What is the Recovery Like After Male Breast Reduction/ Gynecomastia Surgery?
When patients leave the surgery facility to go home, they are usually groggy for about 12 hours or overnight. That is why it is very important to have someone who can assist you with getting around and taking your medications for at least the first 24 hours.
Make sure that you have all your medications, cold drinks, and towels at your bedside.
Most people are nauseated during the first 24-48 hours. To reduce this, we suggest that you take your nausea pill one hour before taking your pain pills or antibiotics. While it is good to drink plenty of liquids, please refrain from drinking plain water or acidic fruit juices because they will make you more nauseated.
Do not be alarmed when blood-tinged fluid oozes from your incision sites and stains your garment. This is a normal and usually stops within half a day. The surgeon leaves these tiny incisions partially open so that the liquid spills out, thereby minimizing bruising. You should cover your bed to avoid staining from this fluid.
There will be some swelling and some minimal bruising which dissipates five to eight weeks following surgery. Despite this swelling, your chest would be flatter than its original size. However, you should wait to buy new clothing until your size has stabilized.
Following Gynecomastia surgery, you are placed in a vest-like compression garment that covers your chest. Do not remove this until your doctor instructs you to do so. We usually have the patient remove their garment and to take a shower after 2 days. The incision sites and sutures can get wet in the shower. After your first shower you need to apply Vaseline or heavy lotion all over chest and nipples. You should massage these areas deeply about three times a day for about six weeks. Sometimes, patients whose skin was not firm and elastic will experience dimpling or wrinkling of the skin. These can be eliminated or minimized by massaging and early exercise.
All contoured areas stay numb for four to eight weeks. Massage will help to desensitize your chest skin and nipple in order to avoid hypersensitivity or skin irritation.
The most important way that a person can contribute to having a great result is by being meticulous about conducting massage.
Most patients will have ¼ inch incisions that will heal and become for the most part unnoticeable. There are times when larger incisions are made over the areola in order to remove the fibrous glandular breast tissue. These incisions usually heal well with minimal scarring.
Patients will also feel a bruise-like or muscle cramp-like pain, particularly in the areas where fat was removed, and which will be addressed through a prescription from your surgeon.
Antibiotics are prescribed to reduce the risk of infection.
Patients can hasten their recovery by moving as much as they can, to increase their circulation. Many will find this difficult, but should push themselves to take at least small steps. The walking will reduce your risk of blood clots. It is helpful to elevate the areas where you had liposuction, by placing pillows under those areas.
Compression Vest Garments should be worn 24 hours a day for three weeks, and then during the daytime for the next three weeks. This will help to reduce swelling, and to help shrink the skin.
Some Tips for Your Family & Significant Others!
The support of your family and loved ones can be as important to your healing as following your physician's medical directives. Their understanding of the pain, discomfort, and at times, the roller coaster of emotions, that you might experience can make all the difference in having an optimal outcome.
Here are some tips for your Family & significant others that will be helpful to them in helping you:
You should be available as a full time caregiver for at least 24 hours to help the patient with the tasks that are normally taken for granted, like being able to walk to the bathroom.
You, or someone, should care for the patient’s children for a minimum of two days, and be sure that he has assistance in lifting young children for several days after your surgery.
Help with pet care. Someone should walk them, feed them and clean up after them for at least several days.
Prepare to help the patient address the swelling that he will experience, according to his physician's instructions. This may include massaging the chest.
Know that he may experience mood swings, and feel irritable– especially in the first couple of weeks. This is a normal aftermath of major surgery.
Encourage him to drink lots of water – to address bloating and to keep him hydrated.
Remind the patient to not fight the pain – to go with the flow, and take his medications as directed. It is not good to try and be a hero!
Give lots of compliments. He may be fearful because it will take some time before his breasts and chest appear as they should. He has a lot of healing to do!
Prepare simple and easily digestible foods, such as scrambled eggs or Jello.
