This male patient had breast reduction with liposuction to remove breast like fat deposits for a flatter chest.

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What is Gynecomastia Surgery?

Gynecomastia, also commonly referred to as "man boobs," is an enlargement of breast tissue in men. Gynecomastia Surgery, also referred to as "male breast reduction," is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures requested by men. While some men requesting this surgery are overweight, many are not.

Because most men are very embarrassed by breast tissue, they avoid exercise and going to the gym. Consequently, they gain more weight. The most common cause of breast tissue in men is actually an increased sensitivity of the male breast to circulating hormones. All healthy men have both male and female hormones in their circulation.

What concerns does gynecomastia surgery address?

I'm embarrassed to take my shirt off, even in front of my wife

-a Pennsylvania patient

Common symptoms include:

  • enlarged glandular breast tissue
  • tenderness of the breasts and/or nipples
  • impaired self-confidence

Can the male breast lumps be cancer?

Breast cancer in men is rare. Only 1% of breast cancer occurs in men. Most breast masses in males are benign. Typically, a man notices a lump on one side growing over a period of a few months. It is usually not painful. There may be some bleeding through the nipple. See your doctor if you have any of these signs.

How is Gynecomastia Surgery performed?

The elimination of male breasts depends on the size and quality of the breast tissue and the quality of the breast skin. If the skin is youthful and has good skin tone, then liposuction will almost always yield a good result. It is possible to remove over a pound (half a kilogram) per side in some cases. We operate on male breasts of all sizes and shapes. Some men just have a small mound the size of a grape directly behind the nipple. It may be only on one side.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have men who are clearly overweight. However, it is the fat on the chest that concerns them the most. Many have said that they are too embarrassed to go to the gym or swimming pool because of their chest area. Most of these men get a good result with liposuction alone, too.

Those with larger breasts may need more than liposuction to remove excess fat, breast tissue, and skin. Many surgeons use the same techniques they use on women. However, I feel that this is not the correct approach since those techniques aim to give a projecting conical breast mound where the objective with male breast reduction is just the opposite -- to produce a flat, non-projecting breast. Therefore, a different technique is used for men.

If only a small amount of tissue is being removed, the procedure can be performed under Local anesthesia . However, if more than 300cc of tissue needs to be removed from either side, it is best to use IV Anesthesia so that you are in a light sleep during the procedure.

What are the pre-operative requirements?

Local cases do not require pre-operative clearance, but cases performed under IV sedation do. Patients with procedures under IV sedation are required to get a medical clearance two weeks prior to surgery. A CBC blood test and an H&P (history and physical) are the minimum requirements if you are a healthy adult.

No matter which anesthesia you receive, you should stop smoking 2 weeks prior to surgery, as well as stop aspirin products 2 weeks prior to surgery. With IV Sedation, you may not eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before surgery. However, cases under Local anesthesia can come to the case after eating a light breakfast.

What is the post-op recovery like?

Most men want to know when they can resume full activity and most are capable of doing so after two weeks. By that time all the sutures have been removed. You will be asked to wear a tight vest for 6 weeks to help control the swelling. There is usually very little bruising. Those that need open surgery (liposuction plus excision) will have scars on the chest, which will remain pink for months, before finally fading to the color of the surrounding skin.

What are the risks and possible complications?

Depending on techniques employed (liposuction and/or excision) there will are risks and complications associated, as with any surgery. Possible complications with gynecomastia surgery include, but are not limited to:

  • hematoma
  • seroma
  • fat necrosis
  • infection
  • nipple or breast sensitivity changes
  • asymmetry
  • unfavorable scarring

How much does Gynecomastia Surgery cost?

The main factor for the cost is whether the procedure is performed under Local or IV sedation. If the amount of tissue being removed is minor , it can be performed under Local anesthesia. This is similar to going to the dentist as the surgical area will be locally anesthetized so that you do not feel anything during the procedure.

However, if there are >300 cc of breast tissue to be removed from either or both sides, you will likely need to have the procedure performed under IV anesthesia. Total estimated costs are as follows:

  • Local Anesthesia: $3000-$3500
  • IV Anesthesia: $4500-$5400

These prices include the surgeon's fee, the board certified anesthesiologist's fee, the surgery center fee, garment, and follow-up office visits.

Gynecomastia Before and After Photos*

before and after male chest contouringSee our patient gallery of Gynecomastia Before and After Photos, all performed by Dr. Ricardo Rodriguez, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with over 20 years experience. Please note that all of these patients have given written consent to use their photos at our web site. We are very grateful for their participation in patient education!

Is Gynecomastia Surgery right for you?

Contact UsOur office and surgery center is only 30 miles from BWI airport and 20 minutes from the downtown Amtrak train station. Give us a call at +1-410-494-8100 or Contact Us online to set up a consult.

We'll be happy to schedule a time for you to visit our offices or participate in a virtual consultation, after which I'll be able to explain your options fully to help you decide if surgery can help you achieve your desired outcome.

doctor's signatureUpdated October 14, 2015
Ricardo L Rodriguez M.D.
Board Certified Plastic Surgery

Note: Patients depicted in photos and videos have provided written consent to display their photos online. Every patient is unique, and surgical results may vary. Please contact us if you have any questions.

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