Gynaecomastia Surgery – Important Things To Consider
This is the follow-up part to an earlier post and video I did about things to think about if you’re getting an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck. As I had a combination procedure – abdominoplasty and chest reduction – this is the follow-up that focuses more on things to think about for a gynaecomastia procedure (or male chest reduction).
Quite a few of the big points are similar in terms of deciding the right time, choosing a surgeon, and having realistic expectations. So if you haven’t already, please check that post out as well.
Similar Key Points Between Tummy Tuck And Chest Reduction
In case you don’t want to go back and read the whole article, I have got you covered with some of the main points here.
Never go deal-hunting or looking for shortcuts or cheaper options with something like this.
You need to find the surgeon, clinic, hospital and overall setup that you feel comfortable with, that you have confidence in, and that fits within your budget.
Don’t expect absolute 100% perfect results because that isn’t really common with major surgery, so you need to be realistic.
You may have some asymmetry in the scar position, your body shape, or maybe even both. In my case, my scars are uneven because I needed to have more tissue removed from one side than the other but my body shape is symmetrical (relatively).
Plan For Recovery
This can be a major procedure that causes a lot of disruption to your day-to-day life and you might not be able to do a lot of fairly basic things for a while. You won’t be able to drive, you will have restricted arm movement and you might not be able to reach overhead. So it’s important to think ahead.
What Is A Gynaecomastia Procedure?
The condition gynecomastia is in simple terms, swelling in the male chest area, causing the development of breast tissue in most cases. The main reason for this is typically an imbalance of testosterone and estrogen in males, and it’s often associated with obesity.
There is also fatty gynecomastia, also known as pseudo-gynaecomastia. This is where the enlargement in the chest area is caused by the build-up of stored body fat.
This is what I had. My surgeon did confirm this for me. And I guess that’s no great surprise, given the body fat levels I reached when I was at my heaviest.
Both procedures involve a similar process: making an incision to remove excess tissue.
For minor cases, the incision lifts the nipple, removes extra tissue, and is then stitched up.
In more extensive cases like mine, a larger incision is made to remove excess tissue and skin.
It’s been about 5 months since my procedure, and the scars are healing nicely.
They sit well beneath my chest muscle, making them easy to hide once they fade, judging by their current progress.
Before getting too far ahead of ourselves I do want to explicitly state I am not a doctor, nurse, or qualified medical or healthcare practitioner in any way, shape or form.
I can only share my experience as a patient. For specific questions, please consult someone qualified.
They’ll be able to give you specific advice that’s relevant to you and your situation.
And definitely trust them over anything I say.
Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s look at some of the specific things to think about with male chest reduction surgery.
Scars From Male Chest Reduction Surgery
If you have a minor procedure around the nipple then any scarring might not be noticeable at all.
Undergo a more extensive procedure like I did, and you can expect to have more noticeable scarring afterwards.
If that is what you opt for, you will have to weigh up for yourself a couple of things:
- Would you prefer to have visible and possibly quite large scars, accept the risks with this kind of procedure and change the contour and shape of your body?
- Or would you prefer to have no scars, recovery or potential risks from this kind of procedure and keep your body shape as is?
There’s no right answer and it’s 100% up to you.
In my own case, I knew it would make a dramatic difference to my body shape, I figured I can tattoo over healed scars if I wanted to and I was pretty sure that I would end up regretting not going ahead if I didn’t do it.
So it was a fairly easy call for me.
I also feel more comfortable with my scars.
I was never comfortable with my excess skin, but I seem to have no problems showing off my scars, as you can see from my Youtube channel with the surgery-related content I’m putting out.
There was enough definition in my chest that the surgeon could hide the scars a little bit under the groove of my chest muscle. Although they will be present, they’ll be pretty well hidden from a visual standpoint.
And if I do a tattoo over it, there’s a nice line to work along.
Your surgeon will be best placed to talk to you about scar placement, the final results you might get, and the risks around scars, especially if you have a darker skin tone or higher levels of melanin.
Recovering From Chest Reduction Surgery
With this kind of procedure, looking at your recovery is also incredibly important.
For smaller chest reduction surgery, I’m unfamiliar with the recovery process. However, for more extensive procedures like mine, planning for recovery is essential.
As of now, about 5 months post-surgery, I can comfortably raise my arms overhead.
It took about 4 months to achieve that without any discomfort or tightness.
While the soreness subsided after 9-10 weeks, reaching still felt somewhat resistant until around 4 months.
During the initial 3-4 weeks, I couldn’t raise my arms above shoulder height, so button-up or zip-up tops were necessary. I also relied on others to grab items from higher shelves.
Around 3 or 4 weeks later, I switched to wearing stretchy, baggy t-shirts for easier dressing.
Regarding driving, you can resume when you feel no pain, no head movement issues, and can safely do emergency stops.
You won’t be bedbound, but moving and reaching may feel uncomfortable due to fresh wounds.
You may lose some confidence in movement since you can’t exert much force with your arms.
Your shower routine needs adjustments too. After surgery, avoid showers for 48-72 hours to keep wounds dry.
Once permitted to shower, the water pressure is low, so I face away from the showerhead to protect tapes and wounds.
To stay clean, use anti-bacterial wipes and a gentle sponge. Dry wet tapes with a hair dryer before wearing your support garment.
Speaking of which, you’ll need to wear a support garment day and night for 4 to 8 weeks post-surgery.
In my case, I got the all-clear to remove it at 6 weeks. But I felt a bit more comfortable wearing it until 8 weeks.
You’ll also need to sleep on your back. If you sleep on your stomach normally, this will be tough for you to get used to.
Preparing For Surgery
There is no specific diet or eating plan you will need to follow in advance of your surgery. Or at least there wasn’t in my case.
From my reading, I understand you will want to stay at roughly the same body weight and shape for at least 6 months though. I had been in the same weight range for a few years so that wasn’t an issue for me.
Also, I had a combined abdominoplasty and chest reduction, so this may be different if you are having just the chest reduction. Your surgeon will be able to guide you through this.
Mentally, any surgery can give you nerves or feelings of fear and anxiety, which is pretty normal. And of course, there are risks associated with any major procedure that you have to get comfortable taking.
Is Gynaecomastia Surgery Worth It?
In deciding whether something like this is worth it, in short, you need to decide if it is going to have enough of a positive impact on your life to make it worthwhile.
You also need to be comfortable with associated risks, the recovery process, and any scarring.
Plus it isn’t cheap in the first place.
So you have to weigh all that up for yourself and make your own decision.
I am still healing and in the recovery process. I’m 5 months post-op at the time of writing. I don’t have any restrictions on my movements and the recovery process isn’t stopping me from doing anything.
But scars do take around a year to fully heal and swelling can take just as long to go down fully. So there is still some level of recovery going on.
But I am very happy I did it.
My confidence has gone up, I am moving a lot better, plus – and I’m not sure if this is the right way to describe it – I feel like I’m living in a body that reflects the level of care and work I put into my health and fitness. Kind of like living in my “actual” body I guess would be one way to describe it.