Adolescent gynecomastia is caused by an imbalance of hormones resulting in breast enlargement in teenage boys. As young men go through puberty there can be a disproportion between estrogen (female characteristics) and testosterone (male characteristics). A higher level of estrogen causes an increase in breast tissue producing gynecomastia. Referred to as physiologic gynecomastia, this condition occurs during different stages of life, typically in infants, adolescent boys, and older men.
During puberty, hormones oscillate often resulting in higher estrogen levels. Approximately 65% of teenage boys experience elevated levels of estrogen, with 75% of cases resolving without treatment within two years. However, 5% of cases are considered persistent pubertal gynecomastia. This is when the breast tissue becomes firm and fibrous, remaining as the adolescent reaches adulthood. This condition can cause sever psychological stress for men, especially teenage boys. Should the condition develop into persistent pubertal gynecomastia, surgery is the only effective treatment option.
Surgery can be a positive option for treatment in adolescent men. Young men have elastic, pliable skin that successfully contracts back to the muscle after removal of the gland. In order to complete the breast reduction, Dr. Delgado, a double board certified plastic surgeon that specializes in this type of surgery, performs a gynecomastia gland excision with liposuction.
Non-Surgical or Medical Treatments
The FDA has yet to approve of a medical treatment for adolescent or adult gynecomastia. There are several drugs under investigation, such as Tamoxifen, which blocks estrogen receptors. Another drug under investigation is Danazol, an androgen or testosterone that blocks estrogen production. However, further research is needed in order to develop an effective FDA approved medicine that can be used by the general public. Therefore, surgery remains the most effective treatment option available.
Adolescents with gynecomastia that seek surgical treatment still experience hormone level fluctuation during their teenage years. This means that although surgery is performed, it remains a possibility that the breast tissue could re-grow. Breast reduction surgery for this condition does not entail the removal of the breast tissue due to the fact that it is a cosmetic procedure. As a result, it is possible the breast tissue that remains could re-grow in the future. However, it is important to note that should tissue growth return, it is often less than it’s original growth size. Furthermore, Dr. Delgado has yet to do a secondary operation on a patient because of tissue re-growth.
Choosing the Best Surgeon
Dr. Delgado, along with his Sacramento office team, is committed to providing patients with the most effective treatment options available. As an experienced surgeon who specializes in gynecomastia, Dr. Delgado knows the deep psychological effects this condition can have on a young man. In his expert opinion, Dr. Delgado strongly believes that should the condition begin to affect a teenage boy socially, altering his behavior, mood and self-esteem, surgical treatment should be considered. Dr. Delgado also recommends consulting with the young man’s pediatrician and endocrinologist to ensure both doctors are on board with surgery as a treatment option. For more information about adolescent gynecomastia treatment, do not hesitate in contacting Dr. Delgado’s office.