It is not uncommon for men to develop breast-tissue during puberty, times of rapid weight gain, while using steroids, or during middle age. This development of male breast tissue is clinically referred to as gynecomastia. Depending on the severity of each case, there are multiple gynecomastia treatment options, each involving some level of invasive surgery.
Most doctors recommend that patients be at least 18 years old before undergoing corrective surgery. Most gynecomastia that develops during puberty will resolve itself shortly after adolescence. Gynecomastia acquired through weight gain may be reduced by weight loss, but often does not go away entirely. Causes of gynecomastia include:
- Hormonal changes such as puberty
- Certain medications, including steroids
- Chronic liver disease
- Thyroid disorders
- Genetic disorders
- Klinefelter Syndrome
- Gilbert’s Syndrome
In most cases the condition is not a symptom of disease, but it is important to rule out the possibility and, if another health problem is involved, address the underlying cause before attempting breast reduction. Gynecomastia usually occurs symmetrically in both breasts. In some men it will only affect one breast. This should be considered a warning sign that an underlying disease, such as cancer, may be present.
Gynecomastia is treated with liposuction, glandular excision, or a combination of both. An enlarged breast that is caused only by excess fat tissue can be treated with liposuction alone. This is often referred to as pseudo-gynecomastia. True gynecomastia is caused by excessive glandular tissue, which must be surgically removed. It is common for men who have gynecomastia to have both excess fat and excess glandular tissue requiring a combination procedure to correct the condition.
Gynecomastia can have a serious psychological and emotional impact. However, most insurance companies still consider it a “cosmetic problem” and do not cover treatment. If it is a congenital condition or causes physical pain, some insurance companies may cover treatment.
If you have or feel that you may be developing gynecomastia, talk to an experienced cosmetic surgeon today.