The word “gynecomastia” describes a condition in which a boy or man develops abnormally large breasts. It is often caused by a hormonal imbalance. While gynecomastia is generally harmless, it can be embarrassing for the patient.
What Causes Gynecomastia?
The hormonal imbalance that causes gynecomastia can occur naturally during puberty or the aging process. Thus, teenage boys and older men are more likely to develop gynecomastia. Babies can be born with gynecomastia due to exposure to their mother’s estrogen. Their breasts usually shrink back to their normal size about two or three weeks after birth. A teenage boy’s breasts will also generally shrink within six to 24 months as their hormones stabilize.
Some health conditions and medications can also cause gynecomastia. Health conditions that can cause gynecomastia include the following:
- Kidney failure
- Cirrhosis and liver failure
Medications and drugs that can cause gynecomastia include the following:
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Ulcer medications
- Some antidepressants
How is Gynecomastia Treated?
The first step in treating gynecomastia is determining the cause through a consultation. If the patient has a condition like hyperthyroidism, the doctor can treat it. If the patient’s gynecomastia is caused by a drug or medicine, the doctor can help them find a substitute. In most cases, treating the underlying cause can eventually result in the patient’s breasts shrinking back to a normal proportion.
If the gynecomastia doesn’t respond to treatment or there is not an underlying cause, the doctor can recommend a type of surgery called reduction mammaplasty. Gynecomastia can affect one or both breasts. The enlarged breasts contain excess fat, excess glandular tissue, and excess skin. The surgeon can remove the excess tissue and reshape the remainder. Gynecomastia surgery can involve liposuction and excision. Liposuction is a procedure used to remove excess fat. There are many different techniques, but they can involve the use of a hollow tube called a cannula. The surgeon can insert the cannula, and a suction device attached to the cannula can vacuum out the fat. The surgeon can remove excess glandular tissue and/or skin. They remove the excess tissue. After the surgery, the patient may have to wear a compression garment for a few weeks to reduce swelling and support the tissues. Most patients can return to work or school within a week, but they should avoid strenuous exercise.
If you find yourself struggling with gynecomastia reach out to us here at Palmer Cosmetic Surgery to learn more about treatment options. Contact us today and schedule your consultation!