What are the Surgical Risks for Gynecomastia Surgery?

If you’re considering gynecomastia surgery, also called male breast reduction surgery, you may have some questions. Many San Francisco Bay Area men ask Dr. Delgado about the risks associated with gynecomastia surgery. Any surgical procedure is associated with some risks, and gynecomastia surgery comes with its own. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce these risks and potential complications and enjoy a smooth, successful procedure. Read on to learn more about the possible risks associated with this procedure and how to best prevent complications.


Gynecomastia causes enlarged male breasts in boys, teens, and men. This is a somewhat common condition that can affect one or both breasts, creating the appearance of “man boobs” or large male breasts. The most common cause of gynecomastia is hormonal imbalance, though it may also be caused by certain medications or drugs. And while it is not a life-threatening condition, it can take a significant toll on self-esteem and mental health. Because of this, many patients living with gynecomastia seek out gynecomastia surgery to improve their self-confidence.

For those with male breasts, surgical intervention is often the most effective solution to correct gynecomastia. Surgery is done to remove glandular tissue, excess fat, and excess skin from the chest to create a more masculine chest contour. In most cases, surgery is performed under general anesthesia and is done on an outpatient basis. Dr. Delgado will thoroughly explain the treatment options and techniques during a consultation. You will be given specific instructions regarding recovery, the healing process, and compression garments to ensure optimal results.


To understand the risks, it’s important to understand what goes on during this plastic surgery procedure. It typically uses general anesthesia, although some types of procedures can be performed using local anesthesia (in the case of Dr. Delgado’s two-stage procedure). To begin, an incision is created in the breast area, and excess breast tissue is removed. It also typically involves removing excess fat, sometimes using liposuction. Depending on the grade of gynecomastia, the nipple may be repositioned and the deeper structures may be manipulated. Once complete, you’ll return home for your recovery time.

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I highly recommend Dr. Delgado if you are considering gynecomastia surgery!

– Michael Cruz

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I had the procedure completed about 2 months ago and I am very pleased with the outcome. My chest finally looks the way I’ve wanted it to look for years. The muscle definition is finally there and I can wear tighter fitting shirts and workout gear without the discomfort of feeling self conscious about my chest.

726+ Reviews

I highly recommend Dr. Delgado if you are considering gynecomastia surgery!

– Michael Cruz

I had the procedure completed about 2 months ago and I am very pleased with the outcome. My chest finally looks the way I’ve wanted it to look for years. The muscle definition is finally there and I can wear tighter fitting shirts and workout gear without the discomfort of feeling self conscious about my chest.


When it comes to surgery in general, there will always be risks involved, including excessive bleeding (hematoma), infection, blood clots, and adverse events related to anesthesia. Specifically for male breast reduction surgery, the most common complication would be a hematoma, which can be avoided by stopping using blood thinners at least two weeks before and after surgery, avoiding physical activities for a few months, and screening your medical history for any medical condition which might cause excessive bleeding. The additional potential risks would be:

·       Breast asymmetry: Swelling can lead to breast asymmetry following surgery, which should resolve as swelling and inflammation resolve during the recovery period. Wearing a compression garment according to directions can help prevent this.

·       Nipple inversion: Inflammation in the ducts under the nipples can cause nipple inversion. However, this should resolve over time. Again, following directions to reduce swelling can help prevent this risk.

·       Loss of sensation: Many nerves travel through the breast to the nipple, and during surgery, some of these nerves may be cut or injured. This may lead to a loss of nipple sensation. Thankfully, not all of these nerves should be damaged during surgery, which means that most patients experience a return in sensation over time.

·       Scarring: Because incisions are created during this procedure, the risk of scarring is present.

·       Seroma: This is an accumulation of clear fluid under the skin and can be uncomfortable. However, drains are placed following surgery to reduce the risk of seroma.

·       Loose skin: In cases where a significant amount of gland tissue or fat is removed from the breasts, loose skin can occur and cause contour irregularities. Dr. Delgado may recommend excess skin removal if he thinks this may be the case.

·       Pain: Pain is a risk of any surgery and can be managed with medications prescribed by Dr. Delgado. If pain becomes significant, it can be a sign of another more serious complication.

Following your procedure, it’s extremely important to keep Dr. Delgado informed of any noticeable changes such as excessive swelling, bleeding, or bruising. The way that complications are managed determines the outcome. When treated immediately, there are almost no permanent negative results.


One way of reducing risks is choosing a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon for your procedure. This involves choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Delgado who has ample experience performing gynecomastia surgery. A qualified healthcare provider will take time to thoroughly screen good candidates and recommend the appropriate treatment option to reduce unnecessary risks. Your surgeon’s experience directly correlates with a lower risk and chance of complications, and a higher chance you will receive natural-looking results.

A board-certified plastic surgeon with their own private surgery center is an even better choice. There are many benefits to having surgery in a private surgery center such as Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center, where quality control and fewer ongoing surgeries mean less chance of infection. In short, taking the time to do ample research before choosing a surgeon is key.


Your first step toward learning if a gynecomastia procedure is right for you is through an initial consultation with Miguel Delgado, MD. With more than 30 years of surgical experience, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Delgado specializes in gynecomastia surgery to improve the lives of his patients. If you are interested in learning more about gynecomastia procedures in the San Francisco and Bay Area, contact Dr. Delgado today. He also offers virtual consultations, which allows those from out of state a one-on-one consultation experience.

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· Zavlin, D., Jubbal, K.T., Friedman, J.D. et al. Complications and Outcomes After Gynecomastia Surgery: Analysis of 204 Pediatric and 1583 Adult Cases from a National Multi-center Database. Aesth Plast Surg 41, 761–767 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00266-017-0833-z

· Prasetyono, T.O.H., Budhipramono, A.G. & Andromeda, I. Liposuction Assisted Gynecomastia Surgery With Minimal Periareolar Incision: a Systematic Review. Aesth Plast Surg 46, 123–131 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00266-021-02520-z

· Innocenti, A., Melita, D. & Dreassi, E. Incidence of Complications for Different Approaches in Gynecomastia Correction: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Aesth Plast Surg 46, 1025–1041 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00266-022-02782-1


Dr. Delgado, MD is a world-recognized plastic surgeon and specialist in the treatment of male breast enlargement, also called gynecomastia. He has developed new techniques and owns and operates gynecomastia.org, which has become the largest gynecomastia forum in the world. Dr. Delgado holds the two most coveted credentials; the certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgery.

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