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Gynaecomastia (male breast surgery)

Gynaecomastia surgery removes abnormal tissue, restoring the normal masculine contour to the chest.

Gynaecomastia is an excess of breast fat, glandular tissue and skin in men. This leads to an altered appearance on the chest. This results in a number of presentations, ranging from small lumps under the nipple to enlarged breasts.  The proportion of excess fat, glandular tissue and skin will vary between men. Men who have a large degree of skin excess following massive weight loss may need similar procedures.

There will often be no specific cause for the breast enlargement. In the remaining patients, the causes are varied and include certain medications, steroid use and obesity.

Men seeking surgery to reduce the size of their breast tissue complain of

  • feeling embarrassed to show their chest in public
  • loss of self esteem
  • difficulty hiding their breasts in clothes.

What to expect during your consultation

Your surgeon will listen to your concerns regarding your chest. You will be asked your medical history and examined to see if there is a cause for the gynecomastia. Any additional health problems that might affect your treatment will be identified.

Following this, your breasts will be examined, with clinical measurements and confidential photographs taken for your records. It is important to decide with your surgeon the type of gynecomastia operation that would most suit your situation. Depending on the degree of breast fat, gland and skin excess, your surgeon may recommend liposuction, skin excision or removal of most of the breast tissue (subcutaneous mastectomy).

What the procedure involves

Gynaecomastia surgery usually involves a combination of directly cutting out the abnormal glandular tissue and using liposuction to even out the result. The incision is usually located at the lower half of the areola (the pink circle around the nipple). At this position the scar can fade to an imperceptible line. All procedures pay particular attention to minimizing scars and preserving the natural appearance of a male chest.

What to expect after surgery

Gynaecomastia surgery is usually a day procedure. You may be able to return to a desk-type job after a few days following the surgery. However, you will need to avoid heavy duties for 4 weeks following the surgery and possibly wear a stretchy, tight chest binder to encourage good healing of your wounds and to restore a good shape to your chest. An alternative to a binder is a compressive athletic top. There will be some swelling initially, and it will take a few months for your scars to fade.

Can private health insurance be used?

You can usually use your private health insurance for gynaecomastia surgery. It usually pays for all your operating theatre and hospital costs, including the post operative stay. Medicare and your private insurance may also contribute to the doctors’ bills. You can call your health fund and see if you are covered. The Medicare Benefits Schedule code likely to be used is 31524.

Who should perform gynaecomastia surgery?

Breast lift surgery should be performed with sophisticated surgical technique for the safest and best results. It carries real risks, and as such should be considered carefully.

We recommend that the procedure is only ever performed in an accredited hospital. We also recommend that you carefully consider your choice of surgeon. Unfortunately doctors without surgical qualifications beyond their medical degree are allowed to perform surgery. Your surgeon should be appropriately qualified with at least a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS), which means that they have specialist surgical training. FRACS is the standard qualification required in Australia to perform surgery in private and public hospitals.

Members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons have a FRACS and specialised training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, including male breast reduction.

Our surgeons, Dr Amira Sanki and Dr Ilias Kotronakis are fully qualified Plastic Surgeons. They have both received Honours degrees in their Sydney medical schools. They both have FRACS qualifications as Specialist Surgeons in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and are members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. They both have extensive experience and training in male breast reduction, including the most advanced and up to date techniques. They are committed to giving their patients the safest and best treatment available.

Where to get more information

A consultation with a qualified Plastic or Breast Surgeon is the best place to get more advice. More information on male breast reduction is available online at the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons website.