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What is Gynecomastia 2

What is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is the growth of glandular breast tissue in men. It occurs as a noticeable lump behind the nipples, sometimes quite large, and it is often accompanied by a significant accumulation of localised fat that enlarges the breast. In some men, it can occur on just on one side of the chest. In the vast majority of cases, gynecomastia is not an issue of physical health. However, for many men, it can act adversely on their psychological well-being.

Although quite rare in men (less than one in a thousand), a lump behind the nipple can be due to breast cancer, and regardless of any decision about treatment for gynecomastia, it is sensible to undergo a diagnosis with an ultrasound scan.


GSC treatment options

Treatment Options

There is a great deal of misleading information about gynecomastia treatment on the Internet.  For example, there are advocates of “natural” remedies that propose a variety of different supplements, including fish oil, turmeric, zinc, passion flower, milk thistle, flaxseeds, dandelion, Epsom salts, and cold compresses. These claims, however, are not supported by any proper medical studies.

Diet and exercise can help reduce fat accumulation; however, this cannot be done in a way that specifically targets fat in the breast.  Rather, fat loss will occur proportionally across the entire body.  Moreover, there is no degree of diet and exercise that can remove glandular breast tissue.  The only effective treatment is the surgical excision of the gland tissue combined with liposuction of excess fat deposits.

Surgical Outcomes

The aesthetic outcome of surgery will depend on a number of factors.  Key to any result is the elasticity of the skin.  In mild cases of gynecomastia, the skin has been barely stretched by the accumulation of fat and gland tissue, and after surgery, it is well situated to retract to a flat appearance.

For severe cases, however, where a significant volume of fat and gland tissue must be removed, it will be quite difficult for the skin to fully retract to a completely smooth contour.  A surgical technique similar to the use of darts in sewing can be used to tighten up the skin, and to mitigate the hanging and folding of excess skin.  However, in these cases there will likely be some residual folds and wrinkles after surgery.

Most men will find themselves somewhere between the two extremes.  The example in the image is a typical outcome for a moderate case.  As can be seen, the profile of the chest has been significantly improved. Your surgeon will be able to measure the volume of tissue that should be surgically removed, evaluate the elasticity of your skin, and provide you with an estimate of how smooth your post-surgical contour will be.  You’ll also be shown before and after photos of patients with similar degrees of gynecomastia to your own, and this should help guide the decision you make about surgery.


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