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Gynecomastia vs Fat: How to Tell the Difference

/ Dr. Aric Aghayan
Gynecomastia vs fat

Gynecomastia can be difficult to cope with for men. The condition causes excess tissue (and sometimes fat) to develop in the breasts. Even some men who are physically fit with a low percentage of body fat can struggle with it.

Fortunately, male breast reduction surgery can completely get rid of gynecomastia, creating a flatter, more masculine-looking chest with little to no apparent scarring.

Before speaking with a plastic surgeon about male breast reduction surgery, however, it’s important to know whether the excess mass you feel on your chest is actually gynecomastia or simply chest fat.

What’s the Difference Between Gynecomastia and Chest Fat?

There is a significant difference between gynecomastia and chest fat or female breasts in men.

The best way to know if the excess tissue you are feeling on your chest is actually gynecomastia or just chest fat is to palpate the area yourself and assess what you feel. This is often called a “”. It can be performed by you, yourself. But surgeons and doctors also use it when assessing patients for this condition.

As you feel the area, notice if you feel any hard lumps beneath the nipples. If you do feel a hard lump — which may be as small as a walnut, or all the way up to the size of an egg — then, you may have gynecomastia.

If, on the other hand, you do not feel any hard lumps beneath the nipples, and all you feel under male breast is squishy tissue, it is likely that you only have chest fat in this area, and gynecomastia is not present.

Do keep in mind that some men will have a small lump beneath the nipple in addition to softer-feeling excess fat. In fact, this is quite common with severe cases of gynecomastia. Of course, it is also not uncommon for a man who is extremely physically fit with a very small percentage of body fat to feel a small lump beneath his nipple and not feel any soft fat whatsoever.

Another gynecomastia sign to look for is puffy nipples. If the nipples appear puffy and not well-defined, this may indicate chest fat only. However, this is not always the case. Ultimately, the most significant indicator of gynecomastia is feeling a hard lump beneath the nipple.

What Causes Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is caused by glandular cystitis, which leads to excessive glandular tissue due to hormonal imbalances. Androgen, often referred to as testosterone, is a male hormone, while estrogen is generally considered a female hormone.

However, both hormones can be naturally present in both men and women. Hormone levels fluctuate in both genders based on their respective dominant hormones, with testosterone being a major hormone in men, and estrogen prevailing in women.

Can You Get Rid of Gynecomastia by Yourself?

If you perform a gynecomastia pinch test and conclude that you have gynecomastia, you may be wondering if you can get rid of this condition yourself.

Ultimately, if you actually have gynecomastia — which means presenting with a small hard lump of the glandular tissue or breast tissue beneath the nipple — you cannot get rid of it by yourself. You will need to undergo gynecomastia surgery, which can only be done by a plastic surgeon with gynecomastia surgery experience.

Will Losing Weight Get Rid of Gynecomastia?

No. Again, if you actually have gynecomastia, losing weight will not get rid of the condition. On the other hand, if you do not have gynecomastia but struggle with chest fat, losing weight through healthy means may improve gynecomastia treatment and the amount of chest fat you have.

One thing to keep in mind in regards to body weight and chest fat is that young men who are going through puberty may experience a short period of having excess chest fat, which is completely normal. Generally speaking, it will ultimately disappear with time.

This happens because when young men go through puberty, they are experiencing a surge in hormone levels of hormones, and this can cause the appearance of gynecomastia. However, it is not actually gynecomastia; it is simply excess fat and tissue. It will go away with time and should not be altered with surgery or by any other means other than healthy diet and exercise.

FAQ: Gynecomastia vs Fat

Gyno or just fat

Is gynecomastia due to excess fat?

Sometimes, excess chest fat can be due to gynecomastia. However, true gynecomastia is not simply chest fat alone. Rather, true gynecomastia presents as small hard lumps of glandular breast tissue that sit beneath the nipples. The only way to get rid of gynecomastia (that is not caused by underlying health issues) is with surgery.

Is chest fat and gynecomastia same excess breast tissue?

No. If you have excess chest fat, you can usually improve this issue by dieting and exercising. That is, if you can lose excess body fat, this will reduce the bulk in your chest area. Furthermore, if you improve your muscle tone through strength training, this should also improve the appearance of your chest fat.

Gynecomastia, on the other hand, is a medical condition that causes glandular male breast tissue, to form beneath the nipples. It is generally fixed with surgery.

Can you fix gynecomastia naturally?

If you don’t actually have gynecomastia and you only have excess chest fat, then you can generally fix this issue naturally by losing body fat. On the other hand, if you actually have gynecomastia, you will usually need to get surgery, barring any underlying health conditions like hormonal imbalances.

Can excess chest fat feel like gyno?

Gynecomastia typically exhibits a firm or rubbery texture, and it may cause tenderness or discomfort. Its appearance can resemble that of a woman’s breasts. In contrast, chest fat refers to an accumulation of excess adipose tissue in the chest region. It is often associated with overall weight gain and can lead to the appearance of enlarged breasts.

What is the pinch test for gynecomastia?

During the Gynecomastia “Pinch Test,” you will lie on your back, and the doctor will use their forefinger and thumb to examine the breast tissue. The purpose of this test is to detect a concentric, rubbery, or firm mass of disk-shaped tissue, typically movable (not fixed) and positioned directly beneath the areola.

Is it gyno or just skinny fat?

Distinguishing between gynecomastia and chest fat can be done by examining the texture of your chest. Chest fat generally feels soft, similar to body fat in other areas like the arms or abdomen. On the other hand, either gynecomastia or chest fat may feel firmer to the touch, and in certain instances, you might detect a hard lump beneath the skin.

What is the success rate of gynecomastia surgery?

Surgical treatment for gynecomastia boasts a success rate of over 90%, and the majority of men are highly content with the results. Nonetheless, in a small number of cases, potentially due to genetic factors, gynecomastia can recur.

Is gynecomastia surgery a major surgery?

Also known as male breast reduction surgery, gynecomastia surgery is a significant surgical procedure that demands careful thought before scheduling it. To determine if you are a suitable candidate for gynecomastia surgery, the best approach is to arrange a consultation with a qualified gynecomastia surgeon. This consultation will help you understand the procedure better and make an informed decision.

Schedule a Consultation With Dr. Aric Aghayan

At your consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Aric Aghayan, you will learn more about the difference between gynecomastia vs chest fat. This appointment offers a time for you to discuss your goals and medical history with Dr. Aghayan and to learn about your options for surgery and male breast reduction cost.

Call today to schedule your consultation.



Embrace Your Evolution

Enjoy the pinnacle of cosmetic surgery expertise with board-certified Portland Plastic Surgeon Dr. Aric Aghayan at Après Plastic Surgery. With a legacy of over 1600 successful body contouring procedures, Dr. Aghayan stands as the foremost specialist in advanced body contouring technology and treatment options. Take the next big step on your beauty journey by scheduling a comprehensive plastic surgery consultation with Dr. Aghayan today.

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