Gynecomastia

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

View the Impotence Slideshow Pictures

Surgical treatments

Reduction mammoplasty (breast reduction surgery) has been used in cases of severe gynecomastia, long-term gynecomastia, or in cases in which drug therapies have not been effective.

What are the complications of gynecomastia?

Although pubertal gynecomastia typically regresses on its own, in rare cases it may persist, requiring treatment. Gynecomastia that is present over the long term (12 months or more) may undergo scarring (medically termed fibrosis), making treatment with medications much more difficult if not impossible to achieve a response.

Psychological consequences can occur if the breast enlargement is pronounced or is a source of embarrassment.

Can gynecomastia be prevented?

Gynecomastia that occurs because of hormonal fluctuations with growth or aging cannot be prevented. Gynecomastia related to medical conditions can only be prevented to the extent that the underlying or responsible condition can be prevented.

What is the prognosis for gynecomastia?

Many cases of gynecomastia resolve without treatment, and medical treatment is effective in reducing gynecomastia in many cases. For severe cases or cases in which the breast tissue has become scarred, surgical techniques can help restore normal appearance. Typically, gynecomastia is not associated with long-term problems.

Men with gynecomastia have about a five-fold greater risk for developing male breast cancer when compared with the general population. It is believed that the gynecomastia itself is not a precancerous condition, but rather that the hormonal changes (relative increase in estrogens, lower levels of androgens) that produce gynecomastia in adult men also increase their risk of developing breast cancer.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCES:

MedscapeReference. Gynecomastia.

Brinton LA, Carreon JD, Gierach GL, McGlynn KA, Gridley G. Etiologic factors for male breast cancer in the U.S. Veterans Affairs medical care system database. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2009 Mar 29.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/9/2015

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Men's Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Gynecomastia - Symptoms

    What were the symptoms of your gynecomastia?

    Post View 6 Comments
  • Gynecomastia - Experience

    Please describe your experience with gynecomastia.

    Post View 9 Comments
  • Gynecomastia - Treatment

    What was the treatment for your gynecomastia?

    Post View 1 Comment

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors