Can You Fix The Way My Chest Looks After Weight Loss From Bariatric Surgery?

Q: I am interested in some form of gynecomastia surgery. At one time I was much heavier and have lost a lot of weight through the help of bariatric surgery several years ago. Since the weight loss, much of my chest has not only gone flat but it sags with nipples that are very stretched out. My chest needs to be reshaped. Help!

A: Chest changes after weight loss are common in men. Men suffer a deflation of the chest soft tissues after bariatric surgery which is magnified by the usual presence of weight-related gynecomastia. This results in a skin sag with enlarged nipples that is particularly unflattering in a man.

Correction of this type of male chest wall change is not really gynecomastia surgery per se. There is usually not much fat or breast tissue to contend with. Rather it is more like a breast lift in a female. Skin needs to be removed and tightened and the nipple needs to be lifted and usually made smaller. If the skin sag is very minor, a circumareolar skin lift with nipple reduction can be made. This has the advantage of keeping the scar relegated to around the nipple area. More significant chest skin sag, however, needs a skin excision pattern that goes beyond the nipple. This is always problematic in men where scars are not well hidden in the more flat topography of the male chest.

Chest wall reshaping is usually the second most requested change (abdominoplasty is number one) in men who have had gastric bypass.

 Dr. Barry Eppley