Gynaecomastia Recovery

Tue 17th Oct 2023

Gynaecomastia is a common condition whereby males develop larger breasts.

In this article, we explore the causes, procedure options and recovery process for the treatment and management of Gynaecomastia.

What is Gynaecomastia?

Gynaecomastia is a condition in which male breast tissue becomes enlarged. This can range from minor swelling just beneath the nipple, to more feminine-looking breasts. It’s essential to know that Gynaecomastia is generally harmless and can often occur during puberty in healthy males. In most cases, this condition resolves on its own. However, adult Gynaecomastia can affect a small proportion of men and has various causes, including hormonal imbalances, obesity, steroid use, endocrine disorders and a side effect of certain medications.

Understanding the Causes of Gynaecomastia

Different factors can cause Gynaecomastia, but it primarily depends on whether it’s due to excess fat or excess breast tissue. To distinguish between the two, you will require a thorough examination with  Dr Dona to determine the severity and cause. It is at this time that Dr Dona will create an individualised surgical plan tailored to your specific needs.

Could my Gynaecomastia be Breast Cancer?

While Gynaecomastia is a benign condition characterised by the development of excess breast tissue in males, it’s essential to consider the possibility of breast cancer, albeit rare, when evaluating any breast-related concerns.

Some warning signs that should prompt further evaluation include:

  • A painless lump or thickening in the breast tissue
  • Changes in the size, shape or appearance of the breast
  • Nipple discharge, especially if it is bloody
  • Skin changes or dimpling over the breast
  • Persistent breast pain

Am I a Good Candidate for Gynaecomastia Surgery?

Determining your suitability for Gynaecomastia surgery involves several important factors that should be discussed during a consultation with Dr Dona. Your overall physical health will be evaluated to ensure that you are in good condition for surgery. Equally important is to have realistic expectations regarding the outcome following Gynaecomastia surgery. Ultimately, a consultation with Dr Dona is the first step to assess your unique situation and determine if Gynaecomastia surgery is the right choice for you.

Consultation for Gynaecomastia Surgery with Dr Dona

During your initial consultation with Dr Dona for Gynaecomastia surgery, a thorough assessment will take place. Dr Dona typically begins by taking a detailed medical history and carefully evaluating your chest to ascertain the severity and potential causes of your Gynaecomastia. It is important to openly communicate any existing health issues, symptoms, or concerns, as well as provide a comprehensive list of both current and past medications you have taken. Following this evaluation, Dr Dona then discusses your surgical options. This conversation will cover the details about the procedure itself, considerations regarding scarring, the expected postoperative course and potential complications, and an opportunity for you to ask any questions you have. This consultation process is integral in customising your Gynaecomastia surgical plan to best suit your individual concerns.

Preparing for Gynaecomastia Surgery

If you plan to undergo surgery for Gynaecomastia, there are some essential steps to follow:

  • Stabilise your weight. If you plan to lose a significant amount of weight, it’s advisable to stabilise your weight before surgery as significant weight fluctuations can affect the results.
  • Discontinue certain medications. Stop taking medications that can increase the risk of bleeding. These may include blood thinners like aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and certain herbal supplements that contain large amounts of vitamins. Follow your Dr Dona’s instructions regarding medication cessation.

Male breast reduction surgery is typically conducted as a day hospital procedure, which means you can go home on the same day of the surgery.

The type of surgery depends on the severity of Gynaecomastia:

Liposuction: When excess fat is mainly responsible for Gynaecomastia, Liposuction might be a suitable option. In this procedure, a small incision is made adjacent to the treatment area. Through this incision, a thin tube called a cannula is inserted. The cannula helps break down and remove excess fat deposits from the area of concern.

Surgical Excision: When Gynaecomastia involves a significant amount of glandular tissue or is more severe, surgical excision becomes the preferred choice. In this procedure, Dr Dona will make incisions around the areola, which is the darker area surrounding the nipple. These incisions provide access to the underlying tissue. Dr Dona then carefully removes excess glandular tissue and fat. The primary aim is to create a chest with a flatter, firmer and more masculine in appearance.

In instances where there is a noticeable excess skin, additional incisions beyond the areolar border might be required to remove the extra skin to achieve an optimal outcome.

For those men that have fully developed and even pendulous breasts, a formal breast reduction operation similar to that which a female would require may be necessary. Therefore, the scar patterns required will be similar.

Unlike a female breast reduction where retaining breast tissue is typically required, this is not the case in gynaecomastia surgery. Without getting too technical, this would often mean that in a large gynaecomastia case the nipple/areola would need to be surgically removed and then grafted into the appropriate anatomical position.

Both liposuction and surgical excision are effective methods for addressing Gynaecomastia, but the choice between them depends on the specific characteristics of your condition, such as the proportion of fat to glandular tissue and the degree of skin laxity. During a consultation with Dr Dona, your condition will be assessed before the most suitable approach to achieve the desired outcome while minimising scarring should be recommended.

Recovery After Surgery

Recovery from Gynaecomastia surgery can vary from person to person, but there are general milestones and guidelines you can expect during the healing process. It’s important to note that you should follow Dr Dona’s specific post-operative instructions for the best results. Here are some common recovery milestones after Gynaecomastia surgery:

Immediate Postoperative Period

Immediately following the procedure, you will be taken to the surgery recovery area where your condition should be closely monitored until you awaken and stabilise. Most patients can return home on the same day as the procedure but be prepared to experience some pain, discomfort, swelling and bruising to the chest area. This is typically managed with prescribed pain relief medications and prophylactic antibiotics to protect you against infections and promote the healing process. Scars are an unavoidable aspect of any surgery, including Gynaecomastia surgery, at this stage the surgical scars may be red and very prominent. To assist with recovery and optimise results, a surgical garment should be provided for you to wear for the first four to six weeks. This garment not only offers vital support to the treated area but also plays a key role in reducing swelling and assisting in achieving the desired result, contributing to a successful and comfortable healing process.

