Men with feminine-looking breasts may benefit from gynaecomastia surgery. This chest operation removes the breast gland and shapes a sculpted male chest. As a man considering the pros and cons of cosmetic surgery, you may wonder what gynaecomastia scars look like.
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All surgery leaves scars
Anytime a cut is made in the skin, a scar is left behind. This is true with all types of surgery. Gynaecomastia surgery is no exception. The good news is the gynaecomastia scar usually heals nicely in most patients. 1,2
What is gynaecomastia surgery?
Gynaecomastia surgery is a cosmetic procedure that removes the excess glandular tissue to sculpt a flat male chest. It is also known as male breast reduction.
Who needs gynaecomastia surgery?
The ideal candidates are healthy men with enlarged breasts that won’t go away despite diet and exercise.
Benefits of gynaecomastia surgery
Many men choose to have this surgery to:
- Remove the faulty breast gland
- Sculpt and shape a flatter chest
- Make it easier to wear their preferred clothing styles
- Improve upper body proportions
- Feel less embarrassed about their chest size 3,4,5
- Avoid wearing layers to hide gynaecomastia
How does gynaecomastia surgery work?
Gynaecomastia surgery removes the overactive breast gland to stop breast growth. In addition to removing the gland, Doctor Bernard performs chest liposuction to remove excess fat and sculpt a defined male chest.
Does gynaecomastia surgery leave a scar?
Yes, there is a scar. One small study found that in approximately 96 percent of patients, the surgical scar was hardly noticeable once healed.1 Extensive scarring may occur in some cases.6 It all depends on the complexity of the surgery, differences in anatomy and individual differences in healing. Patients with a history of keloid scars or those with post-operative complications such as an infection may end up with a more obvious scar.
Types of incisions during gynaecomastia surgery
Scar size depends on the type of gynaecomastia procedure that is performed.
Diagnosis often starts with a chest self-exam. If you feel a rubbery enlargement behind your areola that differs from the fatty tissue around it, you may have true gynaecomastia. The rubbery enlargement is the breast gland itself, which has a tough, firm texture.
If the gland is palpable, it may be a sign of gynaecomastia. A doctor must confirm the diagnosis before treatment can begin. Diet and exercise won’t make the gland smaller. Treatments may include addressing the underlying causes of gynaecomastia, which may be linked to medications, hormonal changes or even steroid use. Gynaecomastia surgery only treats the cosmetic concerns linked to male breast enlargement.
During the operation, Dr Beldholm removes the gland, excess breast tissue and fat to create a more masculine-looking chest. A small cut is placed beneath the areola. The gland is removed through this incision. A tiny incision is made for the liposuction, about four to five millimeters in diameter. Because the incisions are small, the scars are hardly visible once healed. 1,2
Pseudo-gynaecomastia causes feminine-looking breasts in men. Excess chest fat is to blame; The gland is not enlarged. Some men are simply unlucky in terms of genetics. Due to family history, some men store extra fat in the chest area. Other men struggle with diet and exercise. This increases fat tissue, causing male breasts to develop.
Gynaecomastia surgery can be performed in some cases. Since the breast gland is normal, it is not removed. Instead, Doctor Bernard performs liposuction to reduce chest fat.
Please note that gynaecomastia surgery is not a substitute for diet and exercise. Men that reach a stable body weight tend to have better results. Many men take a year to reach their ideal weight through diet and exercise before pursuing gynaecomastia surgery to fine-tune the results.
The scars from chest liposuction are usually minimal. Doctor Bernard makes a small incision, about four to five millimeters. That is smaller than the size of a pea.
Gynaecomastia after massive weight loss
Men that lose a substantial amount of weight may struggle with massive gynaecomastia, also called severe gynaecomastia. Breast drooping and chest sagging are a common side effect of weight loss. Treatments may include extensive gynaecomastia surgery or an upper thoracic lift.
Those operations leave significant scars. While the scars are more extensive than a standard gynaecomastia surgery, many men are willing to trade a scar in exchange for a masculine chest. It is unlikely that the gynaecomastia will come back, as long as the patient maintains a stable weight.
