Gynaecomastia (male breast surgery)

Gynaecomastia surgery removed excessive, painful or prominent male breast tissue to restore a flatter, masculine chest contour.

Gynaecomastia (or gynecomastia) is an excess of breast fat, glandular tissue and skin in men. This leads to a breast like appearance on a man’s chest. The proportion of excess fat, glandular tissue and skin will vary between men. There is a variation in how severe gynaecomastia can be, varying from a small firm lump of breast tissue behind the nipple to a fully formed, sagging breast. Men who have a large degree of skin excess following massive weight loss may need similar procedures to men suffering from gyaecomastia.

There will often be no specific cause for the breast enlargement. Your doctor will take a thorough history and examination of you to exclude reversible causes of gynaecomastia such as prescribed medications, steroid use, testicular tumours 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 be 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 gynaecomastia 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 excising the abnormal glandular tissue from the male breast and using liposuction on the remaining chest to even out the result. There are three styles of gynaecomastia operation. All procedures pay particular attention to minimizing scars and preserving the natural appearance of a male chest. In the simplest operation, the hemiareolar incision is 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. Patients with a moderate degree of skin excess can also expect a good lift and tightening of their skin with a peri-areola breast lift approach. In this operation, the areolar is cut to an ideal shape and size and the stitched to a larger concentric oval. This tightens the breast skin and changes the position of the areola to a more ideal location. In men with significant skin excess eg following weight loss, crescentic wedges of skin (wedge lipectomy) are removed from the lower breast/chest fold. These are carefully sutured with three layers of dissolving stitches. These scars are more obvious but can be camouflaged by a hairy chest.

How long will I stay in hospital after gynaecomastia surgery?

Gynaecomastia surgery can be day surgery or a one night stay in hospital.

How long will it be before I can drive, return to work and exercise after male breast surgery?

You may be able to return to a desk- type job and drive 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.

Which hospitals do Dr Sanki and Dr Kotronakis operate in?

Dr Sanki and Dr Kotronakis are Kogarah and Miranda gynaecomastia specialists, and perform their surgery at major hospital facilities including St George, Hurstville, Bondi Junction and St Luke’s private hospitals. We select our hospitals based on their high standards of peri-operative care and their outstanding surgical equipment.

Can private health insurance be used?

You can usually use your private health insurance for gynaecomastia surgery if you have recently had a massive weight loss and are suffering from the breast tissue excess. Private health insurance 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.

Who should perform gynaecomastia operations?

Gynaecomastia surgery may sound simple but it is real surgery, and should be performed with sophisticated surgical technique for the safest and best results. It carries real risks, and as such should be considered carefully. Fortunately, male breast surgery in Sydney is safely performed by our highly experienced surgeons.

We 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 gynaecomastia surgery.

Our Sydney gynaecomastia surgeons, Dr Amira Sanki and Dr Ilias Kotronakis are fully qualified Plastic Surgeons. They are both Australian University trained, having received Honours degree in their 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 gynaecomastia, 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 Surgeon is the best place to get the right advice. More information on gynaecomastia is available online at the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons and Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons websites.

Plastic surgery, like any other surgical procedure, carries certain risks and potential complications. It is important for individuals considering plastic surgery to be aware of these risks before making a decision. Your plastic surgeon will explain the specific risks of your procedure and your risk profile in the context of your general health and the complexity of your procedure. Here are some of the common risks associated with plastic surgery:

1. Infection: Any surgical procedure has the risk of infection. Surgeons take precautions to minimise this risk, such as sterile operating environments and proper wound care, but infections can still occur.

2. Scarring: Scarring is an inherent risk of plastic surgery. While surgeons strive to minimise visible scarring, some procedures may result in more noticeable or keloid scars.

3. Pain and discomfort: Plastic surgery involves incisions and tissue manipulation, which can lead to post-operative pain and discomfort. The level of pain varies depending on the procedure and the individual’s pain tolerance.

4. Hematoma and seroma: Hematomas are collections of blood that can form under the skin after surgery, while seromas are collections of fluid. These fluid collections may require drainage.

5. Nerve damage: Nerves can be damaged during surgery, leading to temporary or permanent numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation in the affected area. Nerve damage can also cause muscle weakness or paralysis.

6. Blood clots: Surgical procedures carry a risk of blood clot formation, particularly in the legs. Blood clots can be serious if they travel to other parts of the body, causing complications like pulmonary embolism.

7. Anesthesia risks: Plastic surgery usually requires the use of anesthesia, which carries its own set of risks. These include adverse reactions to anesthesia, breathing difficulties, and, in rare cases, life-threatening complications.

8. Unsatisfactory results: Plastic surgery outcomes may not meet the patient’s expectations or desires. It’s important for individuals to have realistic expectations and to communicate clearly with their surgeon about their goals and desired outcomes.

9. Revision surgery: In some cases, additional surgery may be required to achieve the desired results or to correct any complications or unsatisfactory outcomes. This can increase the financial and emotional burden on the patient.

10. Psychological and emotional effects: Plastic surgery can have psychological and emotional impacts, both positive and negative. While many people experience improved self-esteem and body image after surgery, others may struggle with unrealistic expectations, body dysmorphia, or dissatisfaction with the results.

It’s crucial for individuals considering plastic surgery to consult with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon who can thoroughly explain the risks and benefits specific to their desired procedure. Understanding and carefully weighing these risks against the potential benefits can help individuals make informed decisions about whether to proceed with plastic surgery.