What is Gynecomastia?
The healthy male breast contains both fibrous glandular and adipose (fat) tissue. Gynecomastia is the medical term for swelling of the glandular breast tissue in men or boys, caused by a hormonal imbalance. It most often occurs during puberty, but can also appear later in life.
When an excess of subcutaneous fat is the cause of gynecomastia, the condition is referred to as pseudogynecomastia. Sometimes, the condition resolves on its own—or with weight loss, in the case of pseudogynecomastia—but for some men, the problem persists throughout their lives, and can even be painful. For many men, gynecomastia may also be a source of embarrassment.
Some men suffering from gynecomastia may feel their masculinity is compromised. The condition can be damaging to their self-esteem, and the may avoid certain situations such as going to the beach or the pool. Discomfort with the appearance of their chest may also cause some men to have difficulty in intimate situations. Luckily, if you have gynecomastia, you don't have to live with it. You have treatment options available to you.
How is Gynecomastia Treated?The first step to treating gynecomastia is to determine the cause. Only a physician can make this diagnosis. Your doctor will review your medical history, discuss any medical conditions you have or medications you're taking, and may order a blood test to check your hormone levels. Once your doctor has determined the cause of your gynecomastia, they'll be able to recommend an appropriate course of action. Generally, men with gynecomastia (or pseudogynecomastia) have three main options available:
- Excision: If you have true gynecomastia as a result of enlarged breast tissue, surgical excision may be necessary to remove the excess tissue. This option is not available at TCC. Please consult with your regular physician.
- Weight Loss and Toning: If you have pseudogynecomastia as a result of dramatic weight gain or obesity, losing weight and then performing exercises to tighten and tone your chest may help alleviate the condition. Unfortunately, even if you reduce the amount of fat in your chest, you may be left with excess skin. In this case, we may be able to help through our breast lift procedure, in which that excess skin can be removed.
- Liposuction: If you have pseudogynecomastia, you can reduce the amount of fat in your breasts with liposuction. It's a minimally invasive procedure with little to no downtime. Any scarring that occurs is usually so small it becomes virtually invisible over time. This option would be ideally performed after you have already lost some weight, but your chest has become a stubborn area not responding to diet or exercise.
Many of our liposuction clients are men looking to counter the effects of gynecomastia. The procedure can result in up to 50% improvement, and will not necessarily alter the shape of the breast. If this is the goal, we can discuss alternative cosmetic procedure options with you.
At TCC, we treat pseudogynecomastia with SmartLipo™ which tightens skin as it removes fat. Once your liposuction procedure is completed, you'll be provided with a compression garment to wear during the healing process.