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Gynecomastia Surgery: Breast Reduction Surgery For Men

An A-Z guide to gynecomastia surgery covering what happens before, during and after the surgery.

Gynecomastia Surgery: Breast Reduction Surgery For Men2019-01-12T13:01:07-05:00
An infographic about different aspects of gynecomastia surgery

Gynecomastia surgery is one of the treatments options available to get rid of enlarged male breast [1]. Gynecomastia is the excessive growth of breast tissue in men and is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s male population [2]. One of the high-end treatment options to get rid of  gynecomastia is surgery and in medical terms, is called reduction mammoplasty [3]. Gynecomastia surgery involves surgical removal of excess breast tissue and gland, whereas surgery for pseudogynecomastia involves removal of excess fat [4,5].

An image showing statistics about gynecomastia surgery

In most cases, there would always be some removal of fat in gynecomastia surgery to give your chest the best contours. This is because most cases of breast enlargement are a mix of breast tissue and chest fat. The classification of breast enlargement into gynecomastia (breast tissue) and pseudogynecomastia (pectoral fat) is primarily for the sake of clarity.

An illustration showing the difference between gynecomastia and normal chest in men

Grades Of Gynecomastia

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons have classified gynecomastia into 4 grades based on factors like severity of breast enlargement and feminization of the breast [6]. Grade 1 is considered mild enlargement and grade 4 as severe enlargement. You can see a basic illustration of the 4 grades below [6].

Grade or Type Description Severity
1 A localized button of tissue that is concentrated around the areola Very mild
2 Moderate breast enlargement exceeding areola boundaries
with edges that are indistinct from the chest
Mild to high
3 Moderate breast enlargement exceeding areola boundaries
with edges that are distinct from the chest with skin redundancy present
High and visible
4 Marked breast enlargement with skin redundancy and feminization
of the breast
Severe and visibly feminine
An illustration showing the 4 grades of gynecomastia

The Ideal Candidate For Gynecomastia Surgery

The ideal candidate is someone who has realistic expectations about gynecomastia surgery and is not satisfied with their current chest shape. He is an adult above 21 years of age and does not have any major or life threatening medical conditions that is going to hinder the healing process or lead to complications during the surgery .

ideal candidate for gynecomastia surgery

Adolescents are not the best candidates for gynecomastia surgery because breast tissue growth during adolescence happens naturally for a sub-group and will go away as they enter adulthood [7]. For adolescents, even if they have surgery for gynecomastia, there is the likelihood of it coming back which would require further procedures down the road.

The Good & Bad About Gynecomastia Surgery

Gynecomastia surgery, supplements that target gynecomastia and compression shirts to temporarily hide gynecomastia are the main options available as of today to get rid of gynecomastia. Among the three, gynecomastia surgery is the most effective and no-doubt-sure guaranteed option to get rid of gynecomastia. The success rate is 100% and it is also the only option for those who were able to get only a low response rate from breast reduction supplements.

An image with the text good and bad of gynecomastia surgery written on it
  • The success rate is 100% and you will also be getting a very clear idea from your surgeon about how your chest will look after surgery.

  • You get customized treatment by a surgeon specializing in gynecomastia surgery.

  • The results are immediate and instantaneous. With supplements for gynecomastia, you have to wait at least 60 days to see the results.

  • Surgery is expensive and not everyone will be in a position to afford even if they like to undergo surgery.

What Is The Cost Of Gynecomastia Surgery ?

The following information is specific to gynecomastia surgery in the United States and you are looking at paying between USD 6000 – 8500 depending upon the facility where the surgery is carried as well as the experience and profile of the surgeon. A number of companies also offer financing options and read the gynecomastia surgery cost and financing options page for detailed information.

An image with the text how much does gynecomastia surgery cost on it
Procedure / Service Approximate cost
Surgeon Fee $ 4000 – $ 4500 [8]
Anesthesia $ 1500 – $ 2000
Lab Tests $ 500 – $ 1000
Post-surgery Compression Shirts / Vest $ 100- $ 500

Is Gynecomastia Surgery Cost Covered Under Health Insurance ?

Almost all health insurance companies consider gynecomastia surgery as cosmetic unless an underlying medical condition like a tumor that warrants surgery is identified. So if you are doing gynecomastia surgery for purely psychological or social well-being, your chances of getting your gynecomastia surgery cost covered by your health provider are low. You can and should definitely forward a letter from your surgeon about the surgery to your insurance company to help your case.

Insurance coverage for gynecomastia surgery

A detailed article about insurance coverage for gynecomastia surgery covers the eligibility criteria for gynecomastia coverage [9]. You can also see the list of medical insurance companies in the United States and their terms regarding gynecomastia surgery here . If you are banking on your health insurance provider to pick up the bills for your gynecomastia surgery, first talk with your insurance provider and make sure that both of you are on the same page.

