Male Breast Reduction (Gynecomastia Surgery)in Boston

Helena O. Taylor MD, Ph.D., FACS & Stephen R. Sullivan MD, MPH, FACS Named Among The Best Board Certified Plastic Surgeons in Boston

What is Gynecomastia?

Male Breast Reduction Bosotn

Gynecomastia is excess fat and breast tissue resulting in a less masculine appearing chest. While most infant boys have some degree of gynecomastia, prominent breast tissue in teenagers and older men can cause embarrassment or insecurity.

Patients often avoid certain clothes or activities that might reveal their chest. There are a number of causes including genetics, hormones, anabolic steroids or marijuana exposure. While diet and exercise, and avoidance of steroids and marijuana may all be helpful, some patients require surgery for correction. Gynecomastia surgery or Male Breast Reduction Surgery removes the redundant tissue and restore a masculine appearing chest.

Boston male breast reduction surgeons, Dr. Taylor and Sullivan, have helped many men overcome gynecomastia. If you or someone you know is considering a male breast reduction, we welcome you to schedule a consultation to discuss the options available.

Male Breast Reduction At A Glance


  • Restores masculine appearance
  • Removes excess breast tissue


  • Years


2-3 Hours


Sedation (sleepy) or General Anesthesia (asleep)


  • Comfortably at home
  • Most swelling resolves – 6-10 weeks


  • 5-7 days


  • 5-7 days


  • Activities of daily living – 1 day
  • Light exercise – 2-3 week
  • Full exercise and contact sports – 6 weeks

About Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is typically considered a cosmetic issue resulting from a local imbalance of hormones. Anabolic steroids, marijuana and some medications have been implicated in the development of gynecomastia. Often there is no precipitating factor except genetics. Very rarely it can be the result of testicular tumors.

Whatever the cause, it is not uncommon that cosmetic surgery is one’s best option for the reversal of the physical appearance of gynecomastia. Gynecomastia can be graded by severity, and the severity determines the surgical approach.

How is Gynecomastia classified?

Grade of Gynecomastia is determined by the extent of breast tissue and skin excess.

  • Grade 1 - mild breast enlargement
  • Grade 2 - moderate breast enlargement with or without skin excess
  • Grade 3 - severe breast enlargement with significant excess skin

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Results of Gynecomastia Surgery?

Gynecomastia surgery can significantly improve and masculinize the chest contour. The goal is to maximally improve the change in shape, while minimizing scar as much as possible, though there is always a trade. Recurrence after excision would be unusual.

What Are the Risks of Gynecomastia Surgery?

All operations have some risk including asymmetry, contour irregularity, hematoma, infection, scarring, changes in feeling in the breast or nipple, and seroma.

Am I a Candidate for Male Breast Reduction?

If you have eliminated the potential causes of gynecomastia, and are at a reasonable height and weight and are still bothered by excessive breast tissue, gynecomastia surgery may be a good option. Gynecomastia in teenagers can resolve on its own, so it may be worth waiting and watching for 18 to 24 months in teenagers. As with most surgeries, an ideal candidate should be healthy, not smoke or use nicotine supplements, and have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or lower. If you would like to discuss your options for gynecomastia surgery, please schedule a consultation and we can discuss what might be best for you.

Male Breast Reduction Procedure

Gynecomastia Surgery Boston

Gynecomastia surgery is performed as a day surgery procedure under sedation or general anesthesia. The grade of gynecomastia, determined by the breast size and amount of extra skin, determines the surgical technique.

  • Grade 1 mild to moderate gynecomastia can be treated by removing breast tissue through a small semicircular incision at the edge of lower half of the nipple areolar complex. Liposuction may be used to gently smooth the contour surrounding the excision.
  • Grade 2 moderate gynecomastia, where there is more breast tissue and may be some skin laxity, often requires a transverse incision extending from the areola to remove excess skin. Liposuction will usually be used to gently smooth the contour surrounding the excision.
  • Grade 3 severe gynecomastia is treated with removal of breast tissue and skin, with placement of the scar along the inframammary fold, and grafting of the nipple areolar complex as well as gentle contouring with liposuction of the surrounding areas.

