AFC for Men

Male Mastectomy Aesthetics

It’s a lesser known fact that men also have breast glandular tissue (albeit much less than women) and can therefore get breast cancer. About 1 in 800 diagnoses of breast cancer are in male patients – that may seem like a small number, but it represents thousands of patients every year in the United States alone. For more information about specific risk factors, differences in diagnosis and treatments about male breast cancer, the following resources are helpful:

Chiara and Rod, Project LEAD grads, at La Jolla 2018
Photo: Annie Dennison.  Instagram  @barbieslosingit

As with female mastectomy patients, men can have concerns about the appearance of their chest wall after surgery. For most men, aesthetic flat closure is sufficient (with or without a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy). Additional reconstruction of the chest wall beyond an aesthetic flat closure is typically delayed (rather than immediate) but similar surgical techniques are used in male and female patients – autologous tissue transfer, and implants. One difference is that men electing implant reconstruction may need a smaller, custom implant made (more).

“Unfortunately, very little information is available on male breast reconstruction and few men know breast reconstruction is even an option.”

Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo

If you’re a man facing mastectomy, your aesthetics matter as much as YOU feel they matter.

The bottom line is that your surgeon should go over all of your options with you, and take your priorities seriously. If you aren’t satisfied with the reconstructive options your surgeon has presented to you, you have the right to a second opinion. You deserve an aesthetic result you can live with!

A note about insurance coverage: while some male patients have reported pushback from their insurance companies, the federal law requiring most insurance companies to cover the costs associated with post-mastectomy reconstruction applies to men as well as women. Unfortunately, the language isn’t crystal clear about chest wall reconstruction. Your plastic surgeon’s office should be equipped to deal with the appeals & denials process; if not, you may need to find a new surgeon.

Further Reading

Male Breast Reconstruction (MBCC)

Men’s Nipple Tattoo – What’s Male Areola Reconstruction Like?

Male Breast Cancer: “I Tried to Cut Off My Breast”

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