Gynecomastia is the benign enlargement of a male’s breast tissue or glands. It is reported as the most common breast condition in men and at least 30% of men will experience gynecomastia in their lifetime. It is caused by an imbalance between the hormones testosterone and estrogen and can cause anxiety and embarrassment for those inflicted. A related condition, pseudo-gynecomastia, manifests as fat deposition without glandular enlargement and occurs most frequently in obese men.
What causes gynecomastia?
In puberty, estrogen levels rise more quickly than testosterone levels leading to an increased estrogen to testosterone ratio. In most preadolescent males breast enlargement regresses over time with an increase in testosterone production. Most males do not end up with persistent gynecomastia. Over 50% of those that do usually have a family history of gynecomastia.
Some illicit drugs such as marijuana and heroin can cause gynecomastia. Other drugs prescribed by a physician may also cause breast enlargement. Some medical problems like liver cirrhosis, kidney failure and an overactive thyroid can also cause enlargement of the breast glands. Stress and starvation are also known causes in certain circumstances. If the breast glandular enlargement is only present in one breast, then a malignancy needs to be ruled out with a mammogram and possible breast biopsy.
Once the cause of the gynecomastia has been established and any causative medical issue or medication has been treated or stopped respectively, then time may allow the gynecomastia to resolve on its own. If the enlarged breast tissue or fat persists, then surgical options may be considered. Surgical options include liposuction with or without excision of the excess glandular tissue through a small peri-areolar incision. This usually resolves the issue. Complications from surgery can include skin contour irregularities, numbness of the nipple or areola (pigmented area around the nipple), hematoma, fluid collection under the skin or even skin death and shedding over the breast glandular area.
North Texas Cosmetic Surgery and Dr Alan Greenberg have had extensive experience treating the excess glandular tissue and excess fat in those with persistent gynecomastia once the cause of the gynecomastia has been well established and treated. Contact us at 972-743-6827 for your free initial consultation.