Gynaecomastia scar progress
Surgery scars heal in stages. Gynaecomastia scars tend to lighten over time in most cases, although there are exceptions and the scar will never completely disappear.
Scar progress: 1 to 4 weeks
Right after surgery, the scar may look red and angry. Swelling and inflammation are visible. The dissolving sutures make the scar feel raised and hard. It’s not time to start scar treatments yet. The first few weeks is all about keeping the scar clean and protected to avoid infection. Aftercare instructions are provided to ensure the incision heals well.
Scar progress: 1 to 3 months
The scar may look dark red or brown, depending on skin tone. The sutures have dissolved. The scar starts to flatten in most cases. It is still early on in healing. Scar treatments may begin. There are many over-the-counter scar treatments. Doctor Bernard may suggest some options, such as silicone strips. The strips promote skin hydration for good healing.
Scar progress: 3 to 6 months
Pronounced scar redness usually tends to last three to six months. During this time, most men find it easy to hide the gynaecomastia scar in clothes. The good news is the scar usually continues to fade over time.
Scar progress: 7 to 12 months
Redness usually starts to lighten and fade at this stage. 7. The scars typically start to lose pigment and blend with the surrounding skin. 8. Once it heals up, the scar is hardly visible in most cases. 1
Scar progress: 1 to 2 years
It can take one to two years for redness to fade completely. 8. A mature scar often has a smooth texture and different color than nearby skin. Loss of pigment is likely to be permanent.
In most patients, the scar heals to a fine line. 7. A history of poor scar healing, such as keloids, should be discussed with your surgeon prior to surgery.
Gynaecomastia scar care
Aftercare supports good scar healing.
Proper scar care is vital to a good cosmetic result. All surgery leaves scars, and it’s important for the scar to look good. The scar shouldn’t be obvious. It shouldn’t detract from the cosmetic results.
Many scar treatments work by keeping the skin hydrated. Always follow the surgeon’s instructions regarding when to begin scar treatments.
Topical scar gels with ingredients such as vitamin E and centella asiatica are popular. Because the chest area is covered by clothing much of the day, scar gel can be messy or ruin clothes.
Silicone sheets for scars
Silicone sheets are a mess-free alternative to scar gel. These soft, flexible strips are placed over the scar to keep it hydrated.
Laser Genesis scar reduction
Doctor Bernard offers Laser Genesis to improve scarring. This non-invasive scar treatment helps to fade scars by improving texture and eliminating redness. 9
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Should I be concerned about the gynaecomastia scar?
Men who are considering gynaecomastia surgery should be made aware that there is a scar. In a basic gynaecomastia surgery, it is often difficult for an untrained eye to see the scars once healed, especially since the scars are easily hidden in most clothing styles. 1,2. Post-weight loss patients may require a more extensive surgery to tighten chest skin, which results in a larger scar. In Dr Beldholm’s experience, most of his gynaecomastia patients say they are willing to accept the scar in exchange for a flat, masculine chest.
What’s the big deal about man boobs?
Gynaecomastia is a big deal to some men. Enlarged breasts are typically viewed as a feminine trait. Men with gynaecomastia often feel embarrassed to go to the gym. They’re shy about going shirtless or wearing a singlet. Beach days, swimming pools, intimacy and locker rooms can cause anxiety. 3,4,5
In severe cases, some gynaecomastia sufferers hide from the world. 3. They avoid going out and socializing. They are the wallflower at parties. They sit in a lounge chair fully clothed at the beach or pool while everyone else jumps in for a swim. They miss out on activities. They miss out on bonding with friends. They may shy away from intimacy or live in fear of being ridiculed.
Getting teased in the locker room or sauna is something a man can laugh off in the moment, but it hurts deep down. Even if it only happened once or twice, some men never forget it. In truth, male chest enlargement is not funny. Some men feel they cannot talk about it with others. The problem may feel too personal or embarrassing.
Gynaecomastia surgery cannot treat mental health issues, nor will it directly improve social skills or relationships. It can, however, make a man’s chest look more traditionally masculine. For some men that choose to have gynaecomastia surgery, the resulting scar may be an acceptable trade-off.
Disclaimer: Individual results vary. All surgery carries risks. Seek a second opinion from a qualified health practitioner before proceeding.