Dr. Taylor and Dr. Sullivan often work together to perform the operation, which takes two to three hours. Patients go home an hour or two after the completion of surgery in a compressive wrap.

Recovery from Male Breast Reduction Surgery

Boston gynecomastia surgery patients can recover quickly and return home on the same day. As with any surgery, some discomfort can be expected after your procedure. Pain management medications can be prescribed for a more comfortable recovery. Return to work can be as early as 3 to 5 days and exercising can begin within 3 weeks. A supportive garment will be worn for a few weeks postoperatively until the swelling begins to resolve.

With gynecomastia surgery Boston male breast reduction specialists, Dr. Taylor and Dr. Sullivan say that a profound impact can be made on a man’s self-esteem and confidence.

Contact us to learn how the Gynecomastia Surgery may help you to achieve your goals. Dr. Taylor & Dr. Sullivan will be pleased to meet with you in the comfort and privacy of their office. Schedule your consultation today.


Preoperatively, in the week before your male breast reduction operation:

  • Consider eating pineapple, it may help reduce bruising
  • Consider supplementing with Arnica montana, it may help reduce bruising
  • Complete household chores and prepare meals for the first few days of postoperative recovery
  • Follow preoperative instructions with eating, drinking, and medications

Postoperatively, after your male breast reduction operation:

  • You will need someone to take you home, and ideally stay with you for the first 24-48 hours, as you may feel drowsy. You may require help the first few times you get out of bed.
  • It is important to get out of bed and walk (with assistance) every few hours after your male breast reduction operation, while awake, to decrease the chance of postoperative problems such as blood clots.
  • Practice 15-20 deep breaths every hour to keep your lungs open.

Please take your medications as directed by Dr. Taylor or Dr. Sullivan to manage discomfort or symptoms following male breast reduction.

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 1000 mg every 8 hours, space doses 4 hours after Ibuprofen so one or the other is taken every 4 hours
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin) 800 mg or Colecoxib (Celebrex) 200 mg every 8 hours, space doses 4 hours after Acetaminophen so one or the other is taken every 4 hours
  • Gabapentin 300 mg every 8 hours for 7 days. If you have dizziness, double vision, or significant sleep disturbances, consider stopping the Gabapentin.
  • Vitamin C 500 mg daily for 50 days
  • Oxycodone 5 mg – 1-2 tablets every 6 hours as needed for pain, though many patients may not need it
  • Colace 100 mg twice daily to prevent constipation, it is important to have a bowel movement each day. Prune juice may also be helpful.
  • Zofran 8 mg every 8 hours if needed for nausea
  • Scopolamine patch may be placed on the neck on the day of surgery and can stay for 3 days to prevent nausea

Eat a light diet for 2-3 days and avoid spicy food. Some suggestions to ease abdominal discomfort or indigestion after surgery:

