Gynaecomastia or male breast reduction surgery is a simple yet effective way to reduce or completely remove excess tissue in male breasts. Like any cosmetic surgery, it’s important to consider what you need to do for a smooth recovery. Often, the gynaecomastia recovery time is crucial in obtaining and maintaining great results.
What is Men’s Breast Reduction Surgery?
Male breast reduction is a day-case procedure to reduce male breasts or “man boobs”. The aim of the surgery is to remove excess breast tissue to create a flatter, more masculine chest area. Typically, it involves small incisions around the nipples to lift the chest and remove any excess skin, and liposuction to remove fat.
Some patients may have one or both breasts that are larger than normal. You can have mild to severe gynaecomastia with a range of symptoms like:
- Swollen breast tissue
- Fatty tissue beneath the nipple
- Tenderness in the breast tissue
Before and After Male Breast Reduction Surgery
Gynaecomastia Recovery Timeline: How Long Does it Take to Recover?
Overall, recovery from male breast reduction surgery is gentle. It’s normal to feel sore for the first few days, but you can manage this with over-the-counter painkillers. Although everybody is different, most patients return to work in about 1 week if their job isn’t physically demanding. After 2 weeks, you should feel much more like your usual self.
Following 3-4 weeks, most of the swelling should have subsided, and your incisions should be fully healed. In general, 6 weeks marks the end of the recovery period, even though you should start to feel back to your normal self after 1-2 weeks. It’s important to know that this is a guideline for recovery, and your surgeon will guide you with your precise recovery timeline.
Here’s a breakdown of the gynaecomastia recovery timeline week by week:
- 1-3 days – in the first few days following your surgery, you may feel some tightness, pain, or tenderness. Your plastic surgeon will advise you on pain management, but usually any discomfort can be eased with over the counter painkillers.
- 1 week – at this point most patients can head back to work if it’s nothing too strenuous and most of the tenderness has subsided.
- 2 weeks – you should start to feel back to normal. You will still be wearing your compression garment and need to avoid strenuous exercise for now.
- 3-4 weeks – you can resume normal exercise, but nothing that targets the chest. Most patients can take baths at this point and you don’t need to wear your compression garment all the time.
- 6 weeks – this is the end of the recovery process for most and patients can usually resume strenuous exercise including the chest. You should be able to sleep in any position by this point.
Gynaecomastia Surgery Recovery Time: 9 Tips
Over time, your body will heal, and you will feel like your regular self. It’s normal to feel low on energy after your surgery, so it’s crucial that you listen to your body and follow a healthy diet for optimal recovery. Try these 9 tips to support a healthy gynaecomastia recovery time.
1. Stay Hydrated
During your recovery period, it’s essential to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids. Good hydration helps to clear your body of toxins and boost your energy, which can help with recovery.
2. Eat Healthily
Your diet is extremely important during your recovery. Try to eat a healthy and balanced diet with plenty of lean protein, fruit, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. As you heal, your body needs lots of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, protein, and iron. Fuelling your body with healthy foods also helps to maintain a stable weight after the procedure for optimal and long-lasting results.
3. Sleep at an Angle
You will need to get plenty of rest and listen to your body when recovering. Like many cosmetic procedures, you will have to adapt your sleeping position for a little while. Sleep at a 45-degree angle for the first 3 days. Continue to sleep in this position until it’s comfortable to return to your normal sleeping position.
4. Wear a Compression Garment
During the first 24 hours, you will likely be wearing bandages over the chest. Your surgeon will give you instructions on what to do with this. At about day 2 or 3, you may wish to switch to a compression garment when your incisions are no longer oozing.
5. Use Ice Packs
In the first 2 days, you may want to apply ice packs to the area to ease discomfort. Never apply ice packs directly onto the skin. After your procedure, the area may still feel numb, so you won’t feel the cold. This could result in a skin burn.
6. Don’t Smoke
Avoid smoking for at least 2 weeks before and after your surgery. If possible, quit smoking altogether as smoking can hinder the healing process by decreasing blood flow during the gynaecomastia recovery timeline.
7. Avoid Direct Sun Exposure
Avoid direct sun exposure on your incisions for at least 6 weeks. If you can, you should avoid direct sun exposure in the area for 3 months. If you’re out in the sun, use good sunscreen to protect the incisions. This is because sun exposure can darken scars permanently and make them more noticeable.
8. Refrain from Intense Exercise
Although it can be tempting to work out after male breast reduction surgery, it’s important that you avoid chest exercises during recovery. Your chest will be weaker than it was and needs time to heal. You need to avoid intense exercise for 6-8 weeks, depending on your recovery. This includes activities like tennis, weight lifting, and lifting heavy objects.
9. Showering after Gynaecomastia Surgery
You should avoid showering for about 24 hours after your surgery. When you can stand safely, you can have a shower which is usually at about 48 hours. After this, you can shower as usual but just avoid directing the water at your chest so as to not get your incisions wet.
During your gynaecomastia recovery time, it’s essential that you follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions. These guidelines are in place for a reason to get the most out of your procedure and maximise your results.
To talk about gynaecomastia surgery and discuss your options, book a consultation today or speak to the team at the Harley Clinic, London.