Recovering From Abdominoplasty And Gynaecomastia Surgery – 5 Week Recovery
Time for my recovery from abdominoplasty 5-week update.
Week 4 To Week 5
There were quite a few positive changes in the 5th week of my recovery. It had been a good week and everything was going in the right direction.
My impatience was still getting the better of me though and I wanted my recovery to be instant.
Week 5 Key Points
There were a couple of big things to note this week.
I got back to wearing t-shirts again. The range of motions in my arms wasn’t 100% at this stage but it was enough that I could get t-shirts off and on comfortably so I wasn’t 100% reliant on zip-up or button-up tops.
I also had a follow-up appointment with my surgeon and he was happy with everything. He removed the tapes that were covering my wounds and said I don’t need them anymore. This meant I could shower again properly and I cannot put into words how good that felt.
My posture also improved enough that I could lie flat without needing something to prop my shoulders or my legs up. I always sleep with 2 pillows anyway, but I didn’t need anything to get me propped up any higher than that.
I was still wearing my support garment at the 5-week mark. The swelling around the chest was improving a lot at this stage but the abdomen was still pretty… dramatic.
Having the support garment in place just helped that swelling feel a lot more manageable and genuinely felt more comfortable too.
I was still wearing the garment all night and most of the day. But to let my skin and my wounds breathe a bit more, I was taking it off for a couple of hours a day and that was also when I would do massage work on my swelling and on the wounds.
There are 2 rows of hooks. The outer row that gives a looser fit was too loose by this stage to wear during the day so I went for the tighter fit. But I went for the looser fit at night, for the sake of comfort.
I was told that I could stop wearing it entirely after 6 weeks but decided to give it a couple of extra weeks after that.
This was the first time my wounds weren’t covered in tape so I could expect them properly. Plus exposure to actual fresh air also meant that the skin could breathe a bit.
The scars on my chest were uneven. But given about 50% more tissue was removed from one side than the other, it was never going to be symmetrical and the healing process was going to be slightly different too.
The left side, where more tissue was removed, had a lot more swelling and bunching around the wounds than on the right side, which was relatively smooth.
The nipples still freaked me out because just the idea of them being cut out and then grafted into place freaked me out and they still didn’t have their normal blood supply restored at this point so were slightly discoloured. That didn’t help my feelings about them.
Massage And Self Care
I was having weekly lymphatic drainage massages, which was definitely helping my recovery and I found it made an immediate difference in the swelling.
During my follow-up with the surgeon, he also advised I can start doing some general massage on the wounds myself.
This is important for managing how the scars form and settle as recovery goes on.
Abdominoplasty Wound Healing
The abdomen wounds – down the middle and along the waste – never really hurt. And given the extent of the work down, I was pleasantly surprised by how thin they were and how well they had healed after just 5 weeks.
I imagined I’d have a thicker red scar but that doesn’t seem to have happened at all.
I don’t plan on a huge number of people getting up close and personal with my scars to be fair, but for me at least it feels nice that they’re quite thin.
In terms of swelling, the abdomen as a whole was quite bad still. The right side was still more prominent than the left but both were starting to go down.
I did ask my surgeon about it as I didn’t understand why the right side was worse. There was some more tissue taken out from the right side, so it was likely just a natural consequence of a slightly different healing time for each side.
He also checked to confirm there wasn’t a fluid build-up or anything like that.
Getting Back To Exercise
As my tapes were off, I had the go-ahead to start some light exercise again. No lifting, no impact, and nothing strenuous.
All I was allowed was some light cardio on the spin bike. I hadn’t started it at this stage – that happened around the 6-week mark.
As well as the lymphatic drainage massage and self-massage, I was also using a silicon gel to keep my wounds protected and to help with scar healing.
The one I was recommended was called Kelo-Cote. Just a word of warning though – there are a lot of fakes of this out there, including on Amazon, which is a lot cheaper, so make sure you stick to the official retailers.
You apply a thin layer of your scars and then let it dry for 4-5 minutes before getting dressed. So I was putting this on after a shower and then when I changed for bed in the evening.
Posture-wise for all intents and purposes, I was upright although as far as I’m concerned it wasn’t quite 100%. Probably around 98%. I could stand almost perfectly straight. But I still couldn’t get into a proper backbend, so there was some room to go.
That is the one thing I was missing and my back was missing that extra bit of movement.
Definition And Swelling
I always knew I had something vaguely resembling abdominal muscles under my skin. By weeks 4-5, the swelling had started to go down enough that I could vaguely see an outline of them.
And that is probably the first time in my life that happened.
There wasn’t much pain or discomfort anymore. The itching seemed to have stopped, apart from the first couple of days after the tapes were off.
But I think that is just down to the skin finally getting regular air exposure again.
The prickly feeling under the arms also went.
So I guess the most uncomfortable parts of the recovery were well behind me now.
One important thing my surgeon mentioned was my fitness level. Because of my fitness, my body fat percