Can Gynecomastia Appear On Only One Side?

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Gynecomastia can be an embarrassing medical condition for male patients. You may be unfamiliar with the term, as it is not often discussed in social circles. However, studies have shown that roughly 65% of adult men from ages 27 to 90 have dealt with breast tissue enlargement. It occurs when excess glandular tissue causes the breasts to become enlarged and swollen, taking on a more feminine-looking appearance. While some men experience this condition in both breasts (bilateral), others struggle with it in only one breast, also known as unilateral gynecomastia.

Although there are usually no health risks involved, the condition can be embarrassing and painful for patients. In most cases, gynecomastia is treatable with liposuction, male breast reduction surgery, or a combination of both. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Young Cho at Chiseled in Spring, TX is highly experienced in performing these procedures for his patients hindered by this medical condition, helping them to achieve their aesthetic goals. Read on to learn more about this condition from Dr. Cho.

Why do I have enlarged breasts?

Gynecomastia is a benign breast enlargement that is a firm or rubbery mass extending from the nipple area. It is typically a bilateral condition for men, but, sometimes, can be a unilateral issue for patients. One-sided gynecomastia, like bilateral growth, is most commonly caused by an imbalance of hormones, resulting in a patient's estrogen levels being too high or out of balance with testosterone levels. Additional scientific and medical explanations for why some men suffer from gynecomastia are:

  • Lack of proper nutrition
  • Overweight
  • Medical conditions, such as liver disease, kidney failure, or tumors on the adrenal glands
  • Adverse side effect from a prescription medication
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Excessive use of alcohol or certain "street drugs"

What should I know about unilateral gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is typically a benign condition that poses no additional health risks to patients. Unilateral gynecomastia, also known as "one-sided" breast enlargement, can vary from patient to patient. The benign growth can be either small or large, making a man's chest look less masculine and more feminine-like in appearance. It is a medical condition that can have a profound mental impact on confidence and self-esteem. In most cases, it generally is seen as a bilateral growth in both breasts, but there is a small percentage of patients who have asymmetrical gynecomastia or one-sided. It is also more common for men to develop a "man boob" on the left side of the chest for unknown reasons. The medical community is also unsure why some patients develop only unilateral gynecomastia, and both breasts are not affected simultaneously.

Is there any treatment for unilateral gynecomastia?

At least one in every four male patients can develop excessive glandular breast tissue, leading to an ongoing condition unless treated. For adult men plagued by this condition, approximately 35% – 45% of cases are unilateral gynecomastia. While it's uncommon for individuals to have a perfectly symmetrical chest area, pronounced breast enlargement on one side upsets the balance and symmetry, making it difficult to hide under clothing or with body posture. In terms of diagnosis and treatment, both types of gynecomastia are the same. Some patients in Spring, TX try testosterone replacement therapy or other prescribed medications to reduce enlarged breast tissue. In more severe cases, liposuction or male breast reduction surgery, or a combination of both can reduce symptoms of unilateral gynecomastia, providing body contouring help so patients can feel confident again when shirtless.

Although unilateral gynecomastia typically does not pose any severe health concerns, this condition's hallmark symptoms of swollen breast tissue should be examined to rule out a more serious medical issue, such as breast cancer. When medications can't reduce the breast's size, liposuction or a breast reduction surgery can be highly effective at restoring a more masculine-looking appearance and self-confidence. To learn more or schedule a consultation at Chiseled with Dr. Young Cho, contact our office in Spring, TX today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.