Gynecomastia is the presence of breast tissue in males. The term comes from the Greek word gyne (woman) and mastos (breast). Gynecomastia is common and often is a concern for families, but it usually is a normal part of adolescent development. Pathologic gynecomastia does occur and can be related to a serious underlying problem. Any abnormal breast development in males warrants evaluation.

Premature thelarche (thely=female, arche=beginning) is isolated breast development in girls younger than 8 years of age. Premature thelarche usually is benign, but may signify a more complicated condition. Practitioners should know how to evaluate early breast development in girls.

A mature mammary gland consists of 15 to 25 lactiferous ducts and lobes. Development of the breast tissue anlage is identical in the male and female fetus. Before puberty, the breast consists of the same number of lactiferous ducts ending in small ductules lined with epithelial...

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