Gynecomastia is the abnormal growth of breast tissue in men, usually in both breasts. There’s a difference between gynecomastia – enlarged breast gland tissue – and pseudogynecomastia, which is excess fat in the breast area due to weight gain, but without glandular growth.

Gynecomastia may cause breast pain and tenderness as the glands and connective tissue grow. You can usually feel the glandular growth as a firm, rubbery disk of tissue directly beneath the nipple. The firm area may also extend symmetrically out from the nipple.

What is the most common cause of gynecomastia?

The most common cause of gynecomastia is an imbalance in hormones — an increase in estrogen, a decrease in androgens, or both. This type of imbalance naturally occurs at certain times of life. In newborn boys, breast growth is caused by exposure to estrogen from the mother. When this happens, the breasts return to normal in two to six months.

Normal hormone changes during puberty may cause breast growth. However, this form of gynecomastia sponteneously resolves in six months to two years. Finally, age-related hormone changes commonly lead to gynecomastia in men who are overweight or are older than 50.

What are the other causes of breast overgrowth in men?

Medications are estimated to cause up to 25% of all cases of gynecomastia. There’s a long list of medications that may lead to the problem. Just a few on the list include anabolic steroids, proton pump inhibitors, antibiotics, and tricyclic antidepressants.

Underlying health conditions can also cause enlarged breasts:

  • Overweight and obesity
  • Lack of proper nutrition
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Testicular tumors
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypogonadism

How is gynecomastia treated?

In the early stage, gynecomastia may be treated with medications to reduce levels of estrogen. Any underlying health conditions must also be treated. Otherwise, the only treatment option is surgery to reduce breast size, called reduction mammoplasty.

The doctors at Strax Aesthetics have extensive experience surgically removing glandular breast tissue and excess skin, reducing the areola if necessary, and repositioning the nipple to naturally match the new male contour. Liposuction can be done at the same time if you also have excess fat tissue to eliminate.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Recovery varies by patient and the scope of their procedure. Most patients return to work and socializing after about a week. Light exercise can be resumed two weeks after surgery and more strenuous activities four to six weeks after surgery.

As long as the surgeon makes the incisions carefully and in the natural folds of the skin, the incision lines should fade considerably after surgery. Most men are happy to trade their enlarged breasts for barely noticeable scars.

In most cases, the results of gynecomastia surgery are long-term. However, weight gain, steroid or drug use and hormone fluctuations may lead to a recurrence of gynecomastia.

As a general anesthetic is utilized, you will need someone to drive you home from the center and stay with you for 24 hours after the surgery. You should expect some bruising and swelling on the chest. You will wear a compression vest for 6 weeks and keep your activity light. Depending on your case, you may need drain tubes. Most patients take one week off of work, although you are free to go back to work after the drain tubes are removed.

Most patients are able to return to work in 1-2 weeks depending on the work requirements.