Gynecomastia Surgery Objectives

Gynecomastia surgery objectives

Gynecomastia surgery will not give you a chiselled chest that you see in commercials and you must be realistic about the outcome. However, after waiting the prescribed time after surgery, you can definitely work out in the gym and have that perfect chest you always wanted to have. As far as gynecomastia surgery is concerned, these are the main goals.

  • Reduce breast enlargement
  • Flatten the chest as best as possible
  • Improve the shape of your chest

Be Realistic: Gynecomastia Surgery Will Not

The surgeon’s priority is to give you a chest that is proportionate with your body and once the unwanted breast mass is removed, you can work at it and form the chest shape and size you always wanted. When I had surgery, my surgeon suggested that I wait 4-6 months before working out in the gym for chest.

Be realistic about the goals of gynecomastia surgery

Gynecomastia surgery when done by an experienced surgeon and backed by realistic expectations can work wonders. But as we all know, surgery is no child’s play and you have to be aware of what happens during surgery and what are the risks involved. You must have realistic expectations about what you are going to get after the surgery.

  • Give you a muscular chest
  • Give you a chest like a celebrity

Make Sure You Are In Good Hands

Make sure that the surgeon doing your gynecomastia surgery is accredited by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and that he has been specifically trained in plastic surgery. You must also have a general idea about how many years your surgeon have been performing gynecomastia surgeries. There is absolutely nothing wrong in asking any of these questions and you must and should be able to have this information prior to selecting your gynecomastia surgeon.

Things to know and understand before going for gynecomastia surgery

You must also be comfortable with the facility where the procedure will be done and you can also ask about whether that facility is accredited by a state or national accrediting body. You can also ask for before and after photos of the chest of individuals who have done their surgeries there or references and get first hand knowledge about their experience.

Before Gynecomastia Surgery

Consult your doctor to schedule a physical exam regarding your condition and to make sure there is no major risk in going for a surgery. Utilize this opportunity to ask anything and everything you wanted to ask about gynecomastia surgery. Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question. During this session your surgeon will discuss with you all the relevant all aspects of the surgery such as the type of procedure that will be used as well as how long will it take and what to expect before, during and after gynecomastia surgery.

An image about the need for detailed consultations before going for gynecomastia surgery

Your doctor will discuss these options with you more thoroughly at the time of your consultation. You can ask him/her about anything you don’t understand. Make sure that your doctor performs surgery in accredited facilities. Your doctor will also prescribe medications and give additional procedural instructions before the surgery.

Questions About Gynecomastia Surgery You Can & Should Ask

Potential questions to ask a gynecomastia surgeon
  • What can I do before and after the surgery to get the best chest shape ?

  • Where will the gynecomastia surgery be done and what type of procedure you will be using ?

  • How many day am I looking at after my gynecomastia surgery for recovery ?
  • Am I going to need any help from my friends or family members during the recovery period ?

  • How painful is it going to be after my gynecomastia surgery ?

  • What are my options in case I am not satisfied with the results ?

Two Weeks Before Your Gynecomastia Surgery

Your attending doctor will most likely prescribe you to take multivitamins every day to replenish your body with more nutrients as the more healthy the body is, the better the healing time.

an image showing the writing two weeks to go
  • Discontinue the use of SSRIs (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, Luvox. These are antidepressant drugs used to treat people with anxiety disorders. If you have to take them, consult your doctor.

  • Discontinue tricyclic antidepressants (e.g. Nortriptyline). Ask your doctor for permission if you need to take these antidepressants.

  • Discontinue Aspirin or derivatives of aspirin which include Alka-Seltzer, Excedrin, Darvon, Percodan, Advil and Midol [13]. They contain salicylic acid and Ibuprofen that can obstruct natural blood clotting.

  • Discontinue any diet pills or supplements that you are taking because they can have an adverse effect on anaesthesia and also influences blood pressure, blood clotting, and heart rate.

  • Discontinue any herbal medications with garlic [10,11], ginko biloba [11] etc, as they could inhibit normal blood clotting and interfere with anaesthesia.

  • Discontinue any medications that contain Naproxen since they can also affect the blood’s ability to clot naturally [13].

  • Discontinue smoking and alcohol consumption until you get the green light from your doctor [15].

When You Show Up For Your Gynecomastia Surgery

Report to your doctor if you are experiencing signs of illness such as colds, flu, infection, or boils before the surgery. Prior to your surgery, arrange a trustworthy companion to go with and drive you to and from the hospital.

An image explaining the experience after gynecomastia surgery
  • You might be asked to come and be admitted the day before your surgery and it is recommended that you avoid heavy meals the day before. When I had my gynecomastia surgery about 12 years ago, I was asked not to take fluids about 8 hours before the start of surgery.

  • Do not apply cologne or perfume, hair gels, body lotion, powder, creams, or antiperspirant. These products will only augment bacteria on your skin and increase your risk of possible infection.

