How can I help myself recover quick from male breast reduction surgery? (Photo)

Its been almost two weeks since my surgery of type 1 gynecomastia and the swelling of the right side of my chest is gone but the swelling on the left side persists. It is concerning because it does not feel like a stiff painful swelling like it did before. It just hurts a little if I press on the nipple even though all around the nipple is swollen too. From my understanding there may be fluid. What can I do to heal quicker? Hot or Cold packs? Drink more or less water? Surgeon is on vacation.

Doctor Answers 5

Healing & Recovery After Male Breast Reduction

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Following surgery, your incisions will go through a maturation process. For the first few months they will be red and possibly raised and/or firm. As the scar matures, after 6-12 months, it becomes soft, pale, flat, and much less noticeable. You may experience numbness, tingling, burning, “crawling”, or other peculiar sensations around the surgical area. This is a result of the healing of tiny fibers which are trapped in the incision site. These symptoms will disappear. Some people are prone to keloids, which is an abnormal scar that becomes prominent. If you or a blood relative has a tendency to keloid formation, please inform the doctor.

Bruising and #swelling are normal and usually increase slightly after the removal of any tape or foam. The bruising will decrease over 3-4 weeks, but may last as long as 6 weeks. The majority of the swelling will be gone within the first 3-4 weeks. However, it may take 6-9 weeks to disappear completely. 

Also, as you heal, the area may feel “lumpy” and irregular. This, too, decreases with time, and massaging these areas will help soften the scar tissue. The #compression garment helps reduce the swelling, and the longer it is worn, the more quickly you will #heal. It can also assist in the retraction of the skin. If you have any concerns about #healing, its best to ask questions of your surgeon or their nursing staff.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Gynecomastia Surgery Healing

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Hi jaiday,

Thanks for the post. Rarely do both sides heal at the same rate. However, if there is a question of a fluid collection, then I recommend being seen by your plastic surgeon to evaluate this. Until your surgeon comes back from vacation, I recommend that you wear a compression vest and not be too active with your left arm and chest, in the case it is a fluid collection too much activity can exacerbate this. Ice packs, hot packs, and hydration status won't do anything if it is a fluid collection.


Dr. Dadvand

Babak Dadvand, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Male breast reduction

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It is hard to tell without seeing you, however, in my practice I do a lot of male breast reductions for gynecomastia. What you write does not appear to be unusual or even worrisome. The postoperative course is very rarely symmetrical and it may well take considerably longer for the swelling to go down on one side compared to the other.
I think it is quite important to wear good compression garments for 4 weeks after the surgery and limit physical activity for that time period as well. Especially not running, since this bounces the breasts somewhat, and no heavy lifting or working overhead.

If there is just some fluid, it will be absorbed by your body, without any problems. If there is enough fluid to form an undulation (like a wave) that runs across the area when you push on one side, then you should have it removed by aspiration. As long as you are feeling o.k. and there is little pain and the area is not red or hot, this does not have to be done on an emergency basis. If your surgeon returns within a week or so, it should not be a problem to wait.

All the best to you!

Wolf-Gunter N. Steinmetz, M.D.

Wolf-Gunter N. Steinmetz, MD
Germany Plastic Surgeon

Male breast reduction recovery

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Thank you for your question. The best way to recover from your procedure is to limit exercise and physical exertion and wear your compression garment. You most likely received instructions either before or at the time of your procedure from your surgeon. Review those and try to follow them as closely as possible. Also, even though your surgeon is out of town, call his/her office and set up a time to be seen. Stay in close contact with your surgeon until final healing has taken place. Fluid intake should be normal and do not do compresses at this point unless instructed to do so by your surgeon's office. Best of luck. 

Steven L. Robinson, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon

Swelling after Gynecomastia surgery

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It's not unusual to have asymmetric swelling after surgery. It may take several months. If you are concerned about a seroma, see your plastic surgeon when they return. If it is a moderate to large seroma, an aspiration may be required. Continue with compression and limiting your activity will help.  Start ice and I like my patients at this time to begin anti inflammatory meds like ibuprofen, but check with your doc before you do anything!
all the best,
dr Lille

Sean T. Lille, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.