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WHAT IS A GYNECOMASTIA?

 
 
 

HUGO CORTES, M.D.

Plastic Surgeon

BOARD CERTIFIED MEMBER OF THE COLOMBIAN SOCIETY OF PLASTIC SURGERY

     
   
     

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Gynecomastia is a disorder consisting on an increased size of men breast. It literally means “women breast”. Tissues of the breast increase in size, causing gynecomastia, usually in times of hormonal changes, such as childhood, adolescence, and old age.

Some facts about gynecomastia:

 
     
    About 65 % of male adolescents older than 14, have gynecomastia.  
         
    Babies have a temporary form of this disorder, which is related to hormones of the mother.  
         
   

Approximately 90% of men that had gynecomastia during adolescence get a natural healing, a natural regression in breast tissues.

 
       
         
  What causes a Gynecomastia?  
         
 

It is normally a benign condition (not a cancer), due to many hormonal changes of various kinds. Sometimes, cause is unknown. A raise in estrogens or a decrease in androgens (testosterone) is the main cause of gynecomastia. Doctors must rule out some diseases, in order to do an accurate diagnosis. Gynecomastia may be just a symptom of disorders like breast cancer, liver diseases, lung cancer, testicles cancer, suprarenal gland tumors, pituitary gland tumors, use of some drugs, hereditary disorders that appear at birth, thyroid gland problems, etc

 
         
 

Symptoms of gynecomastia: The main symptom is an increase of breast tissues.

There are several grades:

 
         
    Grade I gynecomastia: A minor increase in breast tissue, without extra skin.  
         
   

Grade II gynecomastia: A moderate increase in breast size, with or without extra skin. It can be noticed a little bit.

 
       
         
   

Grade III gynecomastia: It consists on a big increase in breast tissue, with extra skin, resulting in a much bigger breast size.

 
       
         
  Patients must always consult a physician, for a right diagnosis.  
         
 

To diagnose gynecomastia, doctors perform a physical examination and evaluate the patient ‘s medical history. These procedures are also conducted:

 
         
    Blood tests, including liver (hepatic function) and hormones tests.  
         
    Urine tests  
         
   

Consult with an Endocrinologist. (An expert in hormones production and effects of hormones in body organs.)

 
       
         
    Mammography. Breast X rays.  
         
  Treatment of Gynecomastia:  
         
  Treatments vary very much, depending on:  
         
    Patient’s age, general health, medical history.  
         
    Grade of the disorder.  
         
    Patient’s tolerance to some drugs, procedures or therapies.  
         
    Patient´s expectations.  
         
    Patient’s opinion and wishes.  
         
 

Surgery is an option to eliminate excess tissue. Usually, it is a good idea waiting for two years, if symptoms appear during adolescence, so that a natural regression of breast tissue may occur. Your surgeon will help you decide if you are a good candidate for surgery. 

On surgery: 

Anesthesia depends on many things, like patient’s and doctor’s preferences, type and extent of gynecomastia, patient’s age and size of the incision. Anesthesia can be general or local. Before surgery, doctors usually draw some lines on the skin to indicate areas to be removed. 

There are different kinds of surgeries, including the following ones:

 
         
    Liposuction  
     

It slowly diminishes the tissues edges, without undesired side effects. An open surgery is performed in complicated gynecomastia cases. Through an incision in breast, excess tissue is removed.

 
         
    Endoscopic surgery  
     

This procedure is very recently practiced. An endoscopy, which uses a light and a lense, evaluates the inner part of the breast. After that, tissues are extirpated without the need of a big, open incision. There are no precise statistics about this procedure at this time.

 
         
 

THIS IS A GENERAL INFORMATION, EACH CASE MUST BE EVALUATED INDIVIDUALLY

 
         
       
  DR. HUGO CORTES Ask the surgeon by clicking on the envelope
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