While there are many casual terms for the appearance of male breast tissue — “man boobs” or “moobs” are the most common — there are also terms that doctors and other medical professionals use.
Gynecomastia is the main term that describes the natural growth of male breast tissue related to hormones. Another term is pseudogynecomastia, which is the appearance of man boobs caused by fat tissue.
No matter what you call them, man boobs can be an embarrassing drain on your life. These unwanted growths can cause a drop in your self-esteem, make you avoid social activities, and lead to a downward spiral of inactivity. In some cases, this downward spiral can lead to weight gain that can make the condition seem worse.
This is why a common related question many men have is, “What is the difference between gynecomastia and fat? And can you have both at the same time?” To help you better understand the answer to these and other questions, Innovations Medical is sharing the following informative guide.
Clinically, gynecomastia is excessive growth of male breast tissue mainly caused by hormone imbalance. You’ve probably heard of the male sex hormone testosterone, and the female sex hormone estrogen. In most cases, gynecomastia happens if testosterone falls and estrogen increases. There are three times during life when these hormonal imbalances are most likely to happen in men:
- After the age of 50
The underlying cause of this hormone-related breast tissue growth can be due to natural aging, an underlying medical condition such as a thyroid problem, and medications such as steroids or chemotherapy. Another major contributor can be alcohol consumption or recreational drug use.
The Primary Differences Between Gynecomastia and Chest Fat
While the buildup of fat tissue can cause the appearance of man boobs, it is not the same as gynecomastia. With true gynecomastia, the tissue grows from specific glands in the pectoral region as a result of a hormonal imbalance. These growths will not respond to diet, exercise, and overall weight loss in the same way that normal chest fat will.
While chest fat tends to be soft and pliant, gynecomastia is usually firmer. In fact, it can sometimes feel like a hard or rubbery lump beneath the surface of the skin. This also shows up in the appearance as well. While chest fat tends to sag and droop, man boobs caused by gynecomastia will appear rounder and have more lift.
Another differentiator is that while it is common for gynecomastia to develop in both breasts, it can also develop on only one side. This is something that tends to not happen in cases of chest fat.
As mentioned above, doctors can diagnose chest fat that has the appearance of breast growth as pseudogynecomastia. And it can be very possible that a case of man boobs can be caused by both gynecomastia and chest fat.
In cases where a man loses weight, or is not overweight, and still has excessive breast tissue growth, it is very likely to be caused by gynecomastia. Treatment for gynecomastia can include hormone therapy, ceasing certain medications if possible, and eating a healthy diet that promotes better hormone balance. For many, cosmetic surgery such as liposuction can be the best option for addressing both gynecomastia and excess chest fat tissue.
How Male Breast Reduction Liposuction Procedures Work
Dr. Bill Johnson and Innovations Medical performs a procedure called Smartlipo that can treat man boobs caused by both chest fat and gynecomastia. This technique combines our Tickle/Vibro Liposuction and SmartLipo Laser Liposuction. The goal is the removal of the fat and skin tightening, all while you are awake and with minimal discomfort.
You can expect a male breast reduction procedure to take approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Recovery and downtime are minimal — most of our patients return to work and normal activities within a day.
If you have fully explored all other options for gynecomastia and/or pseudogynecomastia, the procedures we offer at Innovations Medical may help. To find out if you are a good candidate, we are happy to offer a surgical consultation.
Contact Innovations Medical to Learn About Male Breast Reduction
If you’re looking to take control of your body and get rid of man boobs, Innovations Medical is here for you. Our skilled professionals help you decide which treatment is best for you – keeping you informed and confident in the next steps. We’ve been helping our patients look and feel their best since 2005, and even our most advanced procedures are often minimally invasive.