In my Los Angeles plastic surgery practice, I see many patients with gynecomastia which is a condition that results in generalized male breast enlargement. It is the most common benign breast condition in males.
Gynecomastia results from an imbalance in the ratio of circulating hormones (estrogen and progesterone). Most commonly, the exact cause is unknown (aka idiopathic). However, there are many conditions that can result in male breast enlargement. These include: breast cancer, testicular cancer, disorders or hormone production, liver disease, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and drugs (both prescription drugs and illicit drugs).
Gynecomastia usually manifests as a firm, mobile disk of tissue underlying the nipple-areolar complex. This may occur in one or both breasts.
When discussing gynecomastia with your surgeon, it is important to relate the duration and timing of your breast changes, and the specifics of your symptoms and any symptom progression. You must also be honest with your surgeon in terms of any and all medications that you use, including over the counter drugs, illicit street drugs and alcohol.
In the majority of pubertal boys, gynecomastia usually resolves without intervention within two years. However, surgical intervention is indicated if the enlarged tissue does not regress, the patient experiences physical pain, the patient experiences emotional distress (i.e. is self-conscious or is being teased by his peers) or if there is suspicion of a malignant process. Psychological distress is one of the most common reasons that patients come to Dr. Brenner to have gynecomastia treated.