Gynecomastia vs. Pseudogynecomastia

In recent years, I have seen a trend of more and more men seeking plastic surgery. After all, men enjoy the same confidence women do when they are happier with their appearance. One of the most common aesthetic concerns that brings men to my Atlanta plastic surgery practice is overdeveloped breasts. In medical terms, this condition is known as gynecomastia—which is probably the first thing any man would find if he took his questions to Google. But what few men actually realize is that while they may think they have gynecomastia based on their symptoms, there is another possibility—they may have pseudogynecomastia instead.

Gynecomastia vs. PseudogynecomastiaThe Difference between Gynecomastia and Pseudogynecomastia

“Pseudo” essentially means “fake”—so pseudogynecomastia refers to a condition which looks like gynecomastia but actually isn’t. The difference lies in what type of excess tissue you actually have in the chest area. True gynecomastia occurs when glandular breast tissue (the same type that makes up female breasts) is overdeveloped. This is caused by an imbalance between the hormones estrogen (the “female” hormone) and testosterone (the “male” hormone). Every man produces a little bit of estrogen, but if the hormonal balance changes, because of either too much estrogen or too little testosterone, breast tissue may increase. Pseudogynecomastia, on the other hand, is when another type of tissue causes the appearance of enlarged breasts. Usually, the culprit is excess fat.

Treatments for Gynecomastia and Pseudogynecomastia

Discovering what type of condition is causing your breast enlargement will have an impact on how your condition is treated. Gynecomastia most often arises at hormone-heavy times in a man’s life, like puberty and the elder years. In some cases, the symptoms will resolve on their own, but if they do not, a plastic surgery known as male breast reduction can provide successful and predictable results. The procedure will vary from one patient to another, depending on how much tissue needs to be removed, whether there is excess skin and/or fat that needs to be reduced as well, and whether the areola must be improved.

While pseudogynecomastia may be able to be addressed with natural weight loss, the condition can develop in men who have a healthy weight as well, because some men are simply predisposed to storing fat in their chest area. If you don’t need to lose weight but do have excess fat in the chest, liposuction can be an ideal way to target the stubborn fat and provide you with more sculpted, masculine contours.

When you’re considering treatment for your breast enlargement, however, keep in mind that your results will only be long-lasting if you can keep your condition from developing again in the future. Although some men with male breasts may not have any ongoing development, gynecomastia can be caused or worsened by anabolic steroids, certain street drugs, excessive alcohol use, and some specific medications. Both gynecomastia and pseudogynecomastia can also be affected by obesity. So before you begin any type of treatment regimen, be sure to stop any controllable risk factors for future breast development.

Male breast enlargement is a significant issue not only because it is incredibly common but also because it can have a strong effect on a man’s self-confidence, regardless of whether it is caused by true gynecomastia or pseudogynecomastia. To start discussing how I can help you once again feel confident in anything you’re wearing, schedule a plastic surgery consultation with me, Dr. Franklyn Elliott. Or, for more helpful cosmetic surgery information about male breast reduction and other procedures, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.