What Is Gynecomastia and How Can It Be Treated?

You may not have heard of it, but gynecomastia is a common issue for men of all ages. Gynecomastia is a condition marked by excessive breast tissue in males, usually caused by a hormonal imbalance. It occurs when glandular tissue causes the male breasts to become enlarged or swollen, mimicking a woman's chest. About 65% of men struggle with gynecomastia, which can begin to develop during the early stages of life. Although there are no significant health risks, this condition can be embarrassing and in some instances have painful side effects. Treating gynecomastia is possible with male breast reduction surgery or liposuction, and surgeons like Dr. Couvillion can help.

Dr. Ryan Couvillion is an experienced cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon and the founder of Luminary Plastic Surgery in Houston, TX. A native Houstonian, Dr. Couvillion is well-versed in numerous cosmetic procedures involving the face, skin, breasts, and body. Liposuction, male breast reduction surgery, or a combination of both can help men diagnosed with gynecomastia. Dr. Couvillion can share his insights and extensive surgical knowledge to expertly give each patient the help they need.

What is gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is generally the result of a male hormone imbalance. Both males and females carry a certain level of testosterone and estrogen in their bodies. Male breast tissue enlargement occurs when testosterone levels decrease and the level of estrogen in a man's body increases. Testosterone is the controlling factor for male traits such as muscle mass or body hair, and estrogen controls female characteristics such as breast growth. A decreased level of testosterone in men can result when health issues or the process of aging block or reduce its effects, causing normal estrogen levels to increase. This results in men developing excessive breast tissue or "man boobs."

Gynecomastia also occurs in more than half of all infant boys but will usually subside a few weeks after birth. This condition may also be seen at the onset of puberty, but generally goes away for most boys in 6 – 24 months.

Other causes of gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is often a condition that men struggle with in later stages of life due to the natural process of aging. It is estimated to be a problem for one in every four men between the ages of 50 – 69. Some other factors that lead to gynecomastia can be health conditions like kidney or liver problems, certain tumors, or hyperthyroidism. Certain medications and excessive alcohol consumption can also cause swelling of male breast tissue.

Gynecomastia symptoms

The primary symptom of this condition is swelling or enlargement of one or both breasts. The growth is generally seen behind the nipple, causing the male breast to appear either rubbery or firm, almost like a knot. Nipple tenderness or pain can also be a side effect. When men experience such changes in their breast tissue, they should seek medical attention immediately to rule out breast cancer or other medical conditions like an abscess (an infection). A qualified plastic surgeon like Dr. Couvillion can do a thorough exam to rule out other potential risks if a male patient is experiencing excessive swelling in their breast tissue.

Male breast tissue reduction

In some cases, Houston-area men with gynecomastia can undergo hormone replacement therapy to reduce their breast tissue. If this treatment option doesn’t work, patients can consider male breast reduction surgery or liposuction. In cases of fatty gynecomastia, liposuction can remove excess fatty tissue to help contour or reshape a male patient's chest area. In cases due to swollen glandular breast tissue, breast reduction surgery may be the best option.

When working with a qualified, experienced plastic surgeon like Luminary Plastic Surgery’s Dr. Ryan Couvillion, this outpatient procedure can reduce the appearance of breast tissue and remove any sagging, overstretched skin. Much like a breast reduction for women, Dr. Couvillion will make the appropriate surgical incisions to minimize the appearance of scars while eliminating the excessive breast tissue. If needed, the areola and nipple can both be reduced in size as well as repositioned to be more aesthetically pleasing. Liposuction can be done in conjunction with male breast reduction surgery to give patients optimal results and a more contoured, defined chest area.

Contact Luminary Plastic Surgery today

Although gynecomastia doesn't pose any health problems, it can be damaging to a man's self-esteem. If medication or hormone replacement therapy are not effective, men can seek cosmetic help from a qualified, experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Ryan Couvillion in Houston, TX. Men don't have to feel embarrassed about their condition and can turn to an expert like Dr. Couvillion and the professional staff at Luminary Plastic Surgery for help. If you are concerned you may have male gynecomastia, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Couvillion today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.