  • Drink water or warm liquids
  • Prune juice to prevent constipation


  • You may or may not have drains after male breast reduction. The drainage bulbs connected to the end of the drains should be compressed at all times to keep suction. It is normal for red fluid and blood clots to form in the drains. Please record time and amounts of drainage over a 24-hour period – we will provide a form. Usually the drains will be removed when the drainage is 30cc or less in a 24-hour period. All patients heal differently and according to many factors. On average, drains remain for a week.
  • If you had free nipple grafts, you may have yellow dressings sutured in place and covering the nipple. Please leave these in place and avoid getting them wet.
  • You may shower or sponge bath the day after the operation with assistance and wash your skin as you normally would with soap and water. Avoid soaking the incision, although It will not hurt to get a splash of water on the wounds. Gently pat dry after washing. If you have yellow bolster dressings after a free nipple graft, do not get any water on the dressings.
  • Wear the chest ACE wraps or compression garments continuously for 3 weeks after surgery, then for 12 hours of each day for an additional 3 weeks, and thereafter as needed for comfort. You can take them off to shower. The first time you remove the ACE wraps or garments, please have someone help you. If you feel dizzy or light headed, sit down or lie down. The garment helps control swelling and fluid build-up. You may choose to leave them in place until you see Dr. Sullivan or Dr. Taylor for your first postoperative visit.
  • Most wounds after male breast reduction will be closed with absorbable sutures that are buried and skin glue. The skin glue forms a barrier to water. Please do not remove the glue, it will fall off on its own after a few weeks. Do not apply any lotions, potions, ointments, creams or solutions (e.g. no hydrogen peroxide or alcohol) as they can be harmful to the fragile healing tissue.
  • Do not smoke or expose yourself to smokers or nicotine as skin and wounds can be compromised.
  • Infection is uncommon, though please call Dr. Taylor or Dr. Sullivan immediately at any sign of infection which would be signaled by fever, increased pain, new redness or swelling in the abdominal area.


  • For the first few days following male breast reduction surgery, avoid raising your blood pressure or heart rate as it can cause bleeding. We recommend gentle range of motion exercises with your arms 3 to 5 times per day starting the day of the operation.
  • Please do not drive until turning the steering wheel can be done safely and without pain (usually 5 to 7 days). Do not drive while taking pain medications such as oxycodone.
  • Do not lift anything heavier than 10-20 lbs, run, lift weights, or perform strenuous exercise for 7-10 days. Do not perform chest muscle exercises or strenuous bouncing exercises for 6 weeks.
  • Massage can help increase circulation and soften firm areas under the skin. Please wait at least 3 to 4 weeks after male breast reduction surgery to start massage to avoid increased swelling.


  • Moderate swelling and bruising of your chest is to be expected. Please be patient. The swelling and feeling of tightness will gradually subside over the following weeks. The compression garment will help with swelling. Bruising may last for a few weeks and will move down your body due to gravity.
  • The incisions often appear lumpy and bumpy. This is normal and the incisions will flatten over a few weeks.
  • The nipples can be inverted rather than projecting outward. This is normal and the nipples will usually project again within a few days to weeks.
  • The areola can appear asymmetric or irregularly shaped. This is normal and is due to the dissolving suture - similar to the way a draw string works on a garbage bag. Please be patient, the irregular shape and asymmetry will resolve over a few weeks.
  • Sensations like numbness, shooting pain, and burning are common during the healing process, may last several weeks, and gradually disappear. If the nipples are sensitive after male breast reduction, it is best to desensitize them with gentle touch.
  • Scars take one full year to mature. You may notice that they become red, raised and firm for several weeks to months before becoming soft, flat and pale. Avoid Vitamin E as it can irritate the scar. Mederma has no proven benefit and is not worth the expense. All incisions will be sensitive to sunlight during the healing phase. Direct sun contact or tanning booths are to be avoided. Silicone cream or skin moisturizer with sunscreen and gentle massage may be helpful.
  • Please call our office (617-492-0620) if you have:
    • Continuous bleeding
    • Significantly more swelling on one side when compared to the other
    • Worsening pain
    • Fever, spreading redness or irritation of the skin
    • Shortness of breath

It is important to be seen by Dr. Taylor or Dr. Sullivan after your male breast reduction operation. They will see you in follow-up appointments at 1 week, 3-6 months, and 1 year or as often as needed post-op. Call to schedule your appointments at Taylor & Sullivan Plastic Surgery office at (617) 492-0620 between the hours of 8:30 – 5:00 or visit our webpage at We are always available for postoperative concerns or emergencies and can be reached through our paging service 24 hours per day at (617) 492-0620.


Call Today 617.492.0620

To schedule a private consultation with Dr. Taylor or Dr. Sullivan, please call the office or request an appointment using our form. We welcome your visit and your questions.

300 Mount Auburn St. Ste 304, Cambridge, MA 02138

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