Two to Four Weeks

During the transition into the second phase of recovery, which typically spans from two to four weeks after your Gynaecomastia surgery, you’ll observe gradual improvements in your condition. Many patients can resume light, non-strenuous activities within a week or two post-surgery. As time progresses, the initial swelling and bruising should begin to subside, although some mild discomfort may persist. It’s imperative to maintain adherence to wearing the compression garment as directed by Dr Dona for optimal healing.

As the days unfold and you approach the resumption of normalcy, you can typically return to your regular daily activities, including work, after a few weeks. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution and avoid engaging in strenuous exercises or activities that may strain your chest muscles during this stage. Fortunately, you should observe a visible improvement in the appearance of your chest as the swelling continues to decrease, marking a significant step towards your desired outcome.

Four to Six Weeks and Beyond

During this period, many patients can gradually resume light exercise and physical activities into their daily routines, carefully following the guidance provided by Dr Dona. As time progresses, any remaining swelling will settle.

It remains paramount to maintain vigilance in your post-operative care. It is essential to consult with Dr Dona before returning to more strenuous exercises or activities. This cautious approach plays a pivotal role in preserving the success and longevity of your surgical outcome.

Your post-operative plan will be detailed and involve multiple weekly in-clinic post-operative care visits with our nursing team that will continue for at least three weeks. We integrate light-based therapy into your post-operative wound healing journey. Light therapy expedites the healing process by helping your body reabsorb fluid faster and reducing inflammation. In addition, light therapy will promote healing cells, used to mature your surgical scars much faster, thus, providing the best possible scar formation.

Potential Complications

Gynaecomastia surgery, like any surgical procedure, carries potential risks and complications which may include:

  • Infection: Surgical site infections, though relatively uncommon, can occur. Typically, these are managed with antibiotic treatment.
  • Bleeding: Excessive bleeding during or after the surgery is a possibility, despite extensive precautions to minimise such risks. In some cases, additional procedures may be necessary to address significant bleeding.
  • Hematoma: The formation of a hematoma, which is a collection of blood beneath the skin leading to swelling, pain and bruising, can happen. Draining the hematoma might be required in certain instances.
  • Seroma: A seroma, characterised by a buildup of clear fluid in the surgical area causing potential swelling, can develop and may need drainage as well.
  • Asymmetry: Achieving perfect symmetry in the chest can be challenging, resulting in minor differences in chest shape or size following surgery.
  • Loss of Nipple Sensation: Although relatively rare, temporary or permanent changes in nipple sensation can occur.

In addition to these potential complications, patients should also be aware of the following considerations:

  • Scarring: Scars are an inherent outcome of any surgery. While they typically become less noticeable over time, their appearance can vary among individuals.
  • Persistent Gynaecomastia: In some cases, Gynaecomastia may not be completely resolved with a single surgery, necessitating additional procedures.
  • Loss of Areola Tissue: In rare instances, a loss of blood supply to the areola can lead to the loss of both nipple and areola tissue, potentially requiring reconstruction.
  • Breast Lumps: Small collections of blood or dead fat cells can occasionally form lumps in the treated area, typically resolving on their own.
  • Necrosis: Tissue death, although exceedingly rare, is a severe complication that may require further surgical intervention.
  • Unsatisfactory Results: While the goal of Gynaecomastia surgery is to achieve a more masculine looking chest, it’s essential to acknowledge that individual outcomes can vary. Patient satisfaction hinges on a variety of factors, including your individual anatomy, the severity of Gynaecomastia, and your expectations. Therefore, it’s critical to approach the procedure with realistic expectations about what can be achieved.
  • Permanency: While the results of Gynaecomastia surgery are generally permanent, factors such as natural ageing and lifestyle changes, including weight fluctuations, can potentially compromise the long-term results.

How Much Does Gynaecomastia Surgery Cost?

 The cost of Gynaecomastia surgery can vary significantly depending on various factors, particularly the extent and method of procedure.

For a personalised evaluation and an accurate cost estimate tailored to your specific needs, it’s best to book a consultation with Dr Dona. During the consultation, he can assess the severity of your Gynaecomastia, recommend the appropriate treatment and provide a detailed breakdown of the expected costs, including surgical fees, anaesthesia, facility fees and any additional expenses.

If Gynaecomastia is causing physical discomfort or other medical issues, your Private Health Insurance, and or Medicare, may cover some of your overall surgery costs however, this can only be confirmed following your consultation with Dr Dona.

Request a consultation with Dr Eddy Dona

Overall, Gynaecomastia is a common condition experienced by many men, so it’s important to recognise that you’re not alone. If you’re considering Gynaecomastia surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr Dona to determine the most suitable surgical approach for you.

Request a Consultation with Dr Dona

Dr Eddy Dona has been a specialist plastic surgeon since 2007, and is a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. From your first clinic visit, and throughout your surgical journey, Dr Dona and his team will be there to make it as smooth as possible.
Get in touch with our clinic to request a consultation with Dr Eddy Dona

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