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Male breasts or ‘man boobs’ is a common problem, and not one exclusive to overweight people. In many cases, it’s owing to a medical condition called gynaecomastia.
Rather than try to disguise the condition by wearing baggier clothes, many men choose to have chest reduction surgery. Not only can it create a flatter, firmer and more masculine chest shape, men find their clothes fit better and their self-esteem has increased.
Gynaecomastia can affect men of all ages and is usually triggered by a hormonal imbalance between testosterone and oestrogen, leading to the development of abnormal mammary gland or fatty breast tissue, which can sometimes be tender and uncomfortable. Contrary to belief, the condition is not due to extra body fat, so cannot be improved by exercise or diet.
While your surgeon will discuss the most appropriate technique for you, the procedure usually involves a surgical incision around the nipple, from which excess fat and glandular tissue is removed using liposuction. If the breasts are large, the nipple may need repositioning.
The procedure is conducted under general anaesthetic, and normally requires an overnight stay in hospital. This is a permanent solution, meaning the breast tissue does not grow back.
As with most surgery, some bruising and swelling can be expected. You can generally expect to return to work after one week. Heavy lifting, sports and strenuous activity should be avoided for several weeks.
You should wear a special compression vest day and night for at least three weeks to minimise bleeding and swelling, and ensure the skin conforms to the new shape.
As the procedure involves very minute incisions, scarring is minimal and any scars will fade in time.