Sabelo Maepa*, the Mpumalanga man who has developed boobs, is to undergo plastic surgery at the Johannesburg Hospital.

Hundreds of men undergo male breast reduction surgery every year, according to Ingrid Lomas, chief executive of Surgical Attractions.

Photo before surgical procedure

BEFORE AND AFTER: An example of how the liposuction surgical procedure can reduce enlarged breasts in a man.

Photo after surgical procedure

Surgical Attractions is a South African medical tourism company that offers specialist cosmetic or plastic surgery, recuperation and rejuvenation holiday packages.

Maepa, a married father of one, will undergo liposuction.

Liposuction is a surgical procedure in which a narrow tube called a cannula is inserted through short incisions and is used to break up the fat under the skin.

The fat and tissue are then sucked out through the tube using a vacuum device.

Maepa, 42, who was diagnosed HIV-positive in April, said his breasts started developing a month after he started taking Stavudine, a type of antiretroviral (ARV).

The Standerton Hospital has since put him on another class of ARV, Zidovudine.

“The procedure will remove fat and or glandular tissue from the breasts, and in extreme cases remove excess skin, resulting in a chest that is flatter, firmer and better contoured,” said plastic surgeon Roger Mixter.

You may feel that not enough tissue was removed or that you were left with too much scarring.

“Maepa should discuss with his surgeon how he wants to look afterwards,” Mixter said.

He said after the male breast reduction surgery, Maepa will need to wear a compression garment to compress the chest. This elastic vest-like garment will help minimize swelling and promote healing.

“In some cases, the surgeon may insert a plastic tube in the treated area to allow it to drain for a few days,” said Mixter.

This drain is removed a few days after surgery.

“If you have diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure, they should be under control before you have the procedure.

“You should be in good mental and emotional balance since undergoing any surgery can be trying. Some men go through a period of depression after any surgery, and this can worsen any pre-existing mental condition.

“You will be sore and bruised for a few days after the surgery. Scars will look very prominent for some time, but then they will fade,” said Mixter.

*Sabelo Maepa is not his real name.