After the many gynecomastia surgeries I have completed at the Austin Gynecomastia Center, I want to offer gynecomastia surgery recovery tips that will answer many of the common questions that I am asked. Once I refined the art of gynecomastia treatment, my focus shifted to the care of patients AFTER gynecomastia surgery. I have experienced the benefits of aftercare with all my wonderful gynecomastia patients, and I am grateful to them all. Let me share a bit of my knowledge so you will know what to expect from gynecomastia treatment.
I have come to the conclusion that the actual gynecomastia surgery is the easy part in overcoming this embarrassing condition. I have control over the operation, and I feel very comfortable and confident with my ability to contour the male chest expertly time after time. What I can’t control to the same extent is what the patient does during the recovery period. I have learned over the years that this time period is very important when it comes to obtaining the best result possible. Each person is unique in terms of the severity and presentation of gynecomastia, as well as how he heals.
The good news is that gynecomastia treatment isn’t as painful as it may appear in the gynecomastia videos or the before and after gynecomastia surgery photos. Gynecomastia surgery recovery essentially takes two days. There will be some discomfort for weeks afterwards, but this can easily be managed and patients can generally resume life activities after two days. This may be hard to believe that something that has caused so much angst in your life has such a short recovery time but, yes, it’s true. That doesn’t mean your responsibilities are done after two days however, as to get the best results during your gynecomastia surgery recovery time there are things you can do to assist.
I stress to every one of my patients the need to comply with my post-surgery recommendations, which include:
- It’s important to wear compression garments for 4 weeks after surgery.
- Use my rolling technique no sooner than week 3 and continue for 6 or more weeks.
- Vigorously massage any irregularities or bumps with your fingers in addition to the rolling technique.
- Don’t drink more fluids than you need.
- There should be no strenuous activity (anything that increases your blood pressure) for the first 2 weeks. You may start exercise after 2 weeks in other areas but stay away from your chest for at least 4 weeks.
- Keep your shoulders back and posture upright.
Getting The Best Results During Gynecomastia Surgery Recovery
The above list may seem like it’s a list of chores that I have crafted just to torture patients duringgynecomastia surgery recovery, but honestly it is not! How well you follow this list will give you the best chance at having the best results following your surgery.
Most healing occurs in the first 5 weeks after surgery and this is why it is so important to focus on your recovery aftergynecomastia surgery. You’ve waited long enough to be free from gynecomastia, so what is a few weeks of discipline to help make the most of it? Do know that it can take up to one and a half years for all the healing to be complete, so making a routine of it isn’t a bad idea.
Compression garments should be worn for 4 weeks to control swelling, provide support and facilitate skin retraction. I encourage all my patients to massage the treated area with their hands or a roller device to soften the scar tissue and help the skin lay out nicely. This should be done several times a day for 20 minutes or more starting 3 weeks after your procedure and working it for 8 weeks or more if needed. Every patient has his own healing process, and we will work with you to get the best results.
How Long Before I Can Get Back To Work Or Exercise After Gynecomastia Surgery?
Most patients take a day or two off before returning to work and other normal daily activities. There should be no strenuous activity (anything that increases your blood pressure) for 2 weeks. Increased cardio and lower body activity can resume after these 2 weeks. Most importantly, upper body or chest workouts may resume incrementally after 4 weeks unless otherwise instructed. Mild tightness and discomfort will persist for up to 4 weeks.
Most patients can get back to the gym 10 days after gynecomastia surgery while staying away from chest work for 2 to 4 weeks. Depending on the extent of your gynecomastia and any additional procedures that I have included during the time of treatment (like my Internal Flap), I may advise you to NOT work your chest for a few weeks to avoid damaging some of the internal sutures. Listen to your body. If it hurts, don’t do it. Gradually increase your exercise resistance and time on exercise. Be patient and don’t destroy the work I have done. I know it’s tempting to rock your new chest, but patience is a virtue. You will enjoy your new chest for the rest of your life!
Please note, the above gynecomastia surgery recovery information and timeline are general recommendations and may not apply to every patient. Modifications to the recovery timeline will be discussed with the individual patient at the time of treatment at the AGC.
There are two aspects to gynecomastia surgery recovery. The first is the physical — the initial discomfort that lasts a day or two at most, followed by some more time as the skin begins to retract and the swelling begins to subside. The second – and arguably more important aspect of recovery – is mental. I do my best to educate patients, so I always send them home with a “playbook” of actions that they need to take on a daily basis until they are mentally healed. One of the most important actions is to assume the correct posture – it’s time to lose the “Gyno Hunch” that many men adopt to hide their gynecomastia before seeking treatment.
What goes on in the mind is not something we can see, but we can identify poor posture immediately. It’s easy to look at yourself in the mirror and tell when you are not upright with your shoulders back, tall, and strong. There isn’t always a mirror around though, so make sure your friends and family help you with this goal. Good posture is critical both mentally and physically—physically because shoulders back maximally tighten the chest skin and mentally because proper “tall and proud” posture will help with the mental recovery from gynecomastia. It’s a win-win situation.
If, like many patients, you adopted a hunch to hide your chest, then resuming a strong posture will restore your confidence in yourself. You’ll become that guy who has nothing to hide from the rest of the world. No more humiliation, embarrassment or frustration. No more double shirts, big shirts or sweaters. You’ll be able to go to the pool or beach and finally feel comfortable and confident taking your shirt off!
Possible Issues with Gynecomastia Recovery
Two issues that we want to avoid after gynecomastia treatment are those of seroma and hematoma formation. Seroma is the accumulation of clear fluid under the skin and hematoma is a blood mass. A seroma often first appears no sooner than two weeks after treatment, while a hematoma often occurs within 24 hours after gynecomastia treatment. Left untreated, these fluid accumulations can lead to scar formation and what we surgeons call “hard healing,” which is a general term for healing that has more scar tissue and firmness than normal. Larger collections require drainage treatment to remove the fluid, but small collections can be managed with observation and tissue massage.
Mondor’s disease is something that can happen after gynecomastia treatment. It’s a self-limited inflammatory condition of the chest veins that results in some pain and discomfort. This condition may cause some “guitar string” lines under your chest skin, particularly when you raise your arms up. Being self-limited, it will go away on its own after a few weeks, but the best approach is not to develop this condition. Mondor’s disease occurs in about 20% of my cases and is most likely associated with multiple Zone treatment. The more area treated, the more liposuction fat removed, the more likely this will occur. Preventative measures include taking NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Motrin or Aleve for about 7-10 days, starting the day after surgery.
The “Keep Austin Weird” bag
My ever-thoughtful staff has come up with something that helps our patients tremendously — a “Keep Austin Weird” bag that is full of unexpected necessities for your treatment and supplies for gynecomastia surgery recovery. We do the shopping for you so that you can recover in peace. Items like your compression garment are important, but I don’t know many guys who would know or want to go shopping for the Maxi pads that are used as post procedure dressings. And as a small token of your time with us, the tote will hopefully forever remind you of your life-changing experience in Austin, Texas. I hope that whenever you see it, it will bring a big smile to your face, as it should.
Take the First Step
If you follow these guidelines, it is likely your recovery will be perfectly fine — history has certainly proven this to be true. I will keep my end of the bargain and perform world-class gynecomastia surgery. If you do your part, the final result will be something we can both be proud of. When you’re ready to take that first critical step in your gynecomastia treatment journey, contact me for a free online consultation.