Gynecomastia Surgery: Do’s and Don’ts Before Male Breast Reduction

June 1, 2019     

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Gynecomastia is the enlargement of the breast tissue in men and boys. It is not common to picture a man or a boy with an enlarged chest area. It has a lasting impact on the confidence of such people. This is a male breast condition which can be treated by both surgical and non-surgical treatment. It is the treating physician who decides what the best route to take is.

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Physical exercise and being fit is the key after surgical intervention is carried out to tighten the skin in the chest area and to get rid of the saggy skin left removal of the fatty tissue and the gland.

Gynecomastia and how common it is?

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It is commonly referred to as enlargement of the male breast. It is a common benign condition mainly affecting teenage boys and men. It causes swelling of their breasts.

This condition is quite common in the adolescence stage. Studies show that 10 to 12% of teens in their adolescence stage suffer from this condition.

What are the signs and symptoms of gynecomastia? How do we know if we have it?

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Signs and symptoms of gynecomastia are :

  • Increase in the size of the breast.
  • Puffiness  in the nipple.
  • Palpable nodular swelling just behind the nipple areolar complex.

When you palpate your chest area, you can feel the nodular swelling just behind the nipple’s areolar complex. You could also see the puffiness in the nipples which suggest that you have gynecomastia.

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It is a social embarrassment to have an enhanced breast size, especially in the male. There is a social stigma in people with enlarged chest area whenever they go out, for a beach or a gym for a workout, that people are looking at them weirdly.

Heaviness in the chest area with regard to the weight of the breast is the first sign to realize that there may be some problem with your chest and that it is time for you to consult a doctor.

Upon self-examination when standing in front of a mirror, you may make out the changes in your body, which is more evident with enlargement of your breasts.

What are the Causes of Gynecomastia?

This condition can be seen in three different age groups, like in newborns, adolescents, and elderly age group:

In newborns, the condition could be mainly because of maternal estrogen, which enters the baby and settles down over some time. This happens around two to three weeks of birth and this is self-limiting, which subsides gradually.

Gynecomastia In adolescence stage is seen usually when you achieve your puberty. It lasts from six months to two years and shall settle down. However, in some cases, the condition does not subside, but abate. The percentage of adolescents suffering from gynecomastia is around 10% to 12%, which has to be tackled.

In the old age group, gynecomastia is because of hormonal imbalance and due to estrogen and testosterone imbalance.

What are the treatment options for Gynecomastia? How will you decide which type of producer is best for me? 

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At present there is no non-surgical treatment for Gynecomastia.

There are three surgical treatment options available for patients suffering from Gynecomastia, which depend on the fatty component and glandular component which a patient has.

  1. If a patient has more fatty component, liposuction is the available option.
  1. If a patient has a glandular component, then we do liposuction to the peripheries and tackle the gland by removing it. The  removal of the gland by making an incision around the nipple’s areolar complex.
  1. If the patient has got only the gland, then we may remove only the gland by making an incision around the areolar complex.

A few other treatments for Gynecomastia are as follows:

  • Physical fitness to tighten the chest muscles
  • Push-ups to tighten and reduce the chest size
  • To reduce chances of developing saggy chest Incline press with dumbbells to lift the chest muscles.
  • Weightlifting
  • Swimming, jogging or walking to reduce calories.

Who is a good candidate for Gynecomastia surgery? When is surgery needed?

The age group, which is more affected by Gynecomastia, is adolescence. So, usually, at the time of puberty, they will develop this Gynecomastia which lasts from six months to two years and when it does not subside.  This is the group which is worried and comes for Gynecomastia so, this is the people who are good candidates for the surgery.

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What is done during a Gynecomastia surgery and how long does the surgery last?

The duration of Gynecomastia surgery varies with the component of the tissue if it is only fatty tissue we will do liposuction, which will last for around  60 to 90 min. If the glandular component is also involved initially, we do liposuction to remove all the fatty component, and then we address the gland. The total duration will be 90 min to 2 hours.

If it is the only liposuction, you have to stay only for one day in the hospital you will get discharged either in the evening or the next morning.

There will be mild pain in and around the operated area for one are two days which will be tackled by giving proper analgesic and even after discharge you will be given antibiotics and analgesic to avoid infections.

Complications and Risks:

Gynecomastia is a safe procedure. Like other surgeries, there are also some complications they are

  • Infections
  • Collection of fluids or blood in and around the nipple areolar complex
  • Blackening of the nipple areolar complex because of improper handling of the instrument which is tackled by proper techniques

Do’s and Don’ts Before Male Breast Reduction

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What not to Do before male breast reduction

  1. Smoking: At least two weeks before surgery quit smoking because nicotine can impair and delay healing.
  2. Alcohol: At least one week before surgery, avoid alcoholic beverage.
  3. Blood thinners: At least ten days before surgery stop taking all aspirin-containing products, medications which contain blood thinners, vitamin E, herbal supplements, and garlic supplements.
  4. Schedule time off work: Patients with a sedentary job/desk job may go back to work within four days or so. If you have a physical job, which requires a lot of heavy lifting or strenuous activity, you may need to take two weeks off.
  5. Do not apply scented cream or soap. Do not use deodorant, hair spray.
  6. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the day before the surgery as it can interfere with sedation during the procedure.
  7. Draining of fluid from the breast tissue using the syringe to reduce the size of the breast should not be contemplated because the growth of breast is due to fat but not fluid.
  8. In certain families, elderly people tend to apply pressure on the breast area in an attempt to reduce the size of the breast. This is completely wrong as applying the pressure on the breast does not reduce the size but may cause damage to underlying tissue
  9. If you have a problem with gynecomastia go to the hospital and meet the doctor and take suggestions.

What to Do before a male breast reduction?

1. Medications: let us know that all medications and supplements you are regularly taking. Two weeks before gynecomastia surgery should start taking one multivitamin per day.

2. Illness: If you get sick or have an active infection, please let the doctor know prior to your gynecomastia surgery

3. Caretaker: Make sure a responsible adult is confirmed to drive you to and from surgery and that someone is available to stay with you for the first 24 hours following your procedure. If you don’t have anyone available, please let know to your doctor to discuss other options.

4. Prescriptions: Fill all prescriptions before surgery. Go over instructions and ask questions if clarification is needed.

5. Labs: Make sure all requested labs, mammogram, EKG, and medical clearances are delivered on time to the doctor.

6. On the day of the surgery, use antibacterial soap while showering.


The chances of experiencing Gynecomastia is very rare but not uncommon. This condition can be seen for the most part in adolescents, which goes away with time. If time does not take away the enlarged tissue of the breasts, minimally invasive surgical options are available. The treating physician and the patient have to decide which route to take.

All said and done, Gynecomastia is not a life-threatening condition, but if left untreated, it could have repercussions in terms of damage one’s confidence levels and social life.

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