Male Breast Reduction


  • Anesthesia: General
  • Length of surgery: 1 – 2 hours
  • Outpatient/inpatient: Outpatient
  • Adjunct procedures: Body lift, liposuction, arm lift
  • Recovery: 1 – 2 weeks

Gynecomastia or male breast enlargement is a very common condition. It occurs in up to 60 percent of adolescent boys and young men. It may also develop later in life. In most cases, there is no apparent cause for the development of the male breast tissue, although it can occur as a side effect of some medications, significant weight gain or from some medical conditions.

Gynecomastia is a medical term that comes from the Greek words for “woman-like breasts.” While the condition is quite common, it is rarely talked about and men often feel self-conscious about the condition. It can lead to teasing, embarrassment and social trauma, causing men to avoid situations that may require that they remove their shirts, such as beaches and athletic activities.

Choosing the Surgery

Abnormal breast development may occur in adolescent boys because of natural fluctuations in hormone levels. The condition often resolves spontaneously, so no treatment is recommended in this age group unless the gynecomastia is quite severe. An evaluation by your primary physician is recommended prior to considering treatment or surgery for gynecomastia to evaluate your general health, as well as to be certain there are no underlying testicular hormone disorders or liver abnormalities causing the gynecomastia. Excessive alcohol consumption or marijuana use can cause male breast development. Anabolic steroids, herbal hormonal supplements and cimetidine (Tagamet) have been known to cause gynecomastia – as have other medications.

If a specific cause for gynecomastia can be determined, then treatment can be addressed by your primary physician or an endocrinologist. In most cases, no specific cause can be determined, and often treatment for an underlying cause does not produce full resolution of the gynecomastia. Surgical treatment is then the only way to address the gynecomastia. The best candidates are healthy, emotionally stable men.

Preparing for Surgery

Two types of surgery work best for the treatment of gynecomastia: liposuction and direct excision. Both treatment modalities are often used together to obtain the best results.

Tips for Preparing

The plastic surgeons at Edina Plastic Surgery have a special expertise and skill in the treatment of gynecomastia. We begin with a comprehensive evaluation that includes a medical history and risk factors. Together, we will develop the best treatment option for your individual case.If the excess tissue is mostly soft, fatty tissue, liposuction alone may be a good option. This can be performed through small incisions along the lower edge of the areola and/or the lateral or lower chest. If the excess tissue is dense and glandular, then excision will be required – often in combination with liposuction. This is done through an incision along the lower half of the areola. The scars from these incisions typically fade very well and are generally not noticeable.

If the overlying skin is loose, it may not adequately tighten after the excess tissue is removed. In these cases, excision (removal) of some of the overlying skin may be recommended, although this does produce more significant and visible scars.

Potential incision sites using liposuction

Periareolar incisions used for excision of gynecomastia

Excision of excess skin is occasionally required

Resulting scars

Drain tubes are sometimes placed following the procedure; these are removed within several days of the procedure. The surgeries are most often done under a light general anesthesia, in which you sleep through the entire procedure and feel no pain. Small cases may be done under local anesthesia, although there is some discomfort associated with the local anesthetic injections.

At Edina Plastic Surgery, we have a fully certified ambulatory surgery center on-site, and these procedures are performed there with your safety, comfort and privacy as our priorities. Surgeries and recoveries are more successful for patients who are as healthy and strong as possible.

Gallery Default Image

Before & After

Photo Gallery
Enter Gallery

What You Should Know

You will likely be wrapped with a compressive dressing after surgery. A short time after your procedure, you will be able to go home and will need someone to drive you. Rest is recommended the first several days after surgery, although we encourage some walking. You may return to work within several days if the work does not involve physical labor. We recommend no heavy lifting, pushing, or strenuous activity for approximately three weeks after the procedure. You may then gradually return to full activities. A light compressive garment may be recommended for you to wear for several weeks after the procedure to minimize swelling. Some swelling is normal.

All surgeries have some associated risk. Scars are inevitable, although the scars from gynecomastia treatment usually fade to the point of being nearly imperceptible. Suboptimal scarring can, however, occur. Bleeding or infections are also risks of all surgical procedures. Occasionally a fluid collection develops where the tissue was removed, and this can require drainage. Contour irregularities or asymmetry can also occur. (Sometimes a revision of the surgery is required for optimal results.) Swelling after surgery is normal, and it can be six months before the full result from surgery is apparent. For many, however, the improvement is apparent in four to six weeks.

Gynecomastia Surgery Results

You can expect to see a significant and permanent improvement in the size and shape of your chest area. Excess tissue will be removed and the remaining skin will be reshaped for a masculine, streamlined appearance. While the excised tissue can never return, it is possible for additional fat build-up to develop, so maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle is important for long-term success.


Combining surgical procedures is a good idea for more reasons than one. Firstly, you will decrease the total amount of time that you will spend in recovery and under anesthesia. This is a practical benefit that will lead to less time away from work and other responsibilities. It will also help save you money since facility and anesthesia fees (as well as other considerations) will only need to be paid once. Lastly, while surgical complications are rare, only having to undergo surgery once is better than two or three times.

Body Lift

A body lift focuses on improving the appearance of excess skin and fat around the abdominal, flanks and lower back. If you find that you have sagging skin in addition to overly large breast tissue, tackling both at the same time can lead to a drastically improved appearance and a much larger “wow” factor when you are done recovering.


Similar to a body lift, liposuction is a great option to improve the contours of the entire body. Liposuction can be performed virtually anywhere, making it a great addition to gynecomastia surgery. The abdomen, legs, arms, chest — these are all places that can be dramatically changed through liposuction.

Tummy Tuck

If you find yourself with excess skin, particularly after an event like dramatic weight loss, then a tummy tuck is the go-to option for removing that skin and restoring a smooth, flat abdominal appearance. Tummy tucks are often a part of other procedures like a body lift, but they can also be performed independently when a larger procedure is not necessary.


In the same way that gynecomastia surgery aims to improve the shape and look of the breasts, rhinoplasty aims to improve the contours of the nose. Redefining the nasal structure can be a great way to let you feel better about your overall appearance in both your facial and bodily look.


These are quick and easy ways to achieve dramatic improvement without undergoing additional surgery in a much more affordable manner.


Coolsculpting is a noninvasive alternative to liposuction that uses cryolipolysis to destroy fat cells in the body. While the results are not as extensive as liposuction, this procedure has shown overwhelming success when it comes to slimming down fatty areas around the body and face. The procedure is virtually painless and no recovery or downtime is required. Results usually require multiple treatments.


This procedure uses concentrated infra-red light to tighten loose skin around the body. It can be used on most body parts, ranging from the abdomen to the neck. Since the procedure is noninvasive, the most you will need to worry about is a little redness or irritation immediately after the procedure. The results that SkinTyte procedures provide have sent a large ripple throughout the aesthetic community, especially for those living in or near Minneapolis and St. Paul. Results usually require multiple treatments.

Laser Hair Removal

Having the chest of your dreams often means getting rid of unwanted hair alongside unwanted breast tissue. Beams of concentrated light weaken each individual follicle of hair until it is no longer functional. This leads to dramatically reduced hair in the targeted area and smoother, sleeker appearance.

Why Edina Plastic Surgery?

You should never settle when it comes to aesthetic surgery. You will have to face your appearance and live with it every single day, so the last thing you want to do is settle for a practice that is not a leader in the industry. Edina Plastic Surgery is staffed with board-certified surgeons with decades of practical experience. The facility is fully accredited and equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. It is also easily accessible to anyone in the Edina, Minneapolis, or St. Paul areas.

Schedule A Consultation