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Gynecomastia is an overdevelopment of breast tissue in boys and men.  This causes swelling or enlargement of one or both sides of the chest and can have the appearance of a feminine breast. It affects between 50% and 60% of adolescents during puberty, and it’s very common for boys and men to experience some degree of gynecomastia at some point in their lives. It is generally not a health concern, though it may cause tenderness or pain. Additionally, many gynecomastia sufferers tend to feel self-conscious about their physique. If you have concerns about gynecomastia, we invite you to contact us or visit SBA Dermatology in Houston, TX to explore treatment options with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Couvillion.


What is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is an excessive development of glandular tissue, fatty tissue, or both in the breasts of men. The condition may affect both sides, or it may only affect one breast.

Though the cause may not always be clear, gynecomastia typically results from a hormonal imbalance between testosterone and estrogen. Decreased testosterone or increased estrogen levels may lead to the development of breast tissue. It may resolve as you age, but sometimes patients present many years after puberty and still have some residual breast tissue.  This often shows up as a firm area underneath the nipple that can be painful if pressed on or hit.

A large number of adults may experience some form of gynecomastia. An NIH study estimated that approximately 65% of men between the age of 27 and 92 are affected by some degree of gynecomastia.

Other factors may influence gynecomastia, including:

  • Aging

  • Obesity, as being overweight causes fat storage in the chest, and higher body fat levels also promotes estrogen production

  • Antibiotics or certain drugs used to treat health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or heart problems

  • Anti-androgens, such as those used to treat an enlarged prostate or hair loss

  • Anabolic steroids, either prescribed by a doctor or procured illicitly by athletes and bodybuilders

  • Alcohol and “street drugs,” including amphetamines and marijuana

Gynecomastia may also be a sign of certain health issues, including hyperthyroidism, hypogonadism, malnutrition, tumors, or kidney or liver disease.

How can you know you have gynecomastia?

Swelling, pain, or tenderness in one or both breasts may indicate gynecomastia. Or if you feel a palpable, mobile lump or disk located centrally beneath the nipple and areola, this may be gynecomastia. Nipple discharge may also occur in certain conditions but is relatively rare.

Some forms, like fatty gynecomastia, respond well to weight loss.  Other forms caused by a proliferation of glandular tissue may require different treatment options, like a surgical excision.

If diet and exercise do not produce meaningful results, further treatment may be necessary. Dr. Couvillion will perform any tests required to root out the cause of gynecomastia and check for any possible underlying health issues.  He may also refer you to a primary care physician or endocrinologist in Houston, Tx for additional workup.

Gynecomastia treatment

Gynecomastia surgery is usually an uncomplicated and effective procedure.  The results are visible as soon as surgery is over. Dr. Couvillion takes a lot of time with his patients to ensure your safety, comfort, and satisfaction while meeting your goals.

The treatment itself is surgery, which is usually performed under anesthesia.  Some patients only require liposuction to remove fat and create a flatter chest contour. For those with breast tissue, Dr. Couvillion carefully removes the excess glandular tissue.  Some patients require both an excision and liposuction to achieve their desired contour.  Every patient is different and each treatment is personalized to your anatomy. The result is a natural, more masculine chest.

Get in touch with us today for a more masculine chest

At SBA Dermatology & Plastic Surgery, we’ve treated patients suffering from gynecomastia, helping them regain their confidence and enjoy an improved quality of life.  The confidence improvement for patients after this surgery can be amazing and is great to see. If all of the above is something you think would help you, Dr. Ryan Couvillion would love to see you too!

If you are interested in gynecomastia please reach out to  Dr. Ryan Couvillion's Aesthetic Consultant, Rosa Gonzalez at 713.850.0240 x. 1146 or you can email her at to see if this is an option for you!

Ryan Couvillion, MD

Ryan Couvillion, MD

double board certified plastic surgeon

Dr. Ryan Couvillion is an experienced Houston, TX plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic procedures for the breasts, body, face, and skin. A native Houstonian, Dr. Couvillion has been recognized for his passion and dedication to achieving the best possible results for his patients. His drive to pursue training in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery began at a young age, and he is honored to have been mentored by some of the nation’s most recognized surgeons.

For every aesthetic need, Dr. Couvillion incorporates a patient-centered approach with everyone he encounters and makes each client a part of the decision-making process. According to Dr. Couvillion, "The most gratifying part of my day is when I get to talk to a happy patient. It is such a privilege to care for my patients and give them the results they want."

Learn more here.