Gynecomastia Causes and Symptoms

How do you know If large breasts on a man are "gynocomastia" or some other problem? Is it just from being obese/being fat?

Doctor Answers 13

What is gynecomastia?

GYNECOMASTIA = Breast Enlargement in Men, below are some basic information to know about the procedure and if it is for you:
Gynecomastia or breast enlargement in men can be corrected by a variety of plastic surgical techniques. This condition often creates a psychological poor self perception and many males of all ages do not take their shirts off because of this stigma. Candidates are men who have over-developed or enlarged breasts which may occur as the result of hormonal changes or hereditary conditions.
Candidates are healthy men, whose condition cannot be corrected through exercise, weight reduction or other non-surgical treatments. Appropriate preconditions for surgery are the stabilization of breast development (no further breast enlargement) and localized areas of excess breast tissue and fat.
Intended Result
The procedure intends to reduce the breast size and redundant breast tissue to enhance the contours of the chest. The surgery often reduces physical discomfort associated with the area, as well as physiological and emotional dissatisfaction with the area.
Procedure Description
General, Intravenous or local anesthesia are used for this procedure depending on the severity and type of procedure(s) selected by your plastic surgeon. It is performed on an outpatient basis. For males with very large breasts staged procedures (more than one procedure) may be required. For example, the first procedure may be liposuction, then several weeks to months later after skin contraction has occurred, a separate procedure is done to remove excess skin. By doing a staged procedure, often the final scars are less.
Oftentimes, specific types of liposuction cannulas are used and often in conjunction with direct removal of excess breast glandular tissue through small incisions for mild to moderate gynecomastia. Other specific techniques can reduce the areola when needed or reposition the nipple to create the appearance of a more natural contour.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Gynecomastia Causes and Symptoms

Hi A. Foley,

Thanks for the post. To really know if you have gynecomastia (glandular excess) or pseudogynecomastia (fatty excess without glandular excess) you should see a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in gynecomastia surgery. You will need a thorough history and physical exam. In addition, if you have gynecomastia, the plastic surgeon can also make recommendations as to the procedure that would best help you achieve your goals.


Dr. Dadvand

Babak Dadvand, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews


Thank you for the question.

Gynecomastia comes from the Greek meaning "gyne" meaning woman and  "mastos"  meaning breasts.  It refers to abnormal development of large mammary glands in males.  The diagnosis can be made by physical examination where relatively firm tissue  (breast gland tissue) can be differentiated from relatively soft tissue (adipose tissue).

Breast prominence due to excessive adipose tissue is called pseudo-gynecomastia or lipomastia.  The differentiation of true  gynecomastia  from adipose tissue is important because the surgical treatment may differ. Usually  physical examination by a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon is sufficient to make the diagnosis  and to determine the best course of treatment.

I have found that gynecomastia is often best treated with  partial excision of the prominent glandular tissue  as well as liposuction surgery of the peripheral chest area.  If the prominence of the chest wall is caused by adipose tissue, then liposculpture surgery alone may suffice.

 I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Causes of Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia (overdeveloped or enlarged breasts) is common in men of any age. It can be the result of hormonal changes, heredity conditions, disease or the use of certain drugs.  

Gynecomastia is characterized by:

- Excess localized fat
- Excess glandular tissue development
- A combination of both excess fat and glandular tissue
- Gynecomastia may even be present unilaterally (one breast) instead of bilaterally (both breasts).

Nasimul Huq, MD
Niagara Falls Plastic Surgeon
3.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Male Breast is compose from or gland

You should see a experienced board certified plastic surgeon/gynecomastia surgeon for accurate diagnosis and consistent results 

Mordcai Blau, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Gynecomastia (man boobs) causes and treatments

Gynecomastia, or excessive development of the mammary glands in males, commonly known as "man boobs" can be caused by a variety of factors:       

                  1)  Hormonal changes - most commonly during puberty

                   2)  Obesity - also known as pseudo-gynecomastia

                   3)  Medications and drugs   Steroids, AndrogensMarijuana, etc.                   

                    4)  Breast cancer or testicular cancer

Although the first two causes, hormonal changes and obesity, are by far the most common causes of  gynecomastia,  patients with gynecomastia should have a medical history and physical exam performed to rule out the more serious problems.

Treatment usually consists of direct resection of the breast tissue through a small incision and/or liposuction.   I have found Ultrasound (Vaser) assisted liposuction to be very effective in removing the excessive tissue, and tailoring the chest, as well as helping to tighten loose skin which may result with standard liposuction.  

Vincent D. Lepore, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Causes of gynaecomastia

For pinpointing the exact cause you will need a consultation with a plastic surgeon.

The gynaecomastia can be of pure fatty type of may have a glandular element as well.You may need a detailed medical history ,examination & a few lab tests for determining the cause if any of your problem.

The surgical treatment can involve liposuction &/or  excision of glandular element.

Anup Dhir, MD
India Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews


It would be best to have an evaluation by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in gynecomastia to know what your particular situation is. Sometimes the appearance of gynecomastia may be caused by excess fat and then would be what is referred to as "pseudo-gynecomastia". More cases however include excess breast tissue along with fat and therefore is true gynecomastia. If you think it may be only fat, try losing weight and see if it resolves. If it doesn't you may want to see a specialist and find out your options.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

True gynecomastia causes

In order to tell whether your gynecomastia is caused by fatty tissue or breast tissue, you will need a consultation and examination by your plastic surgeon. Often it is even difficulty for the plastic surgeon to determine how much of the thickness of the breast is caused by breast tissue versus fatty tissue.

George W. Weston, MD
Reston Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Gynecomastia Causes & Treatment

True gynecomastia can be differentiated from obesity by the presence of glandular tissue which is typically located beneath the areola.  There are many causes (hormonal and medication side effects being the most common).  I treat true gynecomastia with a combination of excision and suctioning as I feel this leads to the best results.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.