Looking After Gynaecomastia Surgery Scars
Following on from my previous post about looking after abdominoplasty scars, I wanted to do a second part talking about looking after gynaecomastia surgery scars.
I’ll focus on my procedure and what I have been doing to care for the scars I have after my male chest reduction surgery.
A lot of the basics are similar but there are some nuances and specific considerations for the chest procedure that warranted a separate post and video.
Note: This post contains affiliate links.
In case this is the first time you have come across one of my posts, the short summary of what you need to know is:
- I lost 140 pounds from my heaviest to my lightest.
- I was left with a lot of loose skin.
- In March 2022 I had a combined abdominoplasty and chest reduction procedure to have the skin removed.
- My recovery has been very smooth with no complications.
- At the time of writing, in October 2022, I am well on the way to being fully healed. The scars need a bit longer and the last bit of swelling needs to go but I am almost there now.
I add this same thing to any time I talk about the procedure I had done.
I’m not a qualified medical professional. I can only share my own experience of this procedure and convey the advice that was given to me to the best of my understanding.
You should always trust your own doctor, clinic, or medical care team. Direct specific questions about your circumstances to them.
I am also referring to a couple of skincare products I use to help with the scars. As with anything new to your skin, please do a small patch test with anything you apply to your skin to help ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions.
My Chest Procedure
One thing to bear in mind is that the procedure I had done on my chest was a slightly less common way than other men that go through this.
It is common for the incision to be made straight across the chest to remove tissue. Or at least that is my understanding.
My chest muscles however well defined enough that the surgeon could tuck the scars in under my chest muscles and they could come up under the arms.
At 7 months, there is still some swelling and the scars still need a bit longer to heal but the scars are indeed sitting quite nicely under the chest.
Speak to your own surgeon about scar placement and expectations around your end result.
First 4 Weeks
There wasn’t a lot I could do in terms of direct care for the scars for the first 4 weeks after my surgery. They were covered in brown surgical tape to keep them protected.
The chest wounds were the most painful part of this whole experience. It wasn’t unbearable at any point, but under the arms were very prickly and tender for a little while. And it was much worse than anything my abdomen had going on.
I also had a limited range of motion in my arms, so I couldn’t reach out far and was walking around with T-rex arms and was restricted to wearing button-ups or zip-up tops.
My nipples also had an extra layer of protection stitched on to help reduce friction between them and the support garment I was wearing.
From the second week onwards I was having a weekly lymphatic drainage massage with a therapist who came to my house. That was to help reduce the swelling in both the chest and abdomen, which can play a role in final scar positioning, as far as I’m aware.
After 4 Weeks
After 4 weeks, I was no longer wearing surgical tape and I got the all-clear to start massaging my wounds.
I was advised to allow a couple more weeks for the front of the chest as the wounds appeared more tender. However, I was given the green light to start working on the sides of the chest and under the arms.
And I was glad about that because that is where I had more swelling and it was bunching up quite a bit.
To ensure I didn’t feel any sensation in my nipples, I chose to cover them with a couple of cotton pads. This provided a protective barrier between them and my tight-fitting support garment, easing my concerns.
As I wasn’t wearing tapes anymore, I started using Kelo Cote scar gel to cover my wounds. You apply a thin layer of this gel and let it air dry for 4-5 minutes before you get dressed and go about your day. It is good for 24 hours so I would apply it after my shower each day.
Your surgeon may have their own recommendation on what scar treatment they want you to use. So listen to their advice and guidance.
After 6 Weeks
After 6 weeks, I got the all-clear to massage the front of my chest as well. So it got a bit more attention.
I didn’t need the extra cotton pads anymore since I had become comfortable with my nipples.
Kelo Cote Scar Gel was switched to another one, called Derma E Scar Gel.
I used this for hyperpigmentation after acne breakouts, and I know my skin reacts well to it. It is less sticky, easier to absorb into the skin, and more comfortable for me to use.
Again, please speak to your care team and follow their advice.
The reach in my arms was better so I could wear t-shirts again.
Around 10 Weeks
Around 10 weeks was when the range of motion in my arms was probably 100% back. There was still a slight pulling feeling when I reached overhead, but it wasn’t restricting me.
This meant I could work more deeply into my scars and massage out any knots or sticky areas.
I was kind of doing this with my arm bent before. Being able to extend a straight arm up gave me more room to work than keeping my arms bent.
Since the 10-week mark until now, there hasn’t been much change in how I am treating my scars.
I am still massaging them twice a day. I am still applying Derma E twice a day. And I am still following all the standard basic hygiene I feel I should be.
My chest is less swollen now and has gone down considerably. Most of the lingering swelling is on my abdomen. And the scars everywhere can take more than a year to heal so I am waiting it out.
But overall the process has been very smooth. Looking after gynaecomastia surgery scars has been fairly easy, and I have no complaints.
One Word On My Scar Placement
One thing you will notice is that the scars on my chest are slightly uneven.
I was aware that this might happen before I went for my procedure. There was around 50% more tissue on the left side of my chest compared to the right that needed to be removed.
While the scars are uneven, the contour and shape of my chest are more symmetrical. I wanted that more than worrying about scar symmetry.
I am happy with their placement, with the shape of my chest and with my current results.
But please do speak to your own surgeon or consultant. Get their opinion and advice on what to expect in terms of your own end result. The best source of advice, guidance, and realistic expectations would be the professionals who specialise in this.