While the natural male chest typically appears relatively flat, you may be surprised to learn that there is actually a small amount of breast tissue under the surface. In fact, it is even possible for men to develop breast cancer, though it is exceedingly rare. A much more common affliction that many men may face at one or more points in their lives is gynecomastia, or enlarged male breasts. Gynecomastia can affect boys, teens, or men of any age, but it is more prevalent among certain age groups and has a variety of causes. Regardless of when a patient develops gynecomastia, it can have a significant impact on his life and lead to lower self-confidence, anxiety, and depression.
Experienced plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Couvillion and the caring team at Luminary Plastic Surgery in Houston, TX fully understand the sensitive nature of gynecomastia and are dedicated to helping patients identify the cause of their condition and treat the problem accordingly. Through a variety of highly effective surgical techniques, Dr. Couvillion has helped a multitude of men restore their natural masculine contour and regain their confidence and self-esteem.
What is gynecomastia, and what causes it?
Gynecomastia is the swelling or enlargement of breast tissue in males. There are two main types of gynecomastia: fatty and glandular. Fatty gynecomastia, also referred to as pseudogynecomastia or lipomastia is not, technically, gynecomastia, it is simply excess fat in the breasts. This can be caused by obesity, genetics, and other factors. True gynecomastia affects the glandular breast tissue. While gynecomastia is physically benign, it can have a severe impact on a man’s confidence, affecting his relationships, career, and overall quality of life.
Understandably, patients who develop gynecomastia typically have many questions about the cause of their condition. Some of the most common reasons for gynecomastia include:
- Hormonal imbalance: Though testosterone is the main male hormone, men do produce a small amount of estrogen, the female hormone. When a man produces too much estrogen – or not enough testosterone – gynecomastia may develop.
- Puberty: The significant and often sudden change in hormone levels during puberty can spark the development of gynecomastia. In these cases, the symptoms usually resolve without treatment within about 6 – 18 months.
- Medications: Some medications can cause the male breasts to swell. During your initial consultation at Luminary Plastic Surgery, Dr. Couvillion will take a thorough health history and review your list of medications to determine if any of the drugs or supplements you are taking may be contributing to your gynecomastia.
- Steroids: The use of anabolic steroids can lead to a variety of unwanted side effects, including gynecomastia.
What is the most common age for developing gynecomastia?
Because gynecomastia is closely tied to a man’s hormone levels, there are some ages or phases in life when men are more likely to develop the condition, including:
- After age 50
How is gynecomastia treated?
Gynecomastia treatment options may vary from patient to patient and depend largely on the cause of the condition. In some cases, lifestyle changes alone – including altering medications – may be enough to correct gynecomastia. Additionally, gynecomastia during infancy and puberty typically resolves on its own once the hormone levels have naturally rebalanced.
For patients with fatty gynecomastia, weight loss through diet and exercise can often be an effective and convenient treatment option. However, if a man has fatty breast deposits that have stopped responding to traditional methods, Dr. Couvillion may suggest liposuction to remove the fat and restore a more natural chest contour.
In the case of true glandular gynecomastia, male breast reduction surgery can be performed to remove the excess breast tissue. Depending on the amount of tissue that needs to be removed, Dr. Couvillion will recommend either a less invasive approach, which requires an incision near the nipple, or a more extensive surgical technique that includes repositioning of the nipple and tightening of the skin. If you have concerns about the size or shape of your nipple/areola, these may also be able to be addressed during your gynecomastia surgery. During your consultation and preoperative appointments, Dr. Couvillion will discuss your concerns at great length and answer your questions in detail in order to determine the course of action that will help you best achieve your cosmetic goals.
Am I a candidate for gynecomastia surgery in Houston, TX?
The best way to determine with certainty whether or not you qualify for male breast reduction surgery for gynecomastia is to be evaluated by a highly experienced, knowledgeable, skilled plastic surgeon. Call the convenient Houston, TX facility of Luminary Plastic Surgery to schedule your consultation with Dr. Ryan Couvillion today, and learn how gynecomastia treatment can restore not only your masculine physique but also give you the confidence to once again live your life to the fullest!