Male breast reduction (gynecomastia surgery)

About the procedure

Male breast formation, or gynecomastia, is a condition where males have abnormal breast development. The extent of breast development differs from person to person. Occasionally, there is limited glandular tissue development alone while other times there can be glandular tissue development, extra fat deposition, and even skin excess which gives the appearance of full breast development. Most of the time, gynecomastia is a benign condition but it is occasionally linked to medical conditions such as liver disease, endocrine disease, or other general medical conditions. For these reasons, a thorough general medical checkup is important in the evaluation of patients with gynecomastia.

Dr. Hirsch tailors his surgical approach to the specific symptoms of each patient.. For patients who have minimal gynecomastia without extra skin, liposuction alone is often enough to remove the extra breast tissue. Occasionally after liposuction, there can be extra breast tissue present that needs to be removed with a small skin incision around the areola. When males have very significant gynecomastia with full breast development and extra skin, liposuction alone might not be sufficient to remove the extra tissue, and it is often necessary to make incisions in the skin to remove the extra skin. When you come in for your consultation, Dr. Hirsch will examine you and help you decide which surgical option is best for you.

In general, patients who undergo gynecomastia surgery do not experience significant pain or discomfort following surgery and most return to normal activities in 1-2 weeks. It is necessary to wear a tight compressive garment at all times following gynecomastia surgery for the first 2-3 weeks. Occasionally, Dr. Hirsch may use drains after gynecomastia surgery, and these will be removed in the first week after surgery.

Frequently asked questions about male breast reduction (gynecomastia surgery):

Is my male breast reduction surgery covered by insurance?


Some insurance companies cover gynecomastia surgery for patients in Los Angeles, while others do not. It is best to check with your insurance company to see if your gynecomastia surgery will be covered. Dr. Hirsch and his staff will help you work with your insurance company to determine insurance coverage.

I would like to have Dr. Hirsch correct my gynecomastia, but I don’t want any incisions. Is this possible?


It is possible to correct gynecomastia without any incisions, but in certain patients only. You might be a candidate for minimally invasive gynecomastia surgery if you have extra fat only, without skin or breast tissue excess. At the time of your consultation, Dr. Hirsch will examine you to see if you are a candidate for a minimally invasive surgery. If you have extra breast tissue development, it may be necessary to make a small incision around your nipple because this tissue will often need to be removed directly rather than through liposuction. Patients with extra skin may not be candidates for minimally invasive gynecomastia surgery either, although they may be candidates for staged gynecomastia surgery. In staged gynecomastia surgery, the minimally invasive approach is tried first and a compressive dressing is worn post-operatively for 6 weeks. In younger patients, the skin is very elastic and may return to its normal position without additional surgery. In older patients, if the skin does not return to its normal position after the compressive dressing is worn for 6 weeks, the extra skin can be removed in a second stage.

I only have gynecomastia on one side. Is this normal?


If you only have gynecomastia on one side, it is very important that you undergo a full medical exam before gynecomastia surgery because this could be a symptom of a serious medical condition. Other symptoms that require medical workup include any breast lumps or masses or nipple discharge.

When can I start exercising again after gynecomastia surgery?


If you have minimally invasive gynecomastia surgery with liposuction only, you should be able to return to regular exercises around 2 weeks after surgery. For other patients who have extra skin and undergo gynecomastia skin excision, you should be able to resume light exercise at 2-3 weeks after exercise, then gradually return to full exercise by 5-6 weeks. Dr. Hirsch will clear you to progress to different activity levels at each stage of recovery as he sees you in his offices in Encino and Burbank.

When can I go back to work after gynecomastia surgery?


It really depends on what type of work you do and what type of surgery Dr. Hirsch performs. If you work at a desk job, you might feel like going back to work a week after gynecomastia surgery. If you work at a job that requires heavy physical activity, you might need to be off work for a longer period of time, possible up to 4-6 weeks after your male breast reduction.

Will I have drains after gynecomastia surgery?


After minimally invasive gynecomastia surgery, Dr. Hirsch will not use drains. However, after male breast reduction where Dr. Hirsch removes a large area of skin, surgical drains may be used after surgery. Dr. Hirsch's office staff will help teach you how to take care of your drains.

Additional resources about male breast reduction


Feel free to browse the following links to learn more about gynecomastia surgery:

http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/gynecomastia-surgery.html

Dr. Elliot Hirsch

Meet Dr. Elliot Hirsch

Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Elliot M. Hirsch has been educated at some of the most prestigious institutions in the country, including Johns Hopkins University, the University of Southern California, and Northwestern University. He is an active researcher and has published over 40 original papers and book chapters, and holds patents for his inventions in plastic surgery. Dr. Hirsch’s specialties include not only aesthetic surgery, but reconstructive surgery with special attention to aesthetic detail to ensure that patients achieve the best possible results.

To read more about Dr. Hirsch, please visit his extended biography page.


Read Dr. Hirsch's Biography