Remind and reassure him that things will get better and less uncomfortable soon!
Be there when he goes to have his bandages removed, to support him through any discomfort that he may be feeling.
As far as sex is concerned, let the patient take the initiative.
Some patients feel scared that they might harm their chests if touched or manipulated after surgery. Have him ask his doctor about this and get some reassurance.
Some patients feel depressed or regretful about having undergone surgery. Sometimes they don't know how to handle the attention or questions that a new appearance brings about. At the same time, significant others can develop uneasy feeling about the fact that you underwent such surgery. It is good to talk about your feelings and to even seek outside help if you can't resolve some ambiguities.
When Can I Resume Work and Exercise?
Most patients can resume normal activities in about seven days following male breast reduction surgery. You can even resume exercising within that time frame. However, you should resume activity only as is comfortable for you. You will probably be restricted as to lifting, pushing and pulling because your muscles will be bruised. Most patients return to work in about a week.
How Painful Is Male Breast Reduction Surgery?
Male Breast Reduction Surgery is usually more painful than Liposuction of the abdomen or other body areas because it bruises the chest muscles. The worst of the discomfort is during the first 24-48 hours after surgery which feels like burning and muscle cramps. This pain can be well managed with the prescribed narcotic medications. Lubricating the chest area during the massaging phase also helps to reduce the dryness and irritation of the chest skin. Massage of the chest skin and nipples also help desensitize these areas and to reduce their sensitivity during the recuperation phase.
When Can I Resume Sexual Relations?
"I was in the Recovery Room only a few hours after surgery, and then I went home. I had expected much pain. But in my case, there was very little. I only took a few of the prescribed painkillers that I was given, and I was able to return to work in just three days. I couldn't be happier with the success of my surgery!"
— Jack, age 24
Gynecomastia surgery does not hinder your ability to have sexual relations. However, you should resume sexual activity only as you feel comfortable in doing so. The desire to resume having sex varies from patient to patient.
How Will Male Breast Reduction Affect My Stamina?
As with any major surgery, Male Breast Reduction Surgery will have an impact on your energy level. While you can resume normal activities within a week, you will experience variations in your stamina, sometimes from day to day. While there will be days when you feel as you did prior to surgery, you will not feel 100 percent yourself consistently in the four to six weeks following surgery. Sometimes you will feel a burst of energy, and sometimes you will feel exhausted, possibly without any warning. You should feel prepared for this ebb and flow in your stamina.
When can I get a tan?
You may not tan your chest area for a minimum of 3 weeks and not until all the bruising and swelling has subsided. Tanning while you have bruises can make these areas stay pigmented permanently.
When can I use a public pool, Jacuzzi, sauna; or get in the ocean?
You should refrain from getting your incision sites exposed to potentially dirty water for at least four weeks after surgery or while your incisions are still red and fresh looking. Otherwise, you can potentially increase your chance of developing an infection.
How Much Scarring Can I Expect?
Sometimes, a patient will have to choose between having remaining loose skin after surgery, and scars that are noticeable. For a male with very large breasts, the decision is easier to make in favor of the scarring, as, otherwise, there will be massive hanging skin that drapes in folds.
For less severe cases of Gynecomastia, the cosmetic surgeon and the patient will need to thoroughly discuss what types of incisions and resulting scars are acceptable. Despite knowing how long your scars are going to be, no one can predict if you are going to develop thick hypertrophic or keloid scars.
Will I Notice the Results Right Away?
Unlike many surgeries, the new look is almost immediately noticeable. However, there will be some swelling before the full effect of your cosmetic surgeon's sculpturing shows at about eight weeks. Although your chest will be flat immediately it might take some time for the skin to shrink and its contour to improve. Also, the tissues beneath the skin that have been sculpted can remain hard for a while, before they soften during the healing process. Following surgery, you will be required to wear a compression garment to keep the chest flattened and the swelling minimal. Some men find this uncomfortable, but it is temporary, and will not show through your clothing.