What Causes Gynecomastia?  

February 15, 2023

Over half of all boys and men will experience breast enlargement. Male breast enlargement or gynecomastia makes some men feel self-conscious. Fortunately, an experienced plastic surgeon can treat this condition, usually with non-invasive or minimally invasive methods that restore your confidence with little to no downtime. 

*Individual Results May Vary

What is Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a subjective term for enlarged or feminine-looking male breasts. Male breasts can become enlarged for a variety of reasons. The condition typically affects adolescent boys or adult men, although it can develop even younger in some cases. Excessive breast mass can contain mostly breast tissue, fat, or a combination of both. 

What Causes Gynecomastia?

Many factors can contribute to the development of gynecomastia. In adolescent boys, the condition usually results from fluctuating hormone levels. This type of gynecomastia often fades without treatment when hormone levels stabilize. Some men have more breast tissue or fat than others for reasons related to genetics, body shape, and other factors. Each individual has a different distribution of fat (their fatty proportions), and some may store more fat in their breasts than others. Cases of gynecomastia can also have underlying medical causes that should be evaluated by your doctor. 

What Treatments Are Available for Gynecomastia?

The treatment for your gynecomastia will depend on how much excess breast mass you have. Non-invasive or minimally invasive options will work for many people. However, a plastic surgeon can also perform a surgical procedure in appropriate cases. 


This non-invasive treatment option uses cold temperatures that damage fat cells without harming the skin. CoolSculpting® can remove 20-25% of fat from treated areas. However, each person may need a different number of treatments to see their desired results and because we are dealing with a biologic response, results will vary between individuals and cannot be guaranteed. The Rapaport Plastic Surgery team has performed over 30,000 CoolSculpting® procedures. 


Liposuction removes excess fat from male breasts using a tool called a cannula. This thin tool uses only a few small incisions. It breaks up and suctions away fat cells, reducing the size of your breasts. Liposuction is more invasive than CoolSculpting® but involves minimal downtime, and can generally be performed with IV “twilight” anesthesia, without requiring general anesthesia.  Unlike CoolSculpting, results are much more predictable and can be achieved in one procedure.

What is Recovery Like After Treatment for Gynecomastia? 

Recovery from gynecomastia depends on the type of treatment involved. It can range from no downtime to a few days. Men who have CoolSculpting® will not need any recovery time and can return to work immediately after treatment. If you have liposuction, you can expect to return to work and your exercise routine in about a day or two. 

Am I a Candidate for Gynecomastia Treatment?

Most men with gynecomastia are good candidates for treatment. Your Rapaport Plastic Surgery team will will assess your condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment. Most men will see their desired results without surgery and return to work in a two days or less. If your gynecomastia has an underlying cause, such as a medication or medical condition, you should also address this with your doctor. 

Take the Next Step

If you want to learn more about gynecomastia, reach out today to schedule your consultation or call us today at (212) 249-9955.