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 do 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 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 gynaecomastia is in simple terms, swelling in the male chest area, causing the development of breast tissue in most cases. The most common cause is an imbalance of testosterone and estrogen in males and is often linked to 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.
The procedure in both cases is pretty much the same – an incision to remove the build-up of tissue in whatever form that may be.
In minor cases, it might just be an incision to lift the nipple, pull out the extra tissue, and then sew you shut.
In more extensive cases like mine, it can involve a much bigger incision that will involve removing the excess tissue and skin.
I am writing this about 5 months after my procedure and the scars have been healing well overall.
They fit nicely under my chest muscle so once healed and faded, they will be pretty easy to hide or disguise if I wanted to, based on 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.
If you have a more extensive procedure like I did, then you will be left with more extensive scarring.
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.
I also had enough chest definition that the surgeon could hide the scars a little bit under the groove of my chest muscle. So while they will be there, from an aesthetic point of view, they’ll be quite well disguised.
And if I do 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.
I’m not familiar with the recovery for the smaller version of chest reduction surgery, but if you have a more extensive procedure like I did, you will definitely need to plan for your recovery.
At the time of writing this, around 5 months after my procedure, I can comfortably reach my arms straight up overhead.
But that took until around month 4 for me to be able to do that comfortably without feeling any tightness or restriction.
The movement stopped feeling sore after 9 or 10 weeks, but it felt like there was a constant extra resistance while reaching, until around 4 months.
Plus for 3-4 weeks, I couldn’t get my arms past shoulder height in the first place, so could only wear button-up or zip-up tops and generally needed someone to pass me things on higher shelves.
I started wearing stretchy, baggy t-shirts after around 3 or 4 weeks because they were easier to get on and off.
In terms of driving, the guidance I was given was that you can drive again when you aren’t feeling any pain, any restriction in head movement, and can safely and comfortably perform an emergency stopping procedure.
You won’t be bedbound at any point but you may feel apprehensive about moving around and reaching your arms out – those fresh wounds will let you know they’re there.
You might lose a bit of confidence in your movement as well, as you won’t be able to put much force through your arms.
Your showering and hygiene routine will also need to change. The instructions I had were no showers at all for 48-72 hours after my surgery so the wounds would stay completely dry.
After I was given the go-ahead to start showering, it was very low power, with my back to the showerhead so tapes and wounds could stay as dry as possible.
I used anti-bacterial wipes and a light sponge to cover anything else, and if your tapes get wet you will need to use a hair dryer to dry them before putting your support garment on.
On that note, you will also need to wear a support garment day and night for somewhere between 4 and 8 weeks after your operation.
In my case, I got the all-clear to remove it at 6 weeks, but I felt a bit more comfortable (or safer) with it so only stopped wearing it at 8 weeks.
You will also be sleeping on your back – which, if like me, you’ve spent your whole life sleeping on your stomach, can take some getting 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 got it done based on my experience so far.
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.