What Is the Difference Between Gynecomastia and Pseudogynecomastia? 

Pseudogynecomastia can sometimes be confused with gynecomastia, as both conditions result in the appearance of enlarged male breasts. The key difference between the two lies in how the male breasts are formed, and understanding this is essential in choosing what treatment will work best to improve the condition.

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Gynecomastia vs. Pseudogynecomastia 

Large male breasts are typically easy to spot and fairly noticeable, leading many who are afflicted by them to feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. However, it can be more difficult to determine if the enlarged breasts are gynecomastia or pseudogynecomastia. An essential component to understand when deciphering between the two conditions is that gynecomastia results from an increase in the amount of male breast tissue. At the same time, pseudogynecomastia occurs due to the rise in excess fat in the chest. 

While both conditions create the appearance of male breasts, they often have varying symptoms and require different treatment methods. Gynecomastia typically causes pain in one or both of the breasts and can feel swollen, tender, and extra sensitive around the nipples. Breasts that result from pseudogynecomastia are usually soft to the touch and aren’t painful. 

In most cases, both gynecomastia and pseudogynecomastia may be treated with surgery; however, only pseudogynecomastia can be treated with exercise and weight loss. Gynecomastia can only be removed by surgery. 

What Causes Gynecomastia? 

For various reasons, gynecomastia can develop in preteens, teens, or adult men. When it develops in young boys and teenagers (adolescent gynecomastia), it is often caused by an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone hormones during puberty. Natural hormonal changes may also cause adult gynecomastia. Other causes include reactions to certain medications, recreational drug use, low sperm count, tumors, or kidney disease. Additionally, gynecomastia can develop due to unknown causes. 

What Are My Gynecomastia Treatment Options?

Since gynecomastia is due to an excess of breast tissue, diet, and exercise will not be able to remove the enlarged breasts. Surgery is needed to eliminate the breasts caused by gynecomastia.

Gynecomastia Surgery

Though it is tailored to address each patient’s concerns, gynecomastia surgery typically includes a combination of liposuction and gland excision. Through meticulous removal of breast tissue, Dr. Delgado can achieve a refined contour of the male chest, resulting in lasting and natural-looking outcomes.

What Causes Pseudogynecomastia? 

Male breasts that are a result of pseudogynecomastia will typically occur in men who are overweight to some degree. Pseudogynecomastia is sometimes called fatty gynecomastia because the breasts are caused by extra fat in the chest region. While there may be no physical pain associated with pseudogynecomastia, many men still wish to eliminate the enlarged breasts and have more defined, masculine chest contours. 

What Are My Pseudogynecomastia Treatment Options? 

Your treatment for pseudogynecomastia will depend on the extent of fat buildup in the chest. Sometimes, weight loss can be enough to eliminate male breasts caused by excess fat or at least significantly improve their appearance.  

Weight Loss

Getting into the practice of exercising regularly and strategizing by emphasizing chest workouts can dramatically improve the chest’s contours. Upper body exercises and weight lifting are excellent options for targeting the excess fat in the chest, reducing the appearance of male breasts. 


In pseudogynecomastia cases where weight loss is not enough to remove the breasts, liposuction may be a good alternative. Liposuction is a surgical procedure that can remove excess chest fat and create more masculine chest contours. 

Male Breast Reduction 

For men with very large breasts, weight loss may eliminate the fat in the chest but leave excess skin. If this is the case, then male breast reduction may be needed to remove the excess skin and any remaining stubborn fat.

British Broadcasting (BBC) follows young man’s Gynecomastia Surgery Experience with Dr. Delgado

Want to Know More About Gynecomastia Surgery in San Francisco, CA?

If you have enlarged breasts and are unsure if you have gynecomastia or pseudogynecomastia, you can come in for a consultation with Dr. Delgado so he can evaluate your condition and discuss your treatment options with you. To learn more about gynecomastia and pseudogynecomastia, call our office at (415) 898-4161 or fill out our online contact form today.


Dr. Delgado, MD is a world-recognized plastic surgeon and specialist in the treatment of male breast enlargement, also called gynecomastia. He has developed new techniques and owns and operates gynecomastia.org, which has become the largest gynecomastia forum in the world. Dr. Delgado holds the two most coveted credentials; the certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgery.

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