Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are widely implicated in gynecomastia development. Surgery is the definitive treatment for cases persisting after cessation of AAS use. Currently, the relevance of AAS use to the surgical approach of gynecomastia has not been well explored. This study aims to compare patient characteristics, surgical outcomes, and surgical management of gynecomastia correction in AAS users versus nonusers.
A retrospective cohort study was performed with patients who underwent bilateral gynecomastia reduction surgery between January 2005 and August 2015 by a single surgeon at an academic hospital. Demographic data, AAS usage details, operative documentation, and follow-up outcomes were reviewed.
A total of 964 cases were reviewed. Eleven percent (n = 105) of the patients had a history of AAS use. Compared with non-AAS users, AAS users were older at time of gynecomastia onset (15 years vs 13 years, P < 0.001) and surgery (28 years vs 25 years, P < 0.001). The AAS users had higher body mass index (27.3 kg/m2 vs 25.7 kg/m2, P < 0.001) and a greater proportion of patients self-identified as bodybuilders (40.0% vs 22.4%, P = 0.002). Although no difference was found in the excised bilateral mastectomy volume (92.1 cm3 vs 76.4 cm3, P = 0.20), The AAS users had significantly less lipoaspirate fat volume (250 mL vs 300 mL, P = 0.005). No difference was found in total complication rates. However, AAS users had significantly more revision mastectomy surgeries (3.8% vs 1.1%; P = 0.02).
The unique breast composition of AAS users necessitates a surgical approach with meticulous intraoperative hemostasis and careful glandular excision to minimize recurrence and achieve comparable low complication rates.