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Gynecomastia - Is Surgery The Best Option?

Dr. Anubhav Gupta 89% (28 ratings)
DNB, MCh - Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, MS - Plastic Surgery, MBBS
Cosmetic/Plastic Surgeon, Delhi  •  18 years experience
Gynecomastia - Is Surgery The Best Option?

Gynecomastia is a condition where the tissues of the breasts swell in a boy or men. This is caused by the imbalance of testosterone and oestrogen. It might affect one or both the breasts depending on the level of hormonal imbalances. Although not considered as a serious condition, Gynecomastia can be a difficult condition to cope up with. There are multiple treatment options and surgery is one of them. In many cases, this condition goes as abruptly as it appeared. For cases that are complicated and difficult to get rid of, doctors suggest a medical procedure get rid of the condition.

Symptoms of Gynecomastia:

Some common symptoms of Gynecomastia include tenderness of breasts, swollen breast gland, pain in the breasts, discharge from the nipple etc.

Causes of Gynecomastia:

  1. There could be many causes of this disease. If the condition is witnessed in babies, it could well come from the mother due to an overdose of oestrogen. Gynecomastia also appears during puberty resulting in the breast to swell up. The condition can again crop up after the age of 50 due to hormonal changes.

  2. Certain medications can be a reason of Gynecomastia. Some of the common medications include certain antibiotics, anti-anxiety related medications, chemotherapy shots, HIV patients receiving HAART, cardiovascular medications such as Lanoxin, anabolic steroids etc.

  3. Certain drugs such as heroin, alcohol, methadone, marijuana, Amphetamines etc.

  4. Certain health conditions such as hypogonadism, hyperthyroidism, liver cirrhosis, ageing, certain tumours, failure of the kidney malnutrition etc.

Risk Factors Of Gynecomastia-

Certain risk factors of gynecomastia include older age, use of certain steroids, adolescence and other medical conditions such as Klinefelter's syndrome, tumour related to hormonal fluctuation and disease related to thyroid.

Diagnosis:

A doctor typically checks the history of drugs along with the health condition of the patient. He might also take a look at the health of the extended family. A careful tissue evaluation of the genitals, breast and abdomen are done. This is followed by a physical exam followed by prescribing certain tests such as mammograms, complete blood work, CT scan, biopsy of the tissue, MRI scan etc.

Treatment:

Most people suffering from Gynecomastia see a significant regression with periodic treatment. If however the condition arises from an underlying cause such as cirrhosis and malnutrition, a doctor suggests 2 option- medications and surgery:

  1. Medications: Certain medications that are known to be helpful for breast related cancers are known to be effective in this condition. Some common examples of these drugs include evista, arimidex and soltamox.

  2. Surgery: Only after exploring all medical options a doctor suggests surgery. There are 2 procedures namely mastectomy and liposuction. The latter removes the fat cells of the breast and the former removes the breast gland tissue. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a cosmetic surgeon.

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