BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Medical Policy Manual

Mastectomy for Gynecomastia


Gynecomastia is a benign enlargement of the male breast, either due to increased adipose tissue, glandular tissue, fibrous tissue, or a combination of the three. Bilateral gynecomastia in adult males may be associated with an underlying hormonal disorder (i.e., conditions causing either estrogen excess or testosterone deficiency such as liver disease or endocrine disorder), an adverse effect of certain drugs or obesity. Pubertal gynecomastia is a common condition with an overall incidence of 38 percent in males 10-16 years of age, increasing to 65 percent at age 14, and dropping to 14 percent in 16 year old males. Pubertal gynecomastia often regresses spontaneously in six months and 90 percent resolve within three years. An increase in estradiol concentration, lagging free testosterone production, and increased tissue sensitivity to normal male levels of estrogen are possible causes of gynecomastia in adolescents.

Treatment of gynecomastia involves consideration of the underlying cause, e.g., treatment of underlying hormonal disorder, cessation of drug therapy or weight loss. The grade of breast enlargement is taken into consideration. Prolonged gynecomastia causes periductal fibrosis and stromal hyalinization. Surgical removal of the breast tissue using surgical excision may be considered if conservative therapies are not effective.

While it is not necessary to carry out a thorough diagnostic investigation in every case of gynecomastia, the presence of an underlying tumor (breast or testicular) needs to be excluded.

Note: This policy does not address the use of this procedure for the mature individual with unilateral breast enlargement related to neoplasm.





American Society of Plastic Surgeons. ASPS recommended insurance coverage criteria for third-party payers. Gynecomastia. Retrieved February 4, 2021 from

BlueCross BlueShield Association. Evidence Positioning System. (3:2020). Surgical treatment of bilateral gynecomastia (7.01.13). Retrieved April 27, 2020 from (6 articles and/or guidelines reviewed)

Fricke, A., Lehner, G., Stark, G., & Penna. V. (2017). Long-term follow-up of recurrence and patient satisfaction after surgical treatment of gynecomastia. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 41 (3), 491-498. Abstract retrieved May 31, 2017 from PubMed database.

Mieritz, G.M., Christiansen, P., Jensen, M.B., Joensen, U.N., Nordkap, L., Olesen, I.A., et al. (2017). Gynaecomastia in 786 adult men: clinical and biochemical findings. European Journal of Endocrinology, 176 (5), 555-566. (Level 3 evidence)

Sollie, M. (2018). Management of gynecomastia-changes in psychological aspects after surgery- a systematic review. Gland Surgery, 7 (1), S70-S76. (Level 2 evidence)

Wisconsin Physicians Services Insurance Corporation. (2021, January). Local Coverage Determination (LCD) for Cosmetic and reconstructive surgery (L34698). Retrieved February 4, 2021 from




Policies included in the Medical Policy Manual are not intended to certify coverage availability. They are medical determinations about a particular technology, service, drug, etc. While a policy or technology may be medically necessary, it could be excluded in a member's benefit plan. Please check with the appropriate claims department to determine if the service in question is a covered service under a particular benefit plan. Use of the Medical Policy Manual is not intended to replace independent medical judgment for treatment of individuals. The content on this Web site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice in any way. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider if you have questions regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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