What Types of Treatment Address Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia symptoms of enlarged or overdeveloped breasts can be an embarrassing condition for men. Gynecomastia, also called “man boobs,” is a term in which men experience swollen breast tissue that mimics the appearance of female breasts. It can be the result of hormonal changes, weight gain, genetics, or interactions with certain medications or drugs. Male breast reduction surgery can offer a cosmetic solution for men hindered by this condition.

Male breast reduction surgery, liposuction, or a combination of both are common surgical treatments for gynecomastia. Dr. Ryan Couvillion is an experienced reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgeon. A native Houstonian and founder of Luminary Plastic Surgery, Dr. Couvillion can help male patients in the greater Houston area with gynecomastia. His extensive surgical experience and helpful insights on this condition can give men the cosmetic results they need. Here is a look at gynecomastia and what treatment options are available at Luminary Plastic Surgery in Houston, TX.

How do you know if you have gynecomastia?

The primary symptom of gynecomastia is male breast enlargement. It is the enlargement of glandular tissue rather than fatty breast tissue and can be localized in one (unilaterally) breast or both (bilaterally) breasts. In most cases, it is symmetrical or bilateral. With the onset of gynecomastia, the enlarged glandular tissue usually appears behind the nipple, giving men a more feminine appearance to their chest. The entire breast may also feel rubbery and be sensitive to touch but rarely painful. For proper diagnosis of gynecomastia, the following can be done:

  • Review of medical history
  • Discussion of medications currently being taken
  • Physical examination of breast tissue

In most cases, a physical exam, along with a review of a patient’s medical history, can properly diagnose gynecomastia. However, if further testing is needed, it can include:

  • A blood test to verify hormone levels
  • Mammogram or CT scan
  • Biopsy of breast tissue (if required)

Who can develop gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia, or male breast development, can occur during three different phases of life. Male babies can be born with enlarged breasts due to their mother’s estrogen levels, which may persist for several weeks after birth then dissipate. Some males experience breast enlargement with the onset of puberty, but often breasts go back to normal after about six months or sooner. When gynecomastia is most commonly seen in patients is with older males. An estimated one in four men between the ages of 55-69 is affected. Gynecomastia studies have shown that older men have increased body fat, produce less testosterone, and possibly taking multiple medications that can contribute to this condition.

What are some causes of gynecomastia?

Being diagnosed with gynecomastia can revolve around several different factors. The male body produces a small amount of estrogen. Still, when testosterone levels responsible for controlling body hair, muscle mass, and other masculine traits fall below normal levels, then breast enlargement can occur. Aside from a hormonal imbalance, there are other causes of gynecomastia. Malnutrition, hyperthyroidism, and kidney failure are some of the few medical reasons males experience enlarged breasts. Even certain medications, municipal drugs, or antibiotics have shown to trigger this condition in men. In some cases, with proper medical intervention or treatment, gynecomastia regresses on its own, leaving men with normal-looking breasts again. However, in rare cases, it can persist and surgical help may be needed.

What is gynecomastia surgery?

For some patients in the Houston area, testosterone replacement therapy, or other treatment options can reduce enlarged breast tissue. If a patient’s condition is unresponsive, then male breast reduction surgery could be the next step. Male breast reduction surgery, liposuction, or both can help men dealing with this physical and physiological issue. After your initial consultation, Dr. Couvillion will devise a treatment plan and determine which surgical technique is right for you.

Male breast reduction surgery

With severe cases of gynecomastia, a combination of liposuction and surgical extraction of excessive glandular breast tissue can give patients a more masculine appearance. As part of this procedure, any overstretched, or sagging skin that resulted from breast enlargement may also be eliminated. The areola can also be reduced in size, even relocating the nipple, if necessary, to give men a more natural male contour.


For less severe cases of gynecomastia, liposuction may only be needed to reduce the appearance of enlarged breasts. Through small incisions, the cannula instrument is inserted underneath the pectoral skin to gently loosen and remove excess glandular tissue to provide a more contoured, masculine appearance for male patients.

Are you concerned about enlarged breasts? Men should seek medical attention with any signs of swollen, or overdeveloped breasts. Even though gynecomastia poses no health risks, other medical concerns like breast cancer should be ruled out before proceeding with treatment or male breast reduction surgery. Men can obtain positive results from gynecomastia surgery. This same-day, outpatient procedure is highly successful at giving male patients the cosmetic help they need. Dr. Ryan Couvillion is the founder and experienced plastic surgeon at Luminary Plastic Surgery in Houston, TX. If you are concerned about enlarged breasts or gynecomastia, then we encourage you to contact Luminary Plastic Surgery today.

Meet Dr. Couvillion

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