Male breast tissue is something that all men have. However, some men have an increased amount of male breast tissue. These patients usually feel embarrassed and often avoid situations where they will need to expose their chests in public, which can affect their self-esteem and confidence.
Anna Raurell, a plastic surgeon in Nottingham, has dedicated a large part of her practice to deeply understanding gyneacomastia and develop techniques to surgically correct this condition. Gynaecomastia is a common condition that causes men to develop excess male breast tissue. She specialises in gynaecomastia surgery for men of all ages in Nottinghamshire and strives to help her patients achieve their goals.
What causes gynecomastia?
There are many factors that can lead to an increase in gland tissue. The broad categories of causes include:
- Physiologic events, like puberty and old age
- tPharmacologic sources, like medications and drugs
- Pathologic issues, including hormone disorders and breast cancer
Puberty is a common cause of gynecomastia due to hormonal surges and imbalances. Many medications such as anabolic steroids, antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-seizure solutions, and heart medications may also cause disturbances to the delicate testosterone pathways. This will alter the testosterone-to-estrogen ratio and can lead to the production of secondary estrogens and therefore excess male breast tissue
An elevated estrogen level can stimulate the glandular tissue to grow, leading to the features typical in gynecomastia: puffy nipple, cone-shaped chest, and fullness on the outer and lower part of the chest. While it is important to first determine the cause of gynecomastia, for many patients, gynecomastia surgery is a viable option for resolving this condition.
Risks associated with gynecomastia
Some of the temporary side-effects and potential risks of gynecomastia surgery include:
- Complications with anaesthetic
- Swelling and discomfort
- Small potential for infection
- Asymmetry in the chest area
- Altered nipple sensation
The difference between fatty tissue and glandular tissue
The glandular tissue is located under the areola but in most males, it extends out to the side and to a lesser degree towards the inner chest. Glandular tissue is different to fatty tissue and so its removal differs as well. Glandular tissue tends to feel firm and rubbery.
Liposuction is generally not successful in removing excess glandular tissue. Thus, direct excision is the technique Anna employs to predictably treat the glandular excess. This can be used in conjunction with liposuction of the surrounding fatty tissue or as a stand-alone treatment.
Frequently asked questions
Can gynecomastia go away?
In teenage males, gynecomastia can recede naturally 6 months to 3 years after it first appears. However, if the symptoms persist longer than that, the condition may be permanent. In these cases, it is important to consult with a gynecomastia specialist that can help identify this issue and offer long-term solutions as well.
What causes gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia may be caused by a variety of factors, which include:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Liver or kidney conditions
- Alcohol and drug abuse (marihuana)
- Tumours in the pituitary gland and other organs
- Anabolic steroids and certain pharmaceuticals
- Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and similar medication
- Some heart supplements
Can gynecomastia turn into cancer?
While gynecomastia may slightly increase the risk of cancer in men, the chances of developing breast cancer are still extremely low. However, the best way to prevent any long-term complications is to consult with a double board-certified surgeon that can find the best approach to eliminating the glandular tissue.
What is the best treatment for gynecomastia?
Depending on the cause, there are several courses of action to address male breast enlargement. If the issue is caused by pharmaceuticals or foreign substances, changing the medication or halting the consumption of these substances may be enough. If no hormonal imbalances or other causes are detected, then gynecomastia surgery may be the best alternative.
Does gynecomastia get worse?
The development of gynecomastia depends on a variety of factors, which include hormonal levels. In young adults, gynecomastia can recede or stay at the same level for a long time. However, as testosterone levels decrease, the symptoms may become more apparent and cause confidence issues later on.