflect your exact circumstances and needs. The information included here is provided for general guidance only.

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