gynecomastia treatment


Gynecomastia is an abnormal enlargement of male breasts, and it is usually due to an imbalance in sex hormones. Chest fat, on the other hand, refers to pockets of fat in the chest region that are often the result of being overweight. While these two conditions may look similar and are both referred to as “man boobs” or “moobs,” they have different causes, symptoms and treatments.

If you are a man dealing with excess tissue in the chest area, it is important to know the difference between gynecomastia vs. chest fat so that you can identify its underlying causes and the appropriate treatment. In this blog post, you will find key facts on gynecomastia, including what distinguishes it from regular chest fat and how you can have it treated.

About Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia, or male breast enlargement, is the abnormal growth of male breasts. It causes ductal tissue, connective tissue and fat to enlarge, leading to the appearance of female-like breasts. The medical name for this condition comes from the Greek words gyne (feminine) and masto (breasts).

Gynecomastia has more than just a physical effect. Men with this condition often say they feel so self-conscious that they avoid going to places like the beach or the gym where they might be expected to have their shirt off, or regularly wear wide shirts in an attempt to hide their enlarged chest. In some cases, the condition is also painful and uncomfortable.

If you have gynecomastia, you may find some relief in knowing it is a fairly common condition. It affects about half of all men to some extent and usually happens during periods of hormonal change, such as birth, puberty and old age. During puberty, more than half of all boys experience some degree of breast enlargement. Luckily, in most of these cases, the condition resolves without treatment within a few months to two years.

Gynecomastia is primarily due to an imbalance between estrogen and testosterone levels, specifically a change in the ratio of estrogen to testosterone. Estrogen normally promotes breast growth and suppresses the secretion of testosterone. Why this imbalance happens isn’t always known, but certain risk factors can contribute to it:

  • Male breast cancer
  • Hypogonadism
  • Adrenal disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Malnutrition
  • Obesity

Certain medications and recreational drugs are also known to contribute to gynecomastia by stimulating estrogen production or acting like estrogen. And in rare cases, certain tumors can also lead to an imbalance in hormones.

Gynecomastia vs. Chest Fat – What Is the Difference?

Gynecomastia is not the same as having too much chest fat.

Gynecomastia is the growth of breast glands, connective tissue and fat in the male breast due to hormonal imbalances. Chest fat is simply fat that has accumulated in the chest region due to excessive body weight. Gynecomastia that hasn’t naturally resolved requires surgery, while chest fat may respond to diet and exercise.

Here are a few more facts about each to help you tell the difference:


  • Feels firm, hard and rubbery
  • Usually starts as a solid lump right beneath the nipple
  • Appears similar to female breasts
  • May cause pain and tenderness
  • Does not respond to diet or exercise
  • In some cases, the nipple-areola complex may project

Chest fat

  • Feels soft to the touch, like body fat in other areas
  • Is associated with weight gain and excess body weight
  • Tends to droop and does not have a well-defined shape
  • Does not cause pain and tenderness
  • Responds to diet and exercise

How We Treat Gynecomastia

We treat gynecomastia first by determining its underlying cause. If there is an underlying cause that has been successfully managed, patients may need to wait a year to see if their condition spontaneously resolves. If nothing changes after that time, surgery is necessary to correct the appearance of the chest.

At South Shore Plastic Surgery, we employ a range of surgical procedures to treat gynecomastia. Because each case is unique, different approaches are necessary to achieve optimal results. Surgical options to treat this condition at our office include:

Fat Removal

For mild cases of gynecomastia, a specialized form of liposuction can make a big difference. Liposuction for gynecomastia removes fat that does not go away with a dedicated diet and exercise routine. Dr. Vasisht usually relies on VASER liposuction for this purpose. VASER uses ultrasound technology to break down excessive fatty breast tissue for easy removal with vacuum suction through a tiny incision.

Surgical Excision

Patients with a more severe case of gynecomastia usually benefit from open surgical excision of the fat, breast tissue and excess skin. Because severe cases of gynecomastia stretch out the skin and lead to significant sagging, open surgery is necessary to remove the excess breast tissue and tighten the skin, restoring a natural-looking chest. Dr. Vasisht uses techniques that involve making short incisions under the areola or horizontal scars along the bottom part of the breasts to help hide scarring.

Want to Find Out More About Gynecomastia Treatment?

If you were diagnosed with or believe you may have gynecomastia, you may benefit from surgical treatment. Gynecomastia often affects self-esteem and can make you miss out on the simple joys of life. To stop this condition from further interfering with your well-being, we invite you to contact South Shore Plastic Surgery at 856-784-2639 or schedule your consultation with New Jersey plastic surgeon Dr. Bhupesh Vasisht. Dr. Vasisht will discuss your options with you and be happy to answer all your questions regarding gynecomastia and its treatments.