Breast reduction surgery is a procedure that removes excess skin and breast tissue from the breast to reduce the size and weight of the breasts.   Common reasons for breast reduction surgery are to alleviate back pain associated with large and heavy breasts, to have more proportionally-sized breasts to one’s frame, or to regain shape and restructure the appearance of the breasts to a more appealing shape and size.  Women tend to get breast reductions for these reasons, but male breast reduction surgery is also a common procedure that is performed for other reasons.  In fact, besides the similar name, male and female breast reduction surgeries are quite different.  If you are a man considering male breast reduction, continue reading to find out how the procedure differs from a traditional female breast reduction and what you need to know about your male breast reduction surgery.

Gynecomastia

The most common reason for male breast reduction surgery is to correct a medical condition known as Gynecomastia.  Gynecomastia is a condition in men that causes the breast tissue to grow more than usual, which causes the male breast to become larger and soft.  The abnormal growth of male breast tissue results in a female-looking breast and many men elect breast reduction surgery to correct this condition.  While gynecomastia is not harmful, it does cause a great deal of emotional and social distress for adolescent and adult men and often times men go to great lengths to hide their large breasts.  While wearing baggy clothing or undergarments is a temporary fix, breast reduction surgery is the only way to compensate for large breasts as a result of gynecomastia.

One of the biggest differences between male and female breast reduction surgery is the function of the surgery.  For men, the goal of surgery is to eliminate any excess breast tissue and fat, which at times requires some skin excision, as well.  A successful surgery will leave the patient with a flat chest with no visible protrusion of the breast.  Additionally, one of the top priorities of male breast reduction is to minimize scarring, as men are topless on the beach or during summers and do not want scars to be detected.  For females, the goal of breast reduction surgery is to reduce the volume of the breast, but also to lift the breast and retain an appealing shape—this requires a different tissue-removal process and different incision patterns.

In many ways, the sign of a successful male breast reduction is the minimization of the breast, while successful female breast reduction surgery results in a functional and aesthetically pleasing breast.  The breast is an important part of the female anatomy: it serves the function of breastfeeding and also plays a role in her sexuality and appeal to sexual partners.  The male breast, in contrast, has little function and plays almost no role functionally or sexually.  Male breasts are hardly noticed: the goal, then, of male breast reduction surgery is to make the male breast as unnoticeable as possible.  During surgery, there is no worry of disrupting function of the breast, but there is a cause for concern that your surgeon may not remove enough tissue or might remove tissue that results in a lumpy or uneven appearance.  The goal for male breast reduction surgery is to obtain a flat chest—surgeons who are skilled in this procedure should be aware how that goal differs from traditional female breast reduction surgery.

Males and females also differ in their skin thickness in particular parts of the body.  Males tend to have thicker skin surrounding breast tissue, and this needs to be taken into consideration during surgery.   Additionally, the tissue within the male breast is thicker and more fibrous than the female breast, which is comprised of mostly fat.  Therefore, male breast tissue is often surgically excised, while female breast fat can be removed by a combination of liposuction and excision.  This, again, changes the incisions and the scarring patterns among men and women electing breast reduction surgery.

Dr. Kole, who practices in Southampton, PA and serves the greater Pennsylvania area, is an expert in male and female plastic surgery of the breast.  Dr. Kole is well-informed of the differences between male and female breast reduction surgery and has the skill required to perform the male procedure with minimal scarring.