All You Need to Know About Gynecomastia

What is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a condition of over-developed or enlarged tissue of the male breast. It can be common during infancy, puberty and in middle-aged to older men. This condition differs from lipomastia, which refers to the presence of fat deposits in the breast area of obese men. Gynecomastia may have nothing to do with weight, diet or lifestyle.

Though gynecomastia is usually not a serious problem, it can be tough to cope with physically and psychologically. Often men and boys may experience pain in their breasts and may feel embarrassed.

What Causes Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is thought to be an altered ratio of estrogens to androgens mediated by an increase in estrogen production, a decrease in androgen production or a combination of these two factors; this is usually the case for teenagers and children. Adolescent males are often teased, which can negatively affect their self-confidence.

In adult males, gynecomastia is usually caused by other conditions such liver or lung cancer, overactive thyroid or hormone problems such as pituitary or testicular cancer. The use of certain medications may also cause gynecomastia, including:

  • Steroids
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Medicines that treat epilepsy
  • Medicines used to treat ulcers
  • Antianxiety and antidepressant medications
  • Drug abuse such as alcohol and heroin

What are the Symptoms?

Men or boys with gynecomastia will have enlarged breasts with a rubbery texture. Breast buds are common in adolescent boys during puberty and tend to go away within the first year.

How is Gynecomastia Diagnosed?

Gynecomastia can usually be diagnosed by a physical exam. Your doctor will ask questions about your medical and drug history and what health conditions run in the family. If there is any concern about cancer, a lump can be checked with a biopsy or surgery. Initial tests to determine the cause of your gynecomastia may include blood tests or mammograms.

Are There Any Risks Associated with Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is not physically harmful, but in some cases it may be an indicator of other more serious underlying conditions. The condition frequently presents social and psychological difficulties such as low self-esteem or shame for the sufferer. Weight loss can alter the condition in cases triggered by obesity, but losing weight will not affect the glandular component, and patients cannot target these areas for weight loss. Massive weight loss can result in sagging chest tissue known as chest ptosis.

Men with gynecomastia are five times more likely to develop male breast cancer when compared to the general population. It is believed that gynecomastia itself is not a precancerous condition, but the hormonal changes that produce gynecomastia in adult men may also increase their risk of developing breast cancer.

Surgery and Treatment

Recognizing the problem that some men may face with gynecomastia, Dr. Camberos and Dr. Batra offer male breast reduction in San Diego and Del Mar. This procedure can create a flatter, more masculine chest appearance.

In treating chronic gynecomastia, surgical removal or the glandular breast tissue is usually required. Surgical approaches to the treatment of gynecomastia include subcutaneous mastectomy and liposuction assisted mastectomy. Plastic surgery to correct gynecomastia is technically called reduction mammoplasty.

Gynecomastia Surgery Candidates

Surgery candidates include:

  • Men whose condition cannot be corrected through alternative medical treatments
  • Healthy individuals who do not have a life threatening illness or medical condition
  • Non-smokes and non-drug users
  • Men who are physically healthy and or relatively normal weight
  • Men with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for improving the physical symptoms of gynecomastia
  • Men who have realistic expectations
  • Men whose breast development has stabilized
  • Men who are bothered by the feeling that their breasts are too large or feminine

Adolescents may benefit from the procedure, although a secondary procedure may be necessary in the future should breast development continue.

Preparing for Gynecomastia Surgery

In preparation for the procedure, you may be asked to:
Get lab testing or a medical evaluation from primary doctor
Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
Stop smoking
Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding.

Gynecomastia Surgery and Recovery

Gynecomastia surgery generally takes two hours and consists of fine gauge liposuction of the chest area along with excision of the breast tissue.

The recovery period generally requires seven to ten days. Dressings or bandages will be applied to incisions during the gynecomastia surgery recovery. An elastic bandage or support garment may be used to minimize swelling and support your new chest contour as it heals after surgery.

You will be given specific instructions that may include caring for the surgical site and drains and using medications to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection.

It is very important to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.

Recovering at Home

Following your surgeon’s instructions is essential to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion or motion during the time of healing.

Coastal Plastic Surgeons is here to help you through the entire surgical and healing process.

Coastal Plastic Surgeons is a highly acclaimed Plastic and Reconstructive surgery practice located in Del Mar, California. Dr. Batra and Dr. Camberos have a combined surgical experience of nearly 30 years and are highly regarded for their expertise in plastic surgery.

They have received many accolades from their peers in the medical community and have been voted Top Plastic Surgeons by the San Diego County Medical Society. Remember, the most important factor in your outcome is the surgeon you choose. We proudly serve the San Diego and Temecula areas.

Book your consultation online or call (858) 365-3558 to schedule today.