October 10, 2008, Newsletter Issue #91: Understanding Gynecomastia

Tip of the Week

The term "gynecomastia" is derived from the Greek words "gyne," which means woman and "mastos," which means breasts. This term applies to men who have breasts that are abnormally large. There are a number of different factors that contribute to gynecomastia including puberty, steroid abuse, obesity, tumors, genetic disorder, chronic liver disease, the use of certain medications and even aging. Gynecomastia is often common in adolescent boys, but in most cases the condition resolves itself as the body matures. However, for some patients the condition may not resolve and the oversized breasts may be a constant source of embarrassment.

Breast reduction surgery for men was relatively rare several years ago, but the procedure is becoming increasingly popular. The procedure most often involves performing liposuction on the breasts to remove excess fatty tissue and create a more masculine appearance. Although the recovery period may span several weeks, many patients are eager to undergo this procedure once they learn it is possible because it can have a pronounced impact on their quality of life. Patients who were previously embarrassed to participate in activities, such as swimming, often have a newfound confidence after the breast reduction procedure.

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