Many men suffer from a condition called gynecomastia which causes the formation of female-like breasts on the man’s chest. These male breasts can be eliminated through liposuction and/or gynecomastia surgery to excise and remove the glandular breast tissue and eliminate any excess skin. The gynecomastia surgery recovery time will vary due to several factors and will be proportionate to the extent of the male breast reduction surgery. Today we will discuss the factors that can influence gynecomastia surgery recovery time as well as some tips to help the process go smoothly.
What Factors Will Influence Post-Gyno Surgery Recovery?
Recovering from gynecomastia surgery can be vastly different for each patient depending on several factors including:
- Patient’s dedication to following ALL the surgeon’s post-op aftercare instructions;
- Patient’s age;
- Patient’s overall health and their body’s natural ability to heal itself;
- The cause of gynecomastia;
- The extent of the surgery and procedure(s) used:
- If liposuction alone corrected the issue;
- If surgical excision of glandular breast tissue was performed;
- If excess skin was removed;
- If liposuction was used together with surgical tissue and/or skin removal.
Gynecomastia Surgery Recovery Timeline
Day of Surgery
After surgery, patients will wake up in a recovery room where they will be monitored by medical personnel for the next few hours. Patients may feel groggy, thirsty, or nauseous as these are common side effects of general anesthesia.
Patients will be wearing a special compression garment that is essential in mitigating swelling, bruising, and promoting skin retraction compacting the space that remains after the fat was liposuctioned out.
Day 1 – Going Home after Gyno Surgery
Most patients are discharged and sent home to recover with prescription medication for pain and nausea. The surgeon will also provide aftercare instructions that should be followed closely to ensure a complication-free recovery that delivers the desired results.
Patients will need a ride home from the surgical center as they will not be allowed to drive until they have been off prescription pain medication for at least two days and have been cleared by the surgeon.
Depending on the extent of the surgery, the surgeon may wish the patient to abstain from showering and avoid getting the surgical sites wet for up to a week.
Getting an adequate amount of sleep will be paramount for a smooth and quick recovery. Patients should sleep at a 45-degree angle for three to four days and refrain from sleeping on their chests. After this time, sleeping on their back for at least the next three weeks is recommended.
Days 2-4 after Gyno surgery
Patients may feel tenderness or tightness in their chests after gynecomastia surgery that can be managed with their prescription medication at first, and then over-the-counter pain medications after the first few days.
Some patients experience a prolonged period of numbness or decreased feeling in the surgical area especially if a long-acting local anesthetic was used. Many men experience bruising that gets worse for a few days and then begins to fade, this is normal and has no cause for concern.
The main focus during this time is to get plenty of rest with the exception of light walks several times a day to prevent blood clotting. During this time it is advised that patients keep their arm motions limited and avoid overhead or heavy lifting.
1 Week after Gynecomastia Surgery
Most patients can manage their discomfort with over-the-counter medication and their swelling is beginning to subside.
They can begin to perform light activities and lower body exercises like stationary bikes, etc. Strenuous movements involving the pectoral muscles should be avoided until cleared.
Stitches and drains (if present) are normally removed during this time and should make the patient more comfortable. Compression garments should continue to be worn but the surgeon may change the style of the garment at this time.
2 Weeks after Gynecomastia Surgery
Most patients are feeling more like themselves at the beginning of the second week and can get back to many of their normal daily activities while continuing to avoid strenuous or vigorous exercise.
Most men can return to work unless their job is labor-intensive and most can resume driving.
3-4 Weeks after Gynecomastia Surgery
Most patients will be free of swelling by the fourth week and the surgeon may advise them they can discontinue the use of the compression garment at this time. Some patients will have to wear them longer.
Most of the noticeable bruising on the chest will be gone or very light by this time and patients should be able to see the results of the surgery.
After the completion of the third week, most surgeons recommend massaging the gynecomastia scars to prevent a hardened lumpy buildup. The surgeon will give the ok for most patients to add more physical exercise and activities into their daily routine while still avoiding those that target the chest muscles.
6 Weeks and Beyond after Gynecomastia Surgery
Patients may be fully recovered after six weeks and resume their full schedule of activities or if their gynecomastia surgery was extensive their recovery may be as long as 10-12 weeks.
Many patients may begin to enjoy their new physique and feel confident taking off their shirts at the pool for the first time in their adult life. For others, the finish line is near! The surgeon will provide the exact timeline for each patient and may adjust it accordingly depending on their recovery progress.
Tips to Enhance Your Gynecomastia Surgery Recovery Time
Some elements of recovery are out of the patient’s control. However, there are many things they can do to help ensure the process is not hindered.
- It is advisable to take at least one week off from work or longer if your job is labor-intensive.
- Choose a caregiver to help you for at least the first 24 hours following the procedure. If you are solely responsible for a small child or a large pet that requires care, make arrangements for this care in advance. You will not be able to pick up a child or walk a big dog for at least a few weeks.
- To prepare yourself for what you will experience, you can ask your surgeon to show you some gynecomastia surgery recovery pictures.
- Closely follow the aftercare instructions provided by your surgeon.
- Follow instructions regarding the usage of binders or compression garments. To get the best results from your surgery and heal properly you must wear any compression garments according to your surgeon’s directions.
- Make sure to attend all follow-up appointments with your surgeon.
- The use of indirect ice can help minimize swelling and discomfort. Put a thin towel between your skin and the ice.
- Sleep and rest as much as you can especially for the first week after gynecomastia surgery as it significantly impacts healing. Sleeping on your back at a 45-degree angle and avoiding side or stomach positions will help avoid causing strain on the incisions.
- Avoid any type of smoking for 3 months before and after surgery.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Avoid taking any blood-thinning medications both before and after surgery to avoid excessive bruising.
- Eat a nutrient-rich healthy diet to promote faster healing and avoid eating foods that are processed or contain excessive sodium (salt).
- Take supplemental vitamins and micronutrients.
- Adequate hydration is key to healing – drink at least 64 ounces of water a day.
- Wear clothes that fit loosely and comfortably that are easy to get on and off without having to perform major arm movements.
- Take slow walks each day to avoid blood clotting but nothing physically intensive until cleared by the doctor.
- As the healing process takes place, some patients experience itching. Avoid scratching the area and apply a recommended topical ointment if necessary.
- Keep incision sites out of the sun – use sunscreen of at least 30 SPF if you must venture into the sun. Sun exposure causes scars to become darker and more noticeable.
If you are contemplating gynecomastia surgery, contact SurgiCare Arts & Aesthetics (A division of IBI Healthcare Institute) today to set up a consultation. We understand how this condition can cause anxiety in social situations and affect a man’s self-esteem. We are here to help you obtain the masculine chest you desire.
Dr. Angelina Postoev, MD, FACS, a triple-board certified cosmetic surgeon, and Christopher Ibikunle, MD, FACS, offer gynecomastia surgery for men in Lawrenceville, Suwanee, Johns Creek, Buckhead, and the surrounding areas of Georgia as well as Tampa and Hudson areas in Florida. To learn more about male breast reduction, contact us today!