Gynecomastia Surgery Recovery | Donaldson Plastic Surgery

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By Jeffrey Donaldson, MD |

Gynecomastia Surgery Recovery

What To Expect After Your Gynecomastia Procedure & Beyond 

Gynecomastia Surgery Recovery

Gynecomastia is a condition in which men have overdeveloped or enlarged breast tissue. It can be a source of embarrassment and discomfort, but it can also be treated with simple surgical intervention. Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson is an expert in gynecomastia surgery and is dedicated to providing his patients with the best possible results — from that first consultation to the actual procedure and through the recovery phase. 

Today, we’re answering some of the most frequently asked questions about gynecomastia surgery recovery to help you understand what to expect after surgery before you make your decision. 

How Long Does it Take to Recover From Gynecomastia Surgery?

The average patient can return to work within a day or two after gynecomastia surgery, but this will depend on the type of work you do, your gynecomastia “level” and how you are feeling. The patient should avoid lifting their arms for 5 – 7 days after surgery. Light physical activity — like taking out the trash or mowing the lawn — can usually be resumed within 2 weeks, but strenuous activity should be avoided for at least four to six weeks.

“I know it can be pretty tough to sit on the sidelines after your surgery but sticking to your plan is crucial to a smooth recovery and optimal results. Just like you can’t expect to get six-pack abs in a week, you have to be patient as your body fully recuperates.”

-Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson 

Will I Have Gynecomastia Scars After Surgery?

Most gynecomastia surgeries are performed using incisions that are well-hidden within the natural contours of the breast, so scarring is typically minimal but it is permanent. In some cases, the incisions may be placed around the areola, and this usually heals well with minimal scarring. Your plastic surgeon will discuss the location of your incisions with you and explain the best options for optimal scar management.

What Can Cause Surgery Recovery to Take Longer?

Dr. Donaldson discussing gynecomastia surgery recovery preparation with a patient

A few factors can slow down the recovery process after gynecomastia surgery. These can include:

  • Smoking, which can slow down healing and increase the risk of complications
  • Obesity, which can put more pressure on the chest and slow down healing
  • Poor nutrition, which can affect the body’s ability to heal
  • Chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, which can slow down healing and increase the risk of complications
  • Certain medications have been proven to increase the risk of bleeding
  • Not wearing your post-surgery compression vest

What You Can Do To Improve The Recovery Process

  • Avoid smoking and alcohol usage
  • Eat a high-protein diet
  • Take great care of your incisions
  • Stay hydrated at all times
  • Wear the provided compression garment as much as possible
  • Get a lot of sleep (it’s ok — your body needs it)
  • Put a pillow in the “small” of the back while sleeping for greater comfort & stability throughout the night
  • Get up and move around every once in a while

What Should I Have at Home While Recovering From Gynecomastia Surgery?

It is important to be prepared for your recovery period so that you can focus on healing. You want this to be a laid-back time so you can get back to normal life faster!

Here are some items you should have at home after your gynecomastia surgery:

  • Loose, comfortable clothing that can be easily removed for incision checks
  • Pain medication prescribed by your surgeon
  • Ice packs to help reduce swelling
  • Pillows to support your chest and arm movements
  • A sleep positioner to help you maintain a comfortable position while sleeping (optional)

What Should I Wear While Recovering From Gynecomastia Surgery?

Gynecomastia Surgery Compression Vest

The gynecomastia surgery compression vest is vital to reducing the amount of swelling after your surgery and allowing the skin to sculpt to the newer, flatter surface without fluid accumulation. The compression garment should be snug, but also not too tight to avoid any skin irritation or unnecessary discomfort. It should be worn as much as possible for 6 weeks total. If you have issues with the vest after the first several weeks, we can have you switch to an Under Armour shirt or something similar — so long as we can get 6 full weeks of compression.

It is essential to wear loose, comfortable clothing during the recovery period in addition to your compression vest.

When Will I See The Full Results From Gynecomastia Surgery?

You will likely notice some initial improvements but the full results from gynecomastia surgery typically become visible within 2 -3 months after the procedure. It is important to remember that every patient’s recovery process is different, and the timeline for seeing the full results can vary. Generally, it takes around 6 to 12 weeks for swelling to subside, and for the chest to assume its final shape.

Some residual swelling can persist for several months and the final results — in some rare cases — may not be fully apparent for up to a year after the procedure. Higher grades of gynecomastia removal can also see longer recovery periods.


Jeffrey Donaldson, MD Author Bio 2

About The Author

At Donaldson Plastic Surgery, expert plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson takes a comprehensive approach to patient care, putting an emphasis on ensuring a smooth and comfortable recovery for every patient. He has performed hundreds of successful gynecomastia surgeries throughout his tenure. He continues to perfect his surgical technique and educate patients everywhere about various facets of this life-changing procedure. 

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