Anatomy of the Gynecomastia Tissue and Its Clinical Significance

Background: Gynecomastia is a very common entity in men, and several authors estimate that approximately 50% to 70% of the male population has palpable breast tissue. Much has been published with regard to the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of gynecomastia. However, the anatomy of the gynecomastia tissue remains elusive to most surgeons.

Purpose: The purpose of this article was to define the shape and consistency of the glandular tissue based on the vast experience of the senior author (MB).

Patients and Methods: Between the years 1980 and 2014, a total of 5124 patients have been treated for gynecomastia with surgical excision, liposuction, or a combination of both. A total of 3130 specimens were collected with 5% of the cases being unilateral.

Results: The specimens appear to have a unifying shape of a head, body, and tail. The head is semicircular in shape and is located more medially toward the sternum. The majority of the glandular tissue consists of a body located immediately deep to the nipple areolar complex. The tail appears to taper off of the body more laterally and toward the insertion of the pectoralis major muscle onto the humerus.

Conclusions: This large series of gynecomastia specimens demonstrates a unique and unifying finding of a head, body, and tail. Understanding the anatomy of the gynecomastia gland can serve as a guide to gynecomastia surgeons to facilitate a more thorough exploration and subsequently sufficient gland excision.

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