Overdeveloped breast tissue (gynecomastia) is a fairly common condition that men often assume they have to learn to live with or lift their way out of by developing their chest muscles.
A healthy diet and exercise routine that includes strengthening your chest muscles may help if the enlargement is related to excess pounds and/or fatty deposits in your breasts, what’s known as pseudo or false gynecomastia. Unfortunately, these stubborn pockets of fat often persist beyond your best weight loss and exercise efforts.
True gynecomastia, however, is not related to your weight, and losing pounds or defining muscle won’t reduce the appearance of enlarged male breasts. Genetics, age, and hormonal shifts are responsible for this form of gynecomastia, which may cause enlargement of one or both breasts.
Dr. Davila is a highly skilled cosmetic surgeon who has extensive experience and expertise in treating gynecomastia and pseudogynecomastia. Though neither condition is usually considered medically serious or life-threatening, he understands the negative impact either can have on your self-confidence and sense of well being.
He’s happy to use his medical knowledge and surgical skill to help you choose the best treatment option for your circumstance, which often depends on which type you have.
WHAT IS GYNECOMASTIA AND WHAT CAUSES IT?
Simply put, gynecomastia is the medical term for overdeveloped or enlarged breasts in men. It can occur at any age and is related to an imbalance in your testosterone versus estrogen levels.
Testosterone controls male traits, such as muscle mass and body hair while estrogen controls female traits, including breast growth. Though you may think of estrogen as a strictly feminine hormone, men normally produce small quantities as well. When there’s an overabundance of estrogen or too little testosterone present, men may develop an excess of breast tissue.
Several issues can cause the hormone imbalance leading to gynecomastia, including natural changes during puberty or with aging. Certain prescribed medications or excessive use of alcohol and other substances can also induce gynecomastia. And sometimes it’s due to an underlying medical condition such as an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).
Your primary care physician may suggest a series of diagnostic studies to confirm what’s causing your gynecomastia and provide treatment for the underlying issue. Even resolving the condition responsible, however, won’t always change the appearance of overdeveloped male breasts.
WHAT CAUSES FALSE GYNECOMASTIA?
False or pseudogynecomastia is due to fatty deposits in your chest area that mimic the appearances of female breasts. Like those stubborn love handles at your waist that seem to defy any amount of exercise, pockets of fat in the chest area are often immune to the strictest diet or most rigorous exercise routine.
Even men at their ideal weight can experience this condition. Sagging or stretched skin that’s occurred after significant weight loss or as a natural part of the aging process can also worsen the appearance of pseudo gynecomastia.
WHAT TREATMENT IS BEST FOR GYNECOMASTIA?
Gynecomastia often responds well to liposuction. This technique is especially well-suited for pseudogynecomastia. Using small incisions located at either side of your chest or within the armpit, Dr. Davila inserts a small, tube-shaped device that removes the excess fat and glandular tissue and sculpts a new contour that appears natural for your body’s overall shape.
Recovery after liposuction for gynecomastia is relatively quick. You may need to wear a compression garment for a few weeks to minimize swelling and support the treatment site. Vigorous exercise is typically out for about three weeks, but you can usually return to work and other activities after several days.
More severe cases of gynecomastia respond best to surgical excision of the glandular breast tissue. Dr. Davila also recommends surgery if you have stretched or sagging skin around the breasts, which he can tighten and reshape during the procedure. In some cases, he uses liposuction along with surgical excision for optimal results.
Dr. Davila chooses incision sites carefully to decrease visible scarring. He can also reshape or repositions the nipples as necessary to give your chest a natural appearance. You can expect to return to work within about a week of surgery unless you have a job that requires vigorous physical labor, which is restricted for several weeks.
If you’re dealing with gynecomastia and would like more information about a permanent solution to this frustrating condition, schedule an appointment today with Dr. Davila.