Can You Get Gynaecomastia On The NHS

Wanting or requiring a breast reduction is not something solely reserved for the female population. Men can also suffer from abnormally oversized or swollen breasts, or 'man-boobs', and often seek to have them reduced or removed.

medically-termed gynaecomastia. It is thought that up to 10% of men may be affected by the condition though it is rarely talked about in openly due to the perceived social embarrassment that can result.

Why Would You Need To Reduce Your Man-Boobs?

Two common forms are associated with the bodily state:

  • One where actual breast tissue forms underneath the nipple, often due to increased levels of oestrogen in the male body, causing puffiness and protrusion.
  • One which is mainly linked to obesity.

However, solutions are at hand when seeking to scale down breast size, one of which is the same procedure women would use to reduce their breast size: reduction mammoplasty.

In fact, even by 2001 the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that men requesting breast reduction treatment had leaped 142% in a decade.

Reduction mammoplasty is one option to choose should your life be negatively impacted by the large size of your chest. Often the psychological stress caused by embarrassment or unwanted attention causes debilitating self-consciousness and lack of self confidence, all of which has a knock-on effect on work and social life.

It can have several causes ranging from hormonal imbalance in adolescents and poor diet to obesity and the side effect of medication or recreational drugs. Rarely, it can even be linked to tumours and a poorly functioning liver.

Whatever the cause, unusually-shaped male breasts can be tackled by surgery, but the question is where you go to get it done, can you address your Gynaecomastia on the NHS?

gynaecomastia man

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NHS Versus Private

The good news is that there are options to treat gynaecomastia on the NHS for all genders, however there are certain conditions to meet to be eligible as a male with gynaecomastia.

Gynaecomastia On The NHS

Frequently, the NHS considers an operation to reduce the size of your breasts is based on an aesthetic reason rather than medical one. Therefore it is vital you can prove that the procedure is necessary for the good of your health and well-being. In the case of you wanting to reduce the size of your male breasts for purely aesthetic purposes the NHS would normally turn down your request and suggest you visit a private plastic surgeon.

However, where a case can be made that the condition is affecting you psychologically, it would be expected that first attempts are made to reduce the breasts with an improved diet and exercise.

Where improvements fail to manifest then a case can be made for you to receive treatment following these requirements:

  • Your GP refers you for a consultation, perhaps even after placing you on a course of prescription drugs.
  • A consultation with a plastic surgeon and possibly an assessment by a psychiatrist or psychologist, importantly to judge if your mental health is seriously being undermined by the size of your male breasts.
  • Taking into account the findings of your GP's initial referral and the subsequent psychological assessment you undergo, a decision as to whether the NHS will cover the costs of you having the surgery will be made.

Private Gynaecomastia

Where NHS treatment is refused, there is an alternative option - to go private. Whilst it is a costly procedure (treatment running into between £3000 and £8000 depending on clinic and required surgery) and not without side effects (visible scarring and loss of nipple sensitivity) you can be assured that you are receiving first class care and on a time-scale that fits with your lifestyle.

Whatever your final choice, your life post-treatment will hopefully improve, leaving a male chest that results in a more confident man.

NHS Surgery Criteria

surfer man at the beach

In order to qualify for male breast reduction surgery in the UK, patient's must demonstrate that surgery is the only viable solution, having attempted to decrease the breast tissue through diet and exercise.

In order to receive surgery on the NHS a referral is required from a GP who is likely to prescribe a drug treatment prior to surgical treatment. Medication to reduce male breast tissue can take several months to take effect and are not always guaranteed to be successful.

Results & Recovery

Due to the invasive nature and scope of the surgery full recovery can take a number of weeks as patients may experience bruising and swelling after the procedure.

Once the swelling has completely disappeared the results are a visibly flatter chest. It is worth noting that the results are not permanent if poor diet is resumed after the procedure.

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