Stephen McCulley, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon. MBChb, FCS(SA)Plast, FRCS(plast)

Frequently Asked Questions

Male Cosmetic Procedures FAQs

Male Breast Reduction (Gynaecomastia)

What has caused my gynaecomastia?

The most common type is pubertal and a sensitivity to hormones. Occasionally it is caused by true hormone imbalances and these can be tested for. Some drugs like steroids or hormone treatments can cause gynaecomastia and in older patients it is important to ensure this is not a breast cancer especially if the lump is one sided.

Will the correction be permanent?

Yes, providing your weight remains stable.

Will I have any scars if my gynaecomastia is treated?

Sometimes liposuction alone can treat gynaecomastia. However, most patients need a mixture of liposuction and open surgery resulting in a scar around or partly around the nipple.

I am 16 now and have had breast swelling for the last 3 years. Will it go away?

They may do but not all gynaecomastia from teenage years disappears. If still present a few years past puberty there is a strong chance of this being permanent. Gynaecomastia arising in puberty is common and is usually due to a sensitivity to female hormones and NOT excess levels of female hormones themselves. The gynaecomastia is composed of breast tissue and some fat. Being a normal weight will help but if still present then you may need surgery to correct it if it bothers you enough.

How old does a patient have to be to get treatment for gynaecomastia?

As it is not unusual for teenage boys to experience changes in their breasts during puberty, therefore it is advisable to wait until development has stopped and a definite diagnosis of gynaecomastia can be made. This will generally be around the age of 18 or over.

What causes gynaecomastia?

Gynaecomastia is caused by an imbalance of hormones, where an excess of oestrogens (female hormones) outnumber the androgens (male hormones) present in the body. It is common during puberty, and will generally settle down once puberty has passed. However, true gynaecomastia is a more permanent condition as is likely to require surgery.

There are a number of things that can trigger true gynaecomastia. In some cases, it can be a side effect of illegal drug consumption (anabolic steroids and marijuana in particular), alcohol abuse or a reaction to some forms of medication (especially, anti-ulcer drugs or medication for heart disease).

It is also associated with problems with the male sex organs, especially when the condition involves decreased testosterone production. Gynaecomastia is also linked to hyperthyroisism, chronic kidney failure, and cirrhosis of the liver.

Is there an increased risk of breast cancer if I have gynaecomastia?

No, gynaecomastia does not increase the chances of a man developing breast cancer. It is important to obtain a proper diagnosis from a medical professional however, to ensure that the breasts are enlarged as a result of gynaecomastia and not breast cancer.

How much scarring can I expect from a gynaecomastia procedure?

In the majority of cases, gynaecomastia will be treated using a combination of liposuction and open surgery. The incision will be made through the border of the areola, which will help obscure the visible scarring. In time, the scar is likely to fade which will further reduce its visibility.

How do I know if I need surgery for my gynaecomastia or if I can reduce it with weight loss?

A pure case of gynaecomastia cannot be reduced by losing weight, or exercising, as the breasts are enlarged by excess glandular breast tissue rather than simply by fat. Aside from undergoing a thorough examination, the most obvious way to determine whether you have gynaecomastia is when you loose weight elsewhere on your body but the breasts remain enlarged.

What is pseudogynecomastia?

Pseudogynecomastia is when a man develops breasts as a result of being severely overweight or obese. In this case, the breasts are enlarged by excess fatty deposits, rather than by breast tissue.

Will the results from the surgery be permanent?

Yes, providing that weight stays stable, once all of the excess tissue is removed from the breast, the surgery will be permanent.

Answers provided by Mr Stephen McCulley and his expert team. You can see further helpful information in our Resource Centre or in our Ask Our Specialist Nurse section.

Stephen McCulley offers a wide range of cosmetic procedures for males including facial surgery, body surgery, breast reduction and more!

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