Gynaecomastia

Gynaecomastia (also referred to as man boobs/moobs) is a condition where the male breast becomes enlarged.

It is part of normal development in teenage boys and is often disconcerting as the breasts develop a hard, tender lump under the nipple. In just a few the swelling extends to become a proper breast. It may affect one or both breasts to a greater or lesser degree. After puberty, the problem will resolve itself in most young men. This is proper breast tissue growing under the influence of increased and unbalanced circulating hormones, oestrogen and testosterone.

An interesting demonstration of this phenomenon is the gynaecomastia of newborn boys appearing under the influence of the mother’s oestrogen. It disappears within 3 weeks of birth.

There are a host of conditions which can influence these hormones, such as hyperthyroidism, lack of or damage to the testicles, liver and kidney disease.

Drugs are the other big group of influences. Some are prescribed treatments such as for cancer and AIDS, antidepressants and steroids, but a big group is most street drugs, bodybuilding anabolic steroids and some herbal medication.

Gynaecomastia is very common in middle-aged especially overweight men.

Whatever the cause, it is an intensely embarrassing condition and low self-esteem can be crippling.

Fortunately, there is treatment and that is essentially surgical. Medical treatment is not very satisfactory.

Where possible we treat by liposuction. This is highly effective in removing both fat and breast tissue. However, very dense tissue especially the breast disc under the nipple will need surgical excision. Slim, young men whose normal gynaecomastia of puberty has not naturally resolved are likely to require excision alone. This is called Webster’s Procedure or subcutaneous mastectomy.

Treatment then is liposuction, excision or a combination of the two. This is quite a skilled process in order to leave a smooth contour. Too often one sees a very uneven chest.  At the Cadogan clinic, we are presented with these problems and can usually retrieve the result with a combination of further liposuction, excision and fat grafting.

The older patient with less elastic skin will find that removing the breast tissue leaves the nipple somewhat lower on the chest. This is not usually a problem, but, if necessary, for some a second procedure to lift the nipple can be contemplated.

Related Treatments:

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Of course, we use the very latest technology. But our real skill is in knowing how and when to use it to suit each individual patient.

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