By Dr. Frank Lista, MD., FRCSC., Medical Director and Founder, The Plastic Surgery Clinic
Over the 26 years that have passed since I first opened The Plastic Surgery Clinic, I’ve seen a lot of changes, and not only in cosmetic surgery techniques, technology, and trends. While it used to be uncommon to see male patients in my office two decades ago, men now make up one third of my consultations. The most common reason they come to see me is because of gynecomastia, the clinical term for man boobs, or “moobs” as they are sometimes unfortunately called. Gynecomastia is a condition where men develop excess breast tissue that doesn’t respond to diet or exercise and therefore requires surgical intervention for removal.
Today I had a consultation about male breast reduction and a common question came up that I thought would be great to share with other inquiring minds. This man wanted to know: can man boobs grow back after gynecomastia surgery? This is a really important consideration when you are thinking about investing your time, money, and wellbeing in a surgical procedure.
We perform as many as 300 male breast reductions a year at The Plastic Surgery Clinic, and in my experience, it’s very unusual for patients to experience a re-growth of the breast tissue that is corrected surgically. I would say that gynecomastia does not typically recur without some kind of inciting cause. When we perform gynecomastia correction, we don’t remove absolutely all of the fatty tissue or breast tissue because that would give a very unnatural looking, overcorrected result. This remaining tissue is still susceptible to weight gain, hormonal imbalance, steroid use, marijuana use – all factors known to contribute to excess breast tissue in men. If any of these factors played a role previously in the patient’s medical history, it’s important to make sure that they are properly managed post-operatively to prevent gynecomastia recurrence.
For the most part, though, cases of gynecomastia are idiopathic, meaning we just don’t know what’s causing it. In those cases, after male breast reduction is performed, the results are long lasting or permanent so long as there is no significant weight gain. Most patients are very happy with the outcome of the procedure and the need for revisionary surgery is extremely uncommon. A flatter, firmer, and better contoured chest is achievable and maintainable after male breast reduction.
So, long story short, if you’re a male breast reduction candidate and are worried about the return of man boobs, you really don’t need to be. While gynecomastia recurrence is possible, it is exceedingly rare and can usually be avoided by ensuring that any underlying causes have been sufficiently determined and properly managed. You really can get rid of it for good and never have to hear the word “moobs” again.