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Expert Opinion

Excessive weight loss and male breast tissue: Your guide to male plastic surgery

by Consultant Plastic, Burns & Reconstructive Surgeon Mr Baljit Dheansa

Surgery to change or enhance appearance has increased significantly in the last few years. Whereas before many people simply accepted an area they were unhappy with and covered up, we have become more aware of what is possible and are increasingly turning to surgery to help. Although traditionally such surgery has mostly been performed on women increasingly men are seeking information on how they too can address their concerns.

In my practice, most men who seek a consultation have concerns over the appearance of their chest or abdomen. Common causes that lead to men wanting to consider surgery include gynaecomastia (male breast tissue or “moobs”) or loose skin on the chest and abdomen after major weight loss. Both of these concerns can be readily treated with surgery to enhance or improve appearance. In my experience, such surgery can have a dramatic effect on confidence and improve well-being.

The surgical options for gynaecomastia fit broadly into three categories: liposuction, gland excision and skin excision combined with gland excision. All of these generally require a general anaesthetic and may require an overnight stay in hospital.

Liposuction on its own is rarely effective for true gynaecomastia but may often be used in conjunction with the other techniques. Having said this, in a small number of cases it may be all that is required. It is important to have a proper assessment to help decide.

Gland excision can make a significant difference and the scarring made less visible as they can often be placed within the nipple area. However in certain cases, f there is a lot of tissue, skin also needs to be removed. This often results in either a circular scar around the nipple or possibly scars on the chest skin. As with any surgery there are potential complications and you should make sure you are aware of them as well as knowing how to look after yourself post-op.

This is also the case when considering surgery for excess skin after weight loss. Although skin excess can affect any part of the body, the abdomen, chest and back are the most common areas. Excess skin can often cause redness and reduce the ability to play sport or go to the gym. Surgery to remove this can be in the form of an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) for abdominal excess, circumferential body lift (combined tummy tuck and back skin removal) if the back is also affected and various patterns of skin excision for chest excess. These operations really allow you to see the success of your weight loss.

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