What is the mortality rate or complication rate for gynecomastia gland excision under local anesthesia while awake?

Doctor Answers 9


Thank you for the question and you are probably at greater risk getting in your car and driving to your surgeons office then you are having gynecomastia surgery under general or local if you are in good health.

Dr. Corbin

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Complication rate for gynecomastia

Dear foreveryoung908,

Soft tissue procedures of this small magnitude performed under local anesthesia have an extremely low serious mortality or morbidity or complication rate. The risk of a mortality of a procedure performed under local anesthesia in a sterile environment is far smaller than 1 in 50,000 probably more in the order of 1 in several million. Generally, these fatal or serious conditions can be just idiosyncratic anaphylaxis or an allergy to medications used in the anesthetic and generally having a significant complication with local anesthetic procedure and soft tissue such as glandular excision is extremely safe.

I think you want to ensure that you visit your plastic surgeon and discuss these issues with him. You would probably want to ensure that the blood tests, cardiogram and electrolytes are all normal and that the doctor has all the necessary equipment in their facility to manage an extremely rare but untoward event.

I hope this information is of some assistance and best of luck.

R. Stephen Mulholland, M.D.
Certified Plastic Surgeon
Yorkville, Toronto

R. Stephen Mulholland, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Risks Associated with Gynecomastia Surgery

The treatment of gynecomastia involves removing the tissue that is causing the chest to look puffy or enlarged. In most cases this involves removing 100% of the breast tissue. However, sometimes a very small amount of tissue may need to be left behind to avoid any contour abnormalities. For this reason, it is always discussed with patients that if they continue steroid use after surgery there is a chance that gynecomastia may return, albeit to a lesser degree.
As with all cosmetic surgery, results will be rewarding if expectations are realistic. With any surgical procedure, there are some risks which your doctor will discuss with you during your consultation.There are three types of surgical treatment options available that treat gynecomastia. Your board-certified plastic surgeon will recommend the type best suited for you. The most important decision to be made before performing any surgical procedure is determining whether you are an ideal candidate. Weight, and more specifically body mass index (BMI), need to be considered when deciding. For instance, studies have shown that patients with BMI > 30kg/m sq (placing them in the obese category) have a higher complication rate. Therefore, it is important for patients to be as close as possible to their normal body weight prior to surgery.
 Not only will this decrease risks of complications, but will also enhance the aesthetic results. Further, normal body weight is different from one patient to another.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews


This procedure should be very safe.  Mortality should be nearly zero percent.  Morbidity from complications are related to your general medical conditions but should be acceptable.  Discuss your concerns with your surgeon.  

Jeffrey D. Wagner, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Gynecomastia repair while awake

Why would you want to have gynecomastia repair done under local anesthetic solution when you could do it while comfortably asleep. The breast tissues have multiple sensory nerves which make this surgery very tender to perform while you are awake. Moreover, why would you want to potentially compromise your results by having your surgeon be concerned about not hurting you rather than on ensuring optimum contour. Please see examples below.

Arian Mowlavi, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Gynecomastia Complications

Mortality rate would be incredibly low, probably lower that the risk of just getting  to the doctor's office. The morbidity/complication rate should be slightly less than IV sedation or general anesthetic due to their additives risk. Possible complications  resulting from gynecomastia surgery are not frequent but include -
  • Asymmetry during the healing process
  • Lumps or firmness under skin
  • Prolonged swelling (edema)
  • Skin Pigment changes
  • Prolonged redness of the incision
  • Loss of Nipple/Areola
  • Infection

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 150 reviews

Gynecomastia surgery under local

I prefer to use sedation or general for excision of male gynecomastia. The risks or mortality are extremely low, and morbidity like infection, fluid collection, skin loss, etc.. is pretty low.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 26 reviews


The mortality for the procedure is close to zero. This is a very safe procedure risks are related to the health of the patient.If you have significant medical issues they should be discussed with your surgeon prior to surgery.

Jay M. Pensler, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 14 reviews


The complication rate should be unrelated to the fact that it's being done under local anesthesia. It would be quite low and in-line with other surgical type procedures. 

Sherwood Baxt, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.