Gynaecomastia ( Male Breasts )
Gynaecomastia is the technical name for enlargement of the male breast.
Just as in a woman the breast is made up of both fat tissue and glandular tissue.
Either of these components can enlarge. The enlargement can range from a small expansion of the nipple/areola to an enlargement that can resemble a female breast. Most of the problem is related to hormonal surges in adolescence or fatty deposits from weight gain.
It can also occur with some medications eg. Steroids.
Occasionally the problem can be of medical concern – men can get breast cancer just like women, although the incidence is very much lower. If the breast tissue itself is enlarged – particularly if it is more so one side than the other then it needs to be removed and looked at under the microscope. If this is required then this is usually a procedure that is covered by medical insurance.
If the tissue to be removed is largely firm glandular tissue then it is most often cut out.
If the tissue is mainly fatty then it can be removed by liposuction.
Excisional (‘cut-out’) procedures are often performed under local anaesthetic although some people prefer a general anaesthetic. The procedure is done through a cut around the flatter area that surrounds the nipple (called the areola)
The scar therefore sits in the area of skin colour change and is usually well disguised after the scar has healed.
With liposuction, small puncture wounds are made on either side of the chest.
These are usually about 5mm in size and once settled are usually difficult to identify.
Liposuction procedures usually require either sedation or a general anaesthetic and hence need to be performed in a hospital environment.
Very occasionally, for very large male breasts, a breast reduction is performed on a man in much the same way as the procedure would be performed on a woman. This procedure produces much more scarring but is used very infrequently.