Recovering From Abdominoplasty And Gynaecomastia Surgery – 4 Week Recovery
Let’s talk about recovering from abdominoplasty 4 weeks on.
I recorded the above video when I was 3.5-4 weeks post-operation after my combined abdominoplasty and male chest reduction surgery.
And you can see that even with the swelling, there is a dramatic difference in how the support garment fits me after the extra tissue was removed.
You can see in the before photo (on the right), the extra tissue on the chest is prominent and there is an extra paunch on the abdomen. On the left, the chest has a much flatter contour and the stomach is a lot flatter even with the swelling still there.
Surgical Tapes And Wound Healing
The surgical tapes matched my skin tone almost perfectly so their placement never really showed up that clearly in pictures.
But you can see where they were covering my main wounds.
Under the chest, my wounds went pretty high up into my armpits and sat directly under my chest muscles on the front of my torso. So hopefully once fully healed and a bit faded, they will not be quite well hidden.
Although I will probably cover them with a tattoo at some point.
My nipples were grafted on and in the first few weeks, I was pretty freaked out by that idea so I had to try to avoid looking at them too closely.
The absolute hardest part of recovery in the first few weeks was definitely dealing with under the arms.
It is a high-friction area at the best of times. With my stitches going into that region and the support garment pressing into those wounds a bit, it did feel very uncomfortable at times.
It was worse in the first couple of weeks and while it was still an issue at week 4, it was nowhere near as challenging to deal with.
The range of motion in the arms was still not great. The lat muscles felt bruised and reaching overhead felt like it was pulling on the wounds. I was never sure if it was just the tapes being sticky or the actual wounds I was pulling at so I decided to stay extra careful and not challenge myself.
I had 2 main incisions for my abdomen – along the waistline and up the middle of my abdomen. I don’t think I have used the actual correct clinical term for this before but it is called a fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty.
After 4 weeks, the swelling remained significant, especially on my right side, despite more tissue being removed from the left.
The belly button stayed covered and well protected since it was reconstructed. Similar to the nipples, thinking about it made me a bit queasy. I didn’t get a chance to examine it closely (which I’m grateful for) because the tapes kept it covered.
As with the swelling, the bruising around my abdomen was also worse on my right side than on my left. So I suspect they are related, but never quite got to the bottom of why that happened.
Nutrition And Exercise
I was still consistent with my 2.5-3 litres of water a day.
And I was back to consistently hitting 12,000 steps a day on my Fitbit. That was a mixture of indoor and outdoor walking, but increasingly outdoor.]
I wasn’t 100% confident about heading out because the swelling in my abdomen did still fluctuate very quickly. If it happened when I was out, I’d end up hunched over and unable to get myself home.
I couldn’t walk long because the swelling still made me hunch over. That started to ease up and I got on the treadmill at home and was gradually able to build up my daily step count again. About a week and a half after I got back on the treadmill I was able to do 12,000 steps a day.
When I started walking outside, I started with 30 minutes, then 45 minutes, and then an hour.
Also, there was no strenuous or intense exercise of any kind until I got the all-clear, which didn’t happen until after around 8 weeks. I could have started again sooner but I was being extra cautious.
Some of the written guidance I read did say you can start light exercise such as on an exercise bike after 4 weeks. But I wanted to be careful. I also didn’t want to start sweating until the tapes were off.
As I was still wearing tapes and hadn’t seen my surgeon yet, I still couldn’t shower properly. (Spoiler alert: After I saw my surgeon a couple of days after this video I was able to have a proper shower again)
So at this point, I was still using a light shower with antibacterial wipes to keep myself feeling moderately clean.
I was able to stand pretty upright. Still not 100% but getting closer. But for a full range of motion, I want to be able to do a back bend. There was no chance of that happening. The swelling was just not having any of it.
Follow Up Appointments
My 1-week and 2-week follow-up appointments went very smoothly. The nurses checked the wounds and said everything was healing quickly. They changed my tapes and set me on my way. There was no cause for concern.
As I recorded this episode just before my 4-week follow-up with my surgeon, I haven’t included their thoughts and updates in this video. But I can confirm they were also very happy with the progress. There were no causes for concern.
Wrapping Up The 4-Week Recovery Update
Overall, I was very happy with how things had been going at the 4-week mark. The scars were healing and it was getting easier each day.
The main issues were my range of motion with my arms and the swelling in the abdomen. Both were heading in the right direction and at the expected pace though.
So no complaints from me at this stage.