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Gynecomastia is an enlargement or excess of male breast tissue. While this condition is not often discussed, gynecomastia affects 40 to 60 percent of all men, to some varying degree. Gynecomastia involves developing an excess amount of glandular tissue or fatty tissue in the breast area. There are many potential causes of gynecomastia and often times that exact cause of gynecomastia is unknown.

During puberty, a temporary excess amount of glandular breast tissue can develop in young boys. This is normal and generally disappears within a few months to a year. Gynecomastia can be caused by steroid abuse, obesity, excessive marijuana or alcohol consumption, tumors, genetic disorders, chromosomal abnormalities, chronic liver disease, castration, and medication side effects. There are a variety of types of medication that may cause gynecomastia in men.


Men who have gynecomastia may be eligible to receive gynecomastia surgery to reduce the size of their breasts. A patient who is interested in this type of procedure may wish to speak to a certified plastic surgeon to determine the cause of gynecomastia. If a patient's gynecomastia is the result of obesity, a surgeon may recommend that the patient first make attempts to correct the problem through exercise and weight loss. If the cause of gynecomastia is prescription or other drugs, those problems might need to be addressed before plastic surgery is considered.

In 2001, 16,512 men received gynecomastia surgery, placing this procedure in the top five most common plastic surgery procedures performed on men. The average cost of this surgery can range anywhere from $2500 to $3200 in surgeon fees plus additional fees for other related expenses. It is important to speak with a certified plastic surgeon about your full medical history and condition before pursuing this surgery. Gynecomastia surgery is a safe procedure overall, with complications infrequent and usually minor.

There are two types of gynecomastia procedures available, depending on the type of breast tissue involved. If excess glandular tissue is the cause of gynecomastia, this tissue will be cut from the body with a scalpel through an inconspicuous incision. This procedure can be done in conjunction with liposuction to remove excess fatty tissue.

Liposuction is used to extract excess amounts of fatty breast tissue in gynecomastia surgery. This is performed by inserting a thin tube, called a cannula, into an inconspicuous incision in the breast area and carefully extracting excess tissues. In some cases, drains will be placed in the surgery site to draw off excess fluids that may accumulate after the gynecomastia surgery.

The gynecomastia surgery procedure is done under a general anesthetic or a local anesthetic plus sedation and takes between two and three hours. If drains are used, they are usually removed about three days after surgery. The complete recovery time from gynecomastia surgery is about four to six weeks.

If you are interested in learning more about gynecomastia, please click on your state below to confer with a qualified gynecomastia surgeon.