  • On your arrival at the hospital or facility, you will be greeted by a staff and will be ushered into an exam room. The staff may take pre-operation photos of your chest area and other parts of your body that are to be treated. Before starting the surgery, you will be given time to talk with your doctor about your apprehensions and concerns.

What Happens During Your Gynecomastia Surgery

You will be given local or general anesthesia and normally, you will not feel anything happening before you come out of sedation. A reasonable part of your surgery bill includes the amount you pay for the service of an experienced anesthesia specialist and all of these professionals will no doubt sure work in the best interest of your overall experience and satisfaction. The medical term for gynecomastia surgery or the procedure to correct gynecomastia is called reduction mammoplasty and depending upon the individual characteristics and grade of gynecomastia, the surgeon may use either one of the following technique or a combination of the two:

An image of a medical team doing a procedure like gynecomastia surgery

Liposuction is primarily used to remove excess fat in the surgery for gynecomastia [12]. A very small hollow tube is inserted by making incisions and this tube is moved back and forth in a controlled motion. This is to loosen the stubborn fat and once the fat is loosened, it is sucked out of the body by vacuum. There are different liposuction techniques and your experienced surgeon will pick the ideal one that fits best for you. Excision is another technique that is used when removal of excess breast tissue and skin are involved in gynecomastia surgery. Excision becomes necessary if areola is to be reduced or the nipple has to be re-positioned to give the chest a better contour.

An image saying there is some pain involved after gynecomastia surgery

A combination of both of the above might be done depending on your individual situation. My goal here is not to give you a medical treatise about the surgical procedure but, I am just trying to give you a very basic understanding as to what happens during a surgery for gynecomastia. You can be rest assured that your experienced gynecomastia surgeon will take care of things and choose whatever techniques that best suits your interest.

After Your Surgery

After your gynecomastia surgery, you will be required to be at the facility for the remainder of the day and will be prescribed some antibiotics to ease the post-operative pain. It is important that you precisely follow your doctor’s instructions for these prescriptions and finish up your antibiotics as prescribed. You will not be allowed to commute or drive home by yourself so arrange for a relative or close friend to accompany you home.

Life after breast reduction surgery

You can also expect a large amount of that anesthetic solution to escape from the tiny incisions throughout the first few days after surgery. The blood-stained solution may soak the padding before you can shower the next day. If this occurs, you can open the garment, pull out the soaked padding, and replace the padding by lying down. Do not remove the garment while standing up as it can make you feel sore and dizzy. Have someone helps you with this process. Keep your incision areas clean by gently washing them with a wash cloth soaked in water and soap. Do not massage or rub these areas. Pat them dry with a clean towel. Do not apply non-prescribed ointments, ice or heating packs, hydrogen peroxide, or band-aids to the incision areas.

Things To Keep In Mind After Gynecomastia Surgery

Most doctors will recommend that you avoid any heavy activities like lifting or those involving physical or mental stress in the week subsequent to the surgery and I was also told to wait at least 4-6 months before I hit the gym and workout on my chest. You will also be asked to wear a gynecomastia compression vest for a month to shape the chest and to block the skin from sagging.

An image about to things to remember after gynecomastia surgery

The surgeon who performed my gynecomastia surgery placed two tubes at the sides of my two chests to drain excess liquid and it was removed by the end of the second day. The stitches he did on me were those types that would blend with my muscles and as such, I did not had to bother about taking them out later. Your surgeon might have a different approach and it would be best to talk with him on matters like the number of days you would need to stay off from work as well as the stitches.

Take Some Rest! You’re Worth It

Take enough rest after gynecomastia surgery

Get as much rest as possible. Avoid stressing about work or even doing light exercises (such as walking). You’ll have plenty of time performing your routine activities when you’re fully recovered. Engage in a healthy diet. Drink sufficient amounts of water. It’s preferable to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol while you’re on the road to recovery. Trust me as someone who have gone through it and you will definitely see an improvement of your silhouette within days after your surgery. Gynecomastia surgery removes the excess fat and glandular tissues, and you don’t have to worry about them growing back.

Medical Review Team

Medical reviewer at Gynecoma.comThe content of this page was fact-checked and medically reviewed by Dr.Sergii Vasyliuk MD on October 22, 2018. You can read more about Dr.Sergii Vasyliuk MD and his credentials at our about us page.

The content of this page was fact-checked and medically reviewed by Dr.Marija Petkovic MD on December 19, 2018. You can read more about Dr.Marija Petkovic MD and her credentials at our about us page.



Suggested Further Reading

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A-Z guide to pseudogynecomastia

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a definitive guide covering everything on gynecomastia surgery cost

a detailed guide about causes of gynecomastia

knowledge-base about gynecomastia

the main requirements to get insurance coverage for gynecomastia surgery

a comprehensive guide to post cycle therapy to get rid of gynecomastia

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