Gynaecomastia is a condition that afflicts men of all ages, from teens to late 60’s. It is the result of accumulation of fat in the male breast and also of the enlargement of the breast disc. (Gynaecomastia is specific medical condition, and should not be confused with the more commonplace consequences of obesity, colloquially known as “Moobs” or “man boobs”).
What are the causes of gynaecomastia?
The most common cause of gynaecomastia is idiopathic (meaning that there is no obvious disease which causes this). It can also result from hormonal changes, or from the intake of certain medicines.
Why do men seek treatment for gynaecomastia?
Men with gynaecomastia are very embarrassed by their appearance. They do not like to take their shirts off in company or to go swimming. This affects their social and family life as they are unable to participate in family activities with their children, due to their embarrassment.
How is gynaecomastia treated?
Gynaecomastia can be dealt with by a procedure which involves a combination of liposuction of the fat accumulated in the breast and excision of the breast disc if required. This procedure is carried out under a general anaesthetic, which and usually involves a stay of one night in hospital. In the event that liposuction alone is required it may be possible to have this procedure carried out as a day case.
Following surgery, any discomfort is treated by painkillers, and there will be some bruising and swelling in the breast area. There may not be a significant change in the size immediately following surgery, as the removed fat is replaced by fluids. After six weeks, this fluid will be absorbed, and the reduction in size is apparent.
What is the normal postoperative care?
A small dressing is applied to the site of the incisions for liposuction or for removal of the breast disc. Sutures are removed after a week following surgery, when a pressure bandage or binder is applied around the chest to decrease the swelling. This is normally worn for a week following surgery.
How much time do I need off work?
Most people are able to return to work – which does not involve heavy manual labour – in approximately two weeks. It may take up to four weeks for some patients to be able to resume normal activities at work and for leisure.
What are the complications of this procedure?
Any surgical procedure may have complications; these include bleeding, haematoma (blood clot under the skin), seroma (fluid collection under the skin). There is a change in the sensation over the breast and in the nipple; and there can be a difference in size, or rippling of the skin.
However, complications following treatment of gynaecomastia that require a revision procedure are very rare.