Adolescent Gynecomastia

Many parents approach Philadelphia / South Jersey gynecomastia surgeon Adrian Lo, MD, FACS, FRCS (C) to find a solution for their sons’ adolescent gynecomastia, or enlarged breast tissue. They report that their sons are uncomfortable in certain social situations, such as a class pool party or summer camp swim lessons, at the beach or at gym class at school and never take their shirt off.

Many teenage boys are bothered by their gynecomastia or extra breast tissue and do research on their own to learn about correction of gynecomastia. They are reluctant to tell their parents about their concerns regarding their chest appearance. Eventually they may tell their parents and seek help. Many times, they are told by other doctors that the gynecomastia will “go away with time”.

If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. In fact, a significant number of adolescent males are diagnosed with gynecomastia. Dr. Lo sees many adolescent males with gynecomastia that he recommends gynecomastia correction surgery because their condition will most likely not get better as they get older or become a young adult.

More Information About Adolescent Gynecomastia

Glandular tissue starts growing in males when they are 10 to 13 years old during puberty, beginning about six months following the onset of secondary male traits. The growth of breast tissue is stimulated by a hormone imbalance; namely, an imbalance of estrogen, the hormone that triggers glandular tissue growth, and testosterone, the hormone that counteracts estrogen’s effect. This slight hormonal imbalance is very common and is enough to cause the growth of glandular tissues resulting in gynecomastia.

Adolescent Gynecomastia

Adolescent Gynecomastia

While some males find that adolescent gynecomastia diminishes as they mature, the majority of males discover that their gynecomastia never gets better. In the latter cases, glandular tissue takes on a firm, fibrous nature once the males reach adulthood. Often there are puffy nipples and the areola is enlarged. Under these circumstances, male breast reduction surgery is the only solution.

Currently, there are no FDA-approved prescriptions or over-the-counter medications to treat gynecomastia. Some pharmaceutical manufacturers are testing drugs such as tamoxifen (a drug designed to block estrogen receptors) and danazol (a drug that blocks the production of estrogen), but thus far have found no conclusive evidence that they will help treat gynecomastia. More research is needed before the FDA can approve any drug for the purpose of treating enlarged male breast tissue.

Until that happens, the good news is that Dr. Lo has the answer: male breast reduction surgery. By providing male breast reduction surgery in Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware Valley, Dr. Lo has given many teenage boys a normal-looking chest and restored their self-confidence.

Treatment for Adolescent Gynecomastia

Some adolescent boys and men, especially if they are overweight, may experience pseudogynecomastia, a condition that describes extra fat tissue in the breast area. Dr. Lo treats this condition with one of his sophisticated liposuction techniques: tumescent, ultrasonic or power-assisted liposuction. Pseudogynecomastia differs from true gynecomastia in that fat tissue, not breast tissue, is enlarged.

For true adolescent gynecomastia (i.e., enlarged breast tissue), Dr. Lo performs subcutaneous mastectomy, or male breast reduction surgery. In this surgical procedure, he removes excess breast tissue. The breast glands are cut out and permanently removed. Liposuction sculpting may also be done at the same time to give you the best result possible. If you have puffy nipples, they will be corrected as well. In addition, if your areolas are large, they will also become smaller with the surgery.

To begin subcutaneous mastectomy, Dr. Lo creates an incision in the lower area of the areola, which is the darker region that surrounds the nipple. He then removes excess glandular tissue through the incision. Note that the incision is hidden in the areola, so adolescent and adult gynecomastia patients will not be self-conscious about scars.

If Dr. Lo determines that your gynecomastia is severe or that it is caused by several factors, he may advise a combination of surgical techniques. Often, Dr. Lo recommends both liposuction and subcutaneous mastectomy if you have both pseudo and true gynecomastia. Dr. Lo may also recommend making additional incisions in a different area than explained above if you have larger breasts, such as C- or D-cup sized breasts.

Dr. Lo will review all available options with you and suggest a suitable surgical regimen during consultation. His caring patient coordinators can also review other aspects of treatment, including costs and financing.

For more information about adolescent gynecomastia or to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Lo, please contact his office by calling (215) 829-6900.

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