Male Breast Reduction (Gynaecomastia)


Male breast reduction surgery is usually recommended as a result of the condition Gynaecomastia (sometimes known as ‘man boobs’).  It is a fairly common condition that will cause the breast tissue of men or boys to swell and enlarge.  The condition is most common in teenage boys and older men.


Symptoms of Gynaecomastia

Symptoms of Gynaecomastia can vary widely, from a small amount of extra tissue surrounding the nipple to more prominent breasts.  The condition can affect one or both breasts.  The condition is not usually painful, however, sometimes the affected breast tissue can become tender.


Cause of Gynaecomastia

There are a number of possible causes for the condition, including:


Hormone Imbalance

Many sexual features of the human body, including breast tissue, are developed and controlled by the hormones in your body.  Sex hormones differ between men and women with the dominant hormone in men called testosterone.  In women the dominant hormone is called oestrogen.


Oestrogen is the hormone that develops and controls breast tissue.  Whilst both men and women produce oestrogen in the body, men usually have much higher levels of testosterone than women, an imbalance that stops breast tissue from growing.  However, if the balance of hormones in a male body changes and the amount of oestrogen relative to testosterone increases, this can cause a man to develop breasts.  Sometimes the cause of this imbalance of hormones is unknown.



Being heavily overweight (becoming obese) is a common cause of Gynaecomastia.  This is because being overweight increases the amount of oestrogen in the body.  In addition, an overweight man is more likely to have excess fat which itself increases oestrogen production.  The increased oestrogen from obesity can cause breast tissue to grow.  Once breast tissue has developed, it can be treated by losing weight or exercising appropriately.  However, this does not always remedy the condition.


Newborn Boys

It is common for baby boys to be born with Gynaecomastia which usually resolves itself after a few weeks.  This can occur due to oestrogen passing from mother to baby through the placenta whilst the child is in the womb.  Gynaecomastia in newborn boys is temporary and will disappear a few weeks after the baby is born.



As a natural result of undergoing puberty, the levels of sex hormones in the bodies of teenage boys will vary.  If the level of testosterone drops too low during puberty, it is possible that the oestrogen in a teenage boy will cause breast tissue to grow.  This is common and many teenage boys will experience some level of breast tissue during the puberty process.  Gynaecomastia in teenage boys usually resolves itself as they mature and hormone levels stabilise.


Older Age

As men age they begin to reduce the amount of testosterone produced in their bodies.  Older men are also more likely to have excess body fat.  In both cases, this can cause a hormone imbalance with enough oestrogen in the body to cause breast tissue to grow.


Other Causes

Other rare causes of Gynaecomastia include:


  • Side effects of medicine including anti-ulcer drugs or medicine for heart disease
  • Illegal drugs including cannabis or steroids
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • An underlying health condition such as kidney failure or liver disease
  • Klinefelter syndrome (a rare genetic disorder)
  • Lumps or infection in the testicles


Breast Reduction Surgery

If Gynaecomastia becomes unsightly or uncomfortable it is possible to treat the condition with breast reduction surgery.  There are several techniques available to the surgeon but most operations involve:


  • Making a cut around the nipple
  • Using liposuction to remove excess fatty tissue
  • Extending the cuts and repositioning the nipples if necessary


The operation usually takes up to 90 minutes and is performed under general anaesthetic (you will be put to sleep).  Patients who undergo the procedure will be required to stay at the hospital overnight.


Post-Operative Recovery

It can take a few weeks to fully recover from male breast reduction surgery.  You may need to take a few days off work.  It can take up to 6 months to see the full results.


You will need to wear an elastic garment day and night for a few weeks after the operation.  The length of time you need to keep the dressings on for depends on how quickly your wounds heal.  After 1 or 2 weeks, your stitches will either dissolve or be removed at an outpatient clinic.


You should avoid stretching, strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for up to 6 weeks after male breast reduction surgery.  You can drive again when it’s no longer painful to wear a seat belt, which may be several weeks.


Need Help?

At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a specialist Consultant Plastic surgeon for an initial consultation, usually within 48 hours.  Male breast reduction surgery is available at One Ashford Hospital in Kent and One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire.


You can’t usually use your private medical insurance for cosmetic surgery but you can pay directly for your Male Breast Reduction (Gynaecomastia) treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages. If you are able to use your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at One Hatfield Hospital.

Why One Healthcare

  • Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
  • Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, X-ray and Ultrasound
  • Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
  • Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
  • Little or no waiting time
  • ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
  • Freshly prepared food
  • Calm, dignified experience

Contact us and find out more

If you live in and around the Kent area and would like to visit our One Ashford Hospital please click here

If you are based in and around Hertfordshire and would like to visit the One Hatfield Hospital please click here.

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One Ashford

01233 423 000

One Ashford, Kennington Road, Willesborough, Ashford, Kent, TN24 0YS

One Ashford Hospital
One Hatfield

01707 443 459

One Hatfield Hospital, Hatfield Ave, Hatfield, AL10 9UA

One Hatfield Hospital