Gynecomastia is the condition where the glandular tissues of the male breast have become enlarged. This condition is often referred to as “man boobs” and results from hormonal imbalance that causes an excess of estrogen being produced, in relation to the level of male hormones or androgens. Gynecomastia can also be a side effect of some medications or drug abuse. It can also be associated with medical conditions including, hyperthyroidism, kidney failure, or cirrhosis of the liver.
Interestingly, gynecomastia is very common in infancy and puberty, as well as in middle age to older men. It should be pointed out that gynecomastia is different from pseudogynecomastia or lipomastia, a condition in which fat deposits develop in the breasts due to obesity. True gynecomastia is the actual growth of the breast tissue and glands.
Gynecomastia that may occur in normal infants and young boys is known as physiologic gynecomastia. This condition will usually resolve itself as the child ages. Discontinuation of any medications that cause gynecomasty can also help resolve the condition. However, once the breast tissues have grown, it will generally not go away on its own.
If gynecomastia does persist, the most effective method is to actually remove the breast tissue through surgery. Gynecomastia surgery is also called male breast reduction or subcutaneous mastectomy.
The procedure is performed using local anesthetics. A small incision will be made in the areola. The placement of these incisions will hide any scarring. The breast tissue is then removed and the incisions closed. After the procedure, the patient will be required to wear a chest binder to help with proper healing.
In the case of fat deposits causing pseudogynecomastia, liposuction procedures can be used to effectively remove the fat. During the fat removal procedure, a surgeon can also contour the chest area.
There may be some minor discomfort that is associated with the injection of local anesthesia, but the procedure is generally pain free. There is little to no down time or extended recovery periods. Patients can usually return to their normal schedules in just a couple of days. Heavy lifting is not advised for about one to two weeks. The suture will be removed in about a week.
All breast tissue is removed during the procedure, so it is very unlikely that gynecomastia will return. In pseudogynecomastia cases caused by fat deposits, it should not return as long as there is no weight gain.
If you wish to lose those man breasts, consult with a knowledgeable surgeon to discuss your options.