Tips for a Smooth Recovery after Gynaecomastia

By Dr Jake Lim – Plastic Surgeon | Updated: January 22, 2024

How to Have a Smooth Recovery after Gynaecomastia Surgery

Gynaecomastia can arise due to various factors including hormonal imbalances, certain medications, or underlying health conditions. The surgical solution for gynaecomastia, often referred to as gynaecomastia surgery, presents a viable solution for those seeking to address this condition. This procedure involves the removal of excess breast tissue, and in some instances, excess skin, to restore a more typical male breast contour. Depending on the specifics of the case, the surgery might also include liposuction to remove excess fat in the chest area.

Knowing what to expect during the process of recovery after gynaecomastia surgery is essential for achieving the best possible outcomes. The post-operative period is not only a time for your body to heal, but it’s also a phase where careful attention to certain practices can significantly enhance the results. This period requires adherence to specific guidelines provided by your plastic surgeon, which are designed to facilitate healing and minimise potential complications.

In this blog, Sydney Plastic Surgeon Dr Jake Lim will explore the details of how to have a smooth recovery after gynaecomastia surgery.

Tips for Immediate Post-Surgery Care after Gynaecomastia Surgery

  • Adhere to Pain Management Guidelines: After gynaecomastia surgery, managing discomfort is essential. Dr Jake Lim will prescribe pain medication, and it’s important to use these as directed. Avoid the temptation to “tough it out” as unmanaged pain can hinder your recovery process. If the pain feels more intense than anticipated, don’t hesitate to contact your plastic surgeon. Keep in mind that effective pain management is not just about comfort; it’s also about facilitating a smoother recovery
  • Rest and Sleep Positioning: In the initial days following your surgery, rest is key to your recovery. Aim for uninterrupted, quality sleep and keep your upper body elevated using pillows. This elevation helps in reducing swelling and discomfort. Avoid sleeping on your stomach or sides as this can put undue pressure on the surgical area. If you find it difficult to maintain a comfortable sleeping position, consider using a reclining chair
  • Monitor Surgical Drains, if Applicable: Some gynaecomastia procedures involve the use of drains to remove excess fluid from the surgical site. If you have these, it’s important to monitor them as instructed by Dr Lim. This includes measuring and recording the output and ensuring the drains are functioning properly. Be gentle when handling them to avoid any dislodgement
  • Wearing Compression Garments: Dr Lim will likely recommend wearing compression garments following your surgery. These garments are designed to support the surgical area, reduce swelling, and help your skin adjust to its new contours. It’s important to wear them as advised for several weeks post-surgery. Although they might feel uncomfortable at first, they are integral to your healing process
  • Stay Hydrated and Eat Nutritiously: Hydration is key in the recovery process. Drink plenty of fluids to keep your body hydrated, which aids in healing and reduces the risk of complications. In addition to hydration, focus on consuming a balanced diet rich in nutrients. This will provide your body with the necessary resources to heal effectively. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains in your diet
  • Limited Mobility and Activity: In the first few days post-surgery, it’s important to limit your physical activity. Avoid lifting heavy objects, strenuous exercises, or any other activities that might strain the surgical area. Gentle walks around your home are encouraged to promote blood circulation, but remember not to overdo it. Gradually, as advised by Dr Lim, you can increase your level of activity
  • Care for Surgical Site: Keep the surgical area clean and dry as per your plastic surgeon’s instructions. This might include guidelines on how to bathe, change dressings, and apply any topical medications. It’s important not to disturb the healing tissues. Avoid applying ice or heat packs to the surgical area unless directed by your surgeon
  • Avoid Smoking and Alcohol: Refrain from smoking and consuming alcohol during the immediate recovery phase. These substances can impede the healing process, increasing the risk of complications and prolonging recovery time
  • Regular Follow-up Appointments: Attend all scheduled post-operative appointments. These are important for monitoring your recovery and addressing any potential issues early on. They also provide an opportunity for you to ask questions and clarify any concerns regarding your recovery process
Gynaecomastia Surgery with Dr Jake Lim
Gynaecomastia Patient 1 — Front View

Tips for Wound Care and Hygiene after Gynaecomastia Surgery

  • Gentle Cleaning of the Surgical Area: When cleaning the surgical area, be gentle. Use mild soap and lukewarm water unless instructed otherwise. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing the area harshly as this can irritate the wounds and disrupt the healing process. After cleaning, pat the area dry with a clean, soft towel. Do not use any harsh chemicals or alcohol-based products on the wound unless specifically advised by Dr Lim
  • Change Dressings as Advised: Dressing changes are a critical aspect of wound care. Change your dressings as recommended by your plastic surgeon. This not only keeps the area clean but also allows you to monitor the wound for any signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or discharge. Ensure your hands are clean before handling dressings to minimise the risk of introducing bacteria to the wound
  • Keep the Wound Dry: Keeping the wound dry, especially in the initial days post-surgery, is essential. Avoid direct water exposure, such as taking showers, until Dr Lim gives the approval. When you do begin showering, do not let the water stream directly hit the wound. Instead, use a gentle flow and keep the exposure time brief
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing: Opt for clothing that is soft and loose-fitting to avoid irritation to the wound area. Tight clothing can rub against the incisions, causing discomfort and potentially impacting the healing process. Also, ensure your clothing is clean to reduce the risk of infection
  • Avoid Submerging in Water: Until your wounds have sufficiently healed, avoid swimming pools, hot tubs, and baths. Submerging in water can introduce bacteria to the wound and increase the risk of infection. Follow Dr Lim’s advice on when it’s safe to resume such activities
  • Beware of Potential Infection Signs: Be vigilant for any signs of infection, which include unusual redness, increased swelling, warmth around the wound, or discharge. Fever and increased pain are also indicators of potential infection. If you observe any of these signs, contact your surgeon immediately
  • Avoid Touching or Scratching the Wound: It’s important not to touch or scratch the wound area. Even if it feels itchy as it heals, resist the urge to scratch, as this can cause damage to the healing tissues and increase the risk of infection. If itching is a problem, discuss safe solutions with Dr Lim
  • Sun Protection for Healing Wounds: Protect healing wounds from direct sunlight. UV rays can darken scars, making them more noticeable. When outdoors, cover the wound with clothing or use a sunscreen recommended by your plastic surgeon once the wound has sufficiently healed
  • Regular Monitoring of the Wound: Regularly inspect the wound for any changes in appearance or signs of healing complications. This self-monitoring is an important part of your post-operative care and helps in identifying any issues promptly. Should you notice anything unusual or concerning, don’t hesitate to contact your surgeon

Tips for Physical Activity and Exercise after Gynaecomastia Surgery

  • Start with Gentle Walking: Begin your physical activity post-surgery with gentle walking. This low-impact exercise is excellent for promoting blood circulation, which is essential for healing. However, it is important not to overexert yourself. Short, leisurely walks within your home or in a calm outdoor setting are ideal. Gradually increase the duration and pace of your walks as you feel more comfortable
  • Avoid Strenuous Activities and Heavy Lifting: In the initial weeks following your surgery, it is essential to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities. These activities can increase blood pressure and lead to swelling or bleeding at the surgical site. Activities such as weightlifting, high-intensity cardio, or any sport that involves vigorous movement should be avoided until Dr Jake Lim advises that it is safe to resume them
  • Gradual Return to Regular Exercise Routine: Once your plastic surgeon gives the green light, gradually return to your regular exercise routine. It is important to start slowly and increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over time. Jumping back into a rigorous exercise regime too quickly can be detrimental to your recovery. Incorporate a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups, ensuring a balanced approach to regaining your strength and fitness
  • Incorporate Flexibility and Stretching Exercises: As you regain strength, include flexibility and stretching exercises in your routine. These exercises help maintain muscle elasticity, improve range of motion, and can aid in preventing stiffness. Stretching should be gentle, and you should avoid stretching the chest area excessively or prematurely
  • Swimming and Water-Based Activities: Once your wounds are fully healed and you have received approval from your surgeon, swimming and other water-based activities can be a great way to exercise. The buoyancy of water provides a low-impact environment that is gentle on your body while allowing for a full-body workout
  • Avoid Contact Sports Initially: Contact sports pose a risk of injury to the surgical area and should be avoided until your surgeon confirms that your body has healed sufficiently. Sports such as football, basketball, or martial arts can be resumed gradually and with caution, depending on your recovery progress
  • Seek Professional Advice for Exercise Regimen: Consider consulting a fitness professional or physiotherapist who can provide personalised advice and design an exercise program tailored to your recovery stage. This ensures that your return to physical activity is safe and effective
  • Stay Hydrated During Exercise: Hydration is key, especially when you start increasing physical activity. Ensure you drink enough water before, during, and after exercise to keep your body hydrated. This aids in overall recovery and helps maintain optimal physical performance
  • Monitor for Any Signs of Strain: As you increase your activity level, be vigilant for signs of strain around the surgical area. Any unusual swelling, pain, or discomfort should be taken seriously. In such cases, reduce your activity level and consult your surgeon for advice

Tips for Long-term Care and Maintaining Results after Gynaecomastia Surgery

  • Maintain a Stable Weight: Keeping your weight stable is key to maintaining the results of your gynaecomastia surgery. Significant weight fluctuations can alter the appearance of your chest, potentially diminishing the aesthetic results of the procedure. Focus on a balanced diet and regular exercise to manage your weight effectively. Keep in mind that adopting a healthy lifestyle is not just about the short-term recovery but also about ensuring lasting results
  • Continue a Balanced Diet: A nutritious diet plays a substantial role in maintaining your post-surgery results. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains in your diet. This will not only help in maintaining your weight but also support overall health. Avoid high-calorie, processed foods that can lead to weight gain and potentially affect the appearance of your chest
  • Regular Exercise Regimen: Establishing a regular exercise routine is essential for maintaining the results of your surgery. Focus on exercises that strengthen and tone the chest muscles, such as push-ups or weight training, along with cardiovascular workouts for overall fitness. Consistency in your exercise routine is key; it helps in keeping the chest area firm and well-defined
  • Avoid Steroids and Certain Medications: Be cautious about using steroids or other medications that can influence hormone levels. Some medications can lead to the development of gynaecomastia, so it’s important to discuss any medication use with your surgeon. Always seek medical advice before starting or stopping any prescribed or over-the-counter medications
  • Sun Protection for Scars: If you have scars from the surgery, it’s important to protect them from the sun. UV exposure can darken scars, making them more noticeable. Use a high SPF sunscreen and cover the area with clothing when exposed to the sun, especially in the first year post-surgery
  • Avoid Smoking and Excessive Alcohol: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can affect your overall health and potentially impact the results of your surgery. Smoking, in particular, can impair blood flow, affecting the quality of your skin and its ability to heal. Moderation in alcohol and avoiding smoking altogether can significantly contribute to maintaining your surgical results
  • Stay Hydrated: Keeping your body well-hydrated is beneficial for skin health and overall body function. Proper hydration can help maintain skin elasticity and appearance, contributing to the lasting effect of your surgery. Ensure you drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Stress Management: High levels of stress can have various negative impacts on your body, including weight gain and hormonal imbalances. Engage in activities that help reduce stress, such as yoga, meditation, or any hobbies that you find relaxing. Managing stress effectively can have a positive impact on maintaining the results of your surgery
  • Regular Self-Examination: Regularly examine your chest area to monitor for any changes. If you notice any unusual lumps, swelling, or changes in the chest area, consult Dr Jake Lim. Early detection of any issues can help in addressing them promptly and maintaining the results of your surgery

FAQs about Smooth Recovery after Gynaecomastia

FAQs

How long does it take to fully recover from gynaecomastia surgery?

  • Recovery time can vary based on the individual and the extent of the surgery, but most patients can expect to return to normal activities within 4 to 6 weeks. Complete healing and the final results may take several months to become evident. It’s important to follow Dr Lim’s specific advice and not rush the recovery process

What are the common signs of complications I should watch for during recovery?

  • Be vigilant for signs such as excessive swelling, redness, and pain around the surgical area, unusual discharge, fever, or any sudden changes in the chest contour. These symptoms can indicate possible complications like infection or hematoma. Contact your surgeon immediately if you experience any of these signs

Can I return to exercise and sports after gynaecomastia surgery?

  • Yes, you can return to exercise and sports, but it must be a gradual process. Initially, stick to light activities like walking. After a few weeks, you can slowly start incorporating more strenuous exercises as per your surgeon’s guidance. Contact sports and heavy lifting should be avoided for at least 3 months. You should check with Dr Lim first.

When can I expect to see the final results of my gynaecomastia surgery?

  • While you will notice changes immediately after surgery, the final results may take several months to become fully apparent. This is due to the time needed for swelling to subside and the skin to adjust to the new chest contour. Patience is key, and it’s important to follow your surgeon’s post-operative care plan to achieve optimal results.

How can I ensure the results of my gynaecomastia surgery are long-lasting?

  • To maintain the results, adhere to a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise. Avoid significant weight fluctuations, and refrain from using steroids or substances that could affect hormone levels. Regular health check-ups and self-examinations of the chest area are also recommended to monitor any changes.

Further Reading about Plastic Surgery for Men with Sydney Plastic Surgeon Dr Jake Lim

Medical References about Cosmetic Surgery for Men

About Dr Jake Lim

Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss

Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.

Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.

At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.