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How to Get Rid of Gynecomastia

Christopher Chung, M.D.
American Board of Plastic Surgery
Chief Medical Officer
Sono Bello

Gynecomastia (“man boobs”) is a non-cancerous enlargement of the male breast, most often caused by an imbalance of the testosterone-estrogen ratio (decrease in testosterone, increase in estrogen, or a combination of both).  Gynecomastia can affect one or both breasts, and at times, unevenly.  Often, it is a normal finding which occurs generally at three age peaks: first week of life due to high levels of maternal estrogen, during puberty, and after the age of 50 due to declining levels of testosterone (1 in 4 men in this age category).  Diagnosis is made with a detailed medical history and physical examination.  At times, additional blood and/or imaging testing may be required, but typically is not needed to get rid of gynecomastia.  While not posing as a serious health problem, it is a source of embarrassment for many boys and men.  Fortunately, for those cases involving newborns and pubertal boys, most resolve naturally and therefore, no medical/surgical intervention is required.  To get rid of gynecomastia in men, simple and straight-forward surgical options exist that are very successful in treating this socially embarrassing condition.

Treatment of gynecomastia is effective, safe, and straight forward.  As the enlargement is often due to an increase in fatty tissue and actual breast tissue, the treatment involves a combination of liposuction and/or direct excision of the glandular tissue.  An experienced surgeon can tailor the procedure to everyone’s anatomic need.  But in general, liposuction is first used to remove the fatty tissue from the breast.  In cases of pseudo-gynecomastia (diffuse fatty enlargement of the male breast without specific glandular proliferation), liposuction may be all that is needed.  However, as liposuction cannot adequately remove the actual glandular tissue that may be present underneath the nipple region, treatment may also involve directly removing this tissue by making a small incision around the nipple.

Your surgeon will discuss the custom-tailored treatment option that best meets your anatomic requirement to get rid of gynecomastia once and for all.  Most often, this procedure can be done in complete comfort with minimal sedation and local numbing fluid (thereby, minimizing the unnecessary and potentially harmful exposure to general anesthesia) as an outpatient procedure.  Recovery (and pain) is minimal and most patients can return to work in a few days.  Swelling is common post-procedure but will resolve within 2-4 weeks.  Compression garments are advised to be worn for first several weeks but may be worn longer for comfort measures.

Surgical treatment is highly effective and satisfying.

In summary:

  • Gynecomastia is a common, non-cancerous enlargement of the male breast
  • Gynecomastia in newborns and pubertal teenage boys often requires no treatment
  • Gynecomastia poses social embarrassment for many affected men
  • Gynecomastia is easily diagnosed
  • Gynecomastia treatment is simple, safe and highly effective with minimal recovery

Video Transcript

Shannon Scott, Sono Bello Bellevue Practice Leader: We’re back here with Dr. Sobrino he’s going to give us some more information about Chest-EX.

Dr: Marco Sobrino:

Chest-EX friends, fellows. Chest-EX is actually an excellent technique to carry get rid of patients’, what we call, man-boobs or gynecomastia is the name that we use in medical terms. We usually use the latest technology in liposuction, excise all the glandular, all the fatty tissue on the chest first. While we’re doing that we can feel and determine how much glandular tissue is there. The glandular tissue is more dense and fibrotic, and resistant to liposuction. Therefore, the surgeon after he has already removed all the fat around the chest can determine how much glandular tissue is there, and if there is some we have to make an incision and sharply go on excise the gland, and then stitch it back together. The results are basically in a flat chest.

Shannon Scott, Sono Bello Bellevue Practice Leader: And what’s the recovery time like after a procedure like this?

Dr: Marco Sobrino:

Recovery time I tell my patients that will take about three days or up to a week before they’re able to go back to work for regular liposuction. But being localized only to the chest I have to assume that will be a little bit faster. But we tend to be conservative and that’s why we tell the patients no competitive sports for about a couple weeks as well, but normal activity inside of the house can be done right away.

Shannon Scott, Sono Bello Bellevue Practice Leader: That’s great thank you so much Dr. Sobrino!