How long does swelling last after male breast reduction?
I haven’t had gynecomastia surgery yet, but I am seriously considering it. Does swelling last a long time after surgery or does it go down within a week or two? I’m trying to plan out my summer plans and determine when the best time would be for me to get surgery. Thank you!
Swelling after gynecomastia surgery, as with any other surgery, is very common. How much swelling you will have and how long it will last depends on how your body responds, and there is no way to predict how it will be for you.
One thing we commonly see in our practice is that the post-operative swelling often gets worse temporarily after the tape or foam around the surgical site is removed. This is normal and not a cause for concern. It may take as long as four weeks for the swelling to decrease and up to nine weeks for it to resolve completely.
To help with your swelling, treat the incision areas with ice or cold compresses, rest upright as much as you can, and avoid moving your arms as much as possible for the first few days post-op or for as long as your surgeon dictates.
Some complications that might involve more swelling than normal include the collection of blood or other fluids under the skin, called hematomas and seromas respectively. Should you develop either one, your surgeon may have to perform an additional procedure to drain the blood or fluid.
If you experience more swelling than normal, or swelling that is worse on one side, you should immediately contact your surgeon.
Swelling and bruising are common following surgery of any type because it is the body’s way of healing itself. Whenever there is a trauma, such as surgery, the body sends white blood cells to the site of the injury as well as fluid, which causes the area to become distended. The area of swelling can diffuse or be localized to the site of the injury, which in the case of surgery is the surgical wound.
In the case of gynecomastia surgery, the most swelling occurs within the first two weeks post-op, with the majority of it resolving after roughly four weeks. Of course, the amount of swelling that occurs varies from patient to patient, and also by the technique your plastic surgeon uses.
For instance, one technique that might cause more initial swelling than others is tumescent liposuction. This procedure requires your doctor to pump anesthetic fluid into the breast tissue prior to exercising it, and some of this anesthetic may linger in the glandular tissue for a time after the surgery.
In any event, there are some things you can do to minimize your swelling. They include any of the following:
- Limit your activities as your surgeon instructs, especially immediately following your procedure. Most doctors will tell you to avoid lifting anything heavy for a few days post-op.
- Wear the compression garment your doctor provides for up to four weeks, or as long as he or she instructs. Compression garments help to control swelling by promoting adherence of the skin to the muscle underneath.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Rest with your torso in an elevated position as much as possible.
The amount of swelling is very individual. It varies with the amount of work done, the technique of the surgeon, the amount of appropriate post-op compression and the cooperation of the patient in following post op recommendations.
On average, in my practice, most swelling will be gone within 2-4 weeks after surgery.
For further info, please consult my website which is entirely devoted to surgery for gynecomastia: www.gynecomastianewyork.com
Elliot W. Jacobs, MD, FACS
New York City
Dr. Elliot Jacobs has 3 Gynecomastia reduction before & afters: