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Should Teenagers Undergo Surgery for Gynecomastia?

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Gynecomastia occurs when excess fat and/or breast tissue is present, causing the enlargement of the breasts in males. While this condition is not physically harmful, it can be one of the most embarrassing and frustrating conditions for teenage boys to experience. 

Teenage boy standing outside with hands in his pockets.

Most males desire a masculine chest; however, gynecomastia leaves them with “man boobs” and a more feminine appearance. Dealing with this during puberty can be particularly traumatic, though it can destroy a man’s confidence at virtually any age. 

Unfortunately, gynecomastia isn’t a rare condition. In fact, statements have been made that 65 percent of males from ages 27 to 92 have gynecomastia, and up to 69 percent of males between 10 and 19 suffer from gynecomastia

Below, we’ll explore gynecomastia, including its causes, how to address this condition, and whether teenagers should have corrective surgery.

What Causes Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is ultimately caused by a hormonal imbalance of testosterone and estrogen in males. Some reasons for this imbalance include steroid use, drug use (especially marijuana), alcoholism, testicular and lung cancers and puberty

Many young men develop gynecomastia during their teenage years when their hormones change and are unbalanced. Typically, this manifests as a palpable mass centered beneath the areola, which can extend out peripherally and result in some degree of breast enlargement. 

Is Surgery Indicated for Gynecomastia Occurring Puberty?

For most males experiencing enlarged breasts during puberty, the hormonal imbalance corrects itself, leading to the resolution of the gynecomastia and, therefore, no need for male breast reduction surgery. Consequently, it is recommended that males between 10 to 19 not undergo corrective surgery.

There are some exceptions, however. These include substantial enlargements that can be related to major hormonal issues as well as to obesity. For example, large pendulous size “D” cups or larger breasts in a teenager will not disappear with the cessation of puberty. Only surgery can address this.

How Is Gynecomastia Surgery Performed?

The assessed underlying cause of the enlarged breasts helps determine the most appropriate procedure to address the gynecomastia. The enlargement could result from excess fat, enlarged glandular tissue or a combination of both. 

When fat is the cause of the gynecomastia, liposuction is used to remove the fat and contour the breasts. This would involve using one or two small incisions placed in strategic locations. A thin tube, known as a cannula, would be inserted through the incisions to remove the offending fat with suction. 

If excess, enlarged breast tissue is the reason for the gynecomastia, then surgical excision of this tissue will be necessary. For this procedure, Dr. Turkeltaub would make an incision along the lower half of the areola and precisely remove the offending tissue.

When the cause of the enlarged breasts is the result of both excess fat and breast tissue, then a combination of both liposuction and direct surgical excision would be needed to achieve the desired goal. 

Finally, if there is also excess, lax and sagging skin, this can be removed with more extensive skin incisions and excision and repositioning of the nipple-areola complexes. 

Gynecomastia correction surgery (male breast reduction) is most commonly performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient. 

Are You a Good Candidate for Gynecomastia Correction Surgery? 

Gynecomastia can cause men of all ages to feel embarrassed and self-conscious about their appearance. This condition may cause them to miss out on important aspects of their lives, such as spending time with friends at the pool or beach, wearing shirts they want to wear or even engaging in certain sports. It can definitely have a dampening effect on dating and intimacy.

So, if you suffer from enlarged male breasts, gynecomastia surgery can treat this embarrassing issue and help you regain confidence and comfort with your body. 

Want to Learn More?

If you think you may be a candidate for gynecomastia surgery, you should strongly consider scheduling a complimentary consultation with Dr. Turkeltaub. He will listen to your concerns and goals, thoroughly examine you and then determine exactly what course of action would be in your best interest. 

To schedule your free consultation, please call us at (480) 451-3000 or contact us by email. We look forward to helping you to look and feel the way that you want!