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What is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a fairly common, but rarely talked about, condition of enlarged male breasts. Sometimes overdeveloped male breasts can be linked to specific drugs or medical problems. Most commonly gynecomastia is caused by excess glandular tissue (localized fat deposits). Male breast reduction surgery can help men feel better about their appearance by creating a more masculine chest contour.

Gynecomastia comes from the Greek words gyne and mastos, meaning female and breasts, roughly translating to female-like breasts. Gynecomastia is a benign condition that accounts for 60% of all disorders of the male breast and 85% of male breast masses. It can occur in persons of any age, but 40% of cases occur in adolescent boys aged 14-15.5 years. As many as 65% of teenage boys have gynecomastia. In 90% of those teenage boys, gynecomastia goes away on its own in 2 to 3 years. Approximately 40% of healthy men and up to 70% of hospitalized men have palpable breast tissue. The prevalence rate increases to more than 60% in those in their seventies.

Some men and boys have fat on their chests that makes it look like they have breasts. This condition is called pseudogynecomastia (false gynecomastia). It's not the same thing as gynecomastia, they may just be overweight.

 

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