Gynaecomastia is a condition where too much breast tissue has developed on a man’s chest. It happens in approximately 1 in 3 men and can be caused by a number of factors. These include a hormone imbalance or increased response of the male breast tissue to the hormone oestrogen, use of certain medications, excessive alcohol use and various other factors.
In half of men with gynaecomastia there is no known cause. Overweight or obese men may also develop gynaecomastia and losing weight will often result in a significant improvement in the appearance of their chest.
If all known and treatable causes of gynaecomastia have been investigated and excluded (including losing weight where necessary) but the gynaecomastia persists then it can be treated surgically.
The surgery for gynaecomastia can be in the form of liposuction, or open excision of the gland (breast) tissue behind the nipple or a combination of both. These procedures aim to remove the excess glandular and fatty tissue from the breasts, resulting in a chest that is flatter, firmer and better contoured. In the most extreme cases, it may also be necessary to remove excess skin, but this leaves bigger scars on the chest.
As with any procedure, certain risks and complications can occur with gyanecomastia surgery. These include bleeding, collection of fluid under the chest skin (seroma), asymmetry between the two sides of the chest, contour irregularities due to deep scars, seroma or uneven shrinkage of the skin in the post-operative period, loss of skin, especially of the nipple or the areola due to damage of the blood supply to the skin (risk less than 1 in 100) and loss of sensation to the nipple.