WHAT IS GYNECOMASTIA?
Gynecomastia refers to any enlargement of male breast tissue, which in some cases may also involve pain and discharge. While the most common reason why this occurs is a hormone imbalance, the following factors may also lead to the condition:
- Hereditary family condition
- Liver, lung, testicular, adrenal gland, or pituitary gland cancer
- Weight fluctuations
- Certain tumors
- Use of anabolic steroids
- Endocrine issues, such as an overactive thyroid
- Kidney failure
- Prolonged alcohol, marijuana, opioid, and/or amphetamine use
- Certain prescription drugs
- Cirrhosis of the liver
Are You a Good Candidate?
7 Types of Gynecomastia
There are seven different gynecomastia types ranging in degrees of severity and chest volume size. This is because of the progressive change in skin laxity and chest angle. Knowing and understanding the type helps the surgeon tailor the best approach.
Type 1 - The first and most minor of the condition shows the presence of puffy nipple, which has excess breast tissue located inside and outside the border of the areola.
Type 2 - This is the most common type treated by plastic surgeons. Excess breast tissue is dispersed across the chest. Chest skin is tight and the chest angle is less than 45 degrees.
Type 3 - The chest angle increases and lies between 45-60 degrees and begins to show noticeable sagging.
Type 4 - The chest angle increases further and lies between 60-90 degrees and increases the amount of skin sagging to a moderate level.
Type 5 - The chest angle exceeds 90 degrees. There is also significant sagging with the breast tissue falling below the chest fold.
Type 6 - The patient’s chest has severe breast sag with the top of areola still above the level of the chest fold.
Type 7 -The top of the areola is below the level of the chest fold and there is severe breast sagging present.
Undergoing surgery to correct gynecomastia is not an option for all men. The procedure should only be performed on adults over the age of 18, as teenagers’ bodies are still undergoing hormonal changes and the condition may correct itself on its own. The following factors may also preclude some patients from moving forward with the surgery:
- Unrealistic goals and expectations
- Overall state of poor physical and/or mental health
- Certain medical conditions
- Poor skin elasticity
So what men qualify as ideal candidates for gynecomastia surgery? Board-certified surgeons accept candidates with the following characteristics:
- Mentally and physically healthy
- Realistic goals and expectations
- Over the age of 18
- At or near their ideal body weight
- Affected by gynecomastia
- Workable skin elasticity
If you are affected by gynecomastia during puberty, then you will likely not be able to undergo corrective surgery. About 90% of these instances reverse themselves naturally after three years. If the issue persists following puberty and you are over the age of 18, then contact a qualified plastic surgeon for a consultation.
Symptoms of Gynecomastia
Do you think you might have gynecomastia? Check yourself for the following symptoms:
- Swelling in one or both breasts
- Tenderness and/or pain in one or both breasts
- Nipple discharge
In many cases of gynecomastia, the problem eventually corrects itself. However, should problems persist or worsen, especially if they involve pain and discharge, then cosmetic surgery may be the ideal option.
The best candidate for gynecomastia corrective surgery is a male over the age of 18 who is mentally and physically healthy and wants to improve his quality of life. As with all surgeries, it is important that the patient understands that they will need to rest and take the appropriate recovery time to heal in order to stay healthy and to see the best results.