Gynaecomastia is the medical term for a unilateral or bilateral enlargement of the male mammary gland. It usually occurs in puberty or in early adulthood and a diagnosis is made on the basis of hormonal tests. The most frequent cause is a proliferation of adipose and glandular tissue; a tumour is only responsible in extremely rare cases. Breast enlargement causes enormous psychological distress in those affected and impairs their quality of life. The body contours are realigned by removing the enlarged mammary gland and also removing the excess adipose tissue, if necessary.
The operation is performed in an inpatient setting, under a general anaesthetic.
We remove the enlarged mammary gland and excess adipose tissue by making a small incision around the areola and then reshape the breast. We occasionally have to insert a drainage tube, which can be removed after one day.
After the operation, special pressure bandages are applied for 4 to 6 weeks. No stitches need to be removed as absorbable sutures are used. Sporting activities such as jogging and riding should be avoided for 2 to 4 weeks.
Reduced sensation in the nipple area is rare, but improves over time in most cases. Any secondary bleeding, infections and unsightly scars are treatable.