Gynecomastia vs Fat: How to Tell the Difference

Gynecomastia, a common condition characterized by the abnormal development of male breast tissue, can be caused by hormonal imbalances or the use of certain medications. In contrast, people typically gain excess fat in the chest due to weight gain and can reduce it through diet and exercise. It’s important to distinguish gynecomastia vs fat in order to determine the most appropriate treatment options.

How is Gynecomastia Different from Chest Fat?

Gynecomastia differs from regular chest fat in that it’s caused by excessive glandular breast tissue in the pectoral region. Fat can congregate in the chest due to weight gain and it responds to diet and exercise. Gynecomastia, however, often requires surgical treatment.

It is important to note that while both conditions can cause the appearance of breast tissue in males, they are not the same and require different approaches to treatment. Here we can help you learn more about gynecomastia vs fat, symptoms and treatment options respectively.

Evaluating Symptoms


  • May cause mild to significant pain and tenderness in the chest area.
  • Is firmer and may feel hard or rubbery. You may even be able to feel a solid lump underneath the skin.
  • Tends to be rounder and more proportioned, and may look similar to a woman’s breasts. In cases with smaller amounts of tissue, the nipple areolar complex may project more than the rest of the chest.
  • With weight loss, you may notice little or no change in the size of your pectoral region, even after significant weight loss. In some cases, weight loss can make glandular tissue more evident as the fat around it is reduced.

Chest Fat

  • Is much less likely to cause pain or tenderness.
  • Feels soft to the touch, like fat elsewhere in the body.
  • May look saggy or droopy and not have a defined shape.
  • With weight loss, you should notice at least some reduction in the size of your pectoral region if you have chest fat.

Gynecomastia Treatment Options

gynecomastia treatments

While gynecomastia sometimes clears up on its own, it typically requires surgical treatment. Surgery can be performed under intravenous sedation or general anesthesia depending on patient needs.

In many cases, liposuction in addition to excision of glandular tissue may be necessary for proper contouring of the chest.

Breast Liposuction

Breast liposuction removes excess fat tissue that does not go away with diet and exercise. It is a surgical procedure. The surgeon will use a hollow stainless steel tube called cannula. Dr will insert the cannula through small incisions in the skin and suction out the excess fat. The surgeon will do this to treat gynecomastia, a condition that causes the development of excess breast tissue in men.”

Excision surgery

The specialist surgeon may recommend excision surgery if you have excess glandular tissue or skin causing a feminine breast-like appearance. This procedure will help reducing the size of the chest. It involves removing excess glandular tissues and excess skin around the breast through an incision around the nipple-areola complex (peri-areolar incision). After removing excess skin, the nipple, areola complex may be repositioned giving your chest a chiselled manly look. Excision surgery allows the surgeon to remove excess glandular tissues and/or excess skin that liposuction alone would not be able to treat sufficiently.

How to Lose Chest Fat?

Men who gain weight in their chests may develop the appearance of enlarged breasts, or “man boobs.”  If this situation happened due to excess fat accumulation in the chest area, changing lifestyle would help to get rid of that.

There are several ways to lose chest fat, but it’s important to keep in mind that spot reduction is not possible. This means that you cannot target chest fat specifically when trying to lose weight. Instead, you will need to focus on losing fat overall through a combination of diet and exercise. Here are a few tips that can help:

  1. Include cardiovascular exercise in your routine: Cardio exercises such as running, cycling, and swimming can help burn fat all over your body, including your chest.
  2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet: A diet that is high in whole, unprocessed foods and low in added sugars and unhealthy fats can help you lose fat overall, including in your chest area.
  3. Strength train your entire body: While you cannot target chest fat specifically, you can strengthen and tone the muscles in your chest through strength training exercises such as push-ups, dumbbell bench press, and chest flies.
  4. Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, so it’s important to get enough rest to support your weight loss efforts.
  5. Stay consistent: Losing fat takes time and consistency, so be patient and stick with your diet and exercise routine.

Things to Consider before Male Breast Reduction Surgery

  • Incisions are necessary for male breast reduction surgery, and may result in scarring
  • Avoid certain prescription medications and drugs that may contribute to excess breast tissue growth
  • Diet control and exercise can help maintain results after liposuction
  • You should avoid smoking before and after the procedure due to negative effects on fat necrosis, wound healing, and scar appearance.

 Any surgical procedure carries risks and needs an adequate recovery period. Always seek a second opinion from a qualified professional.


Are Male Breast Reduction Results Permanent?

The results post-operatively are usually permanent in most cases but there could be a need for repeat surgery to treat complications or in cases with suboptimal results. It is essential to adhere to a healthy lifestyle post-surgery. Significant weight gain, steroid use, or certain medical situations can result in a recurrence of gynaecomastia. Additionally, drugs that affect testosterone levels could also influence the results.

Can Male Breasts Reduce without Surgery?

Surgical options such as male breast tissue removal and liposuction may be necessary for those with hormonal imbalances or a genetic predisposition to reduce breast size. For those with obesity, a combination of diet and exercise may also help reduce or eliminate man breasts. In some cases, a combination of both glandular tissue removal and liposuction may be required.

How Much Does Gynecomastia Surgery Cost in Australia?

The gynecomastia surgery cost can vary based on several factors, but the starting price is $12,270. It’s important to note that the final cost may be influenced by factors such as the extent of the procedure, the surgeon’s experience, the location of the surgical facility, anesthesia fees, and any additional services required.

Next Step

If you are still struggling differentiating fat vs gynecomastia, book a consultation session with Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr. Doyle at Gold Coast Plastic Surgery in Gold Coast.

About Dr Mark Doyle FRACS (Plas) – Queensland Plastic Surgeon

Servicing patients in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and New South Wales NSW – Northern Rivers, Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and more.

Dr Mark Doyle is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with over thirty years of experience performing BreastBodyFace and Nose surgery. Dr Doyle is a fully qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon with 30+ years of experience. He has completed all required training and only carries out approved surgical practices. There are absolutely NO undertrained doctors or cosmetic doctors acting as surgeons in our clinic.

As a highly esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr Mark is committed to achieving the best possible results for all his breast, body, face and nose patients, both men and women.


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  • Dr. Mark Doyle AHPRA Registration: Dr Mark Doyle MED0001375519 Specialist Plastic Surgery – MBBS FRACS FRCS

*DISCLAIMER: All information on Gold Coast Plastic Surgery website is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Results can vary significantly and depend on individual patient circumstances. All images on this website, unless specified as real patient images, are stock images used for illustrative purposes only. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your surgeon. Book a consult for details regarding your cosmetic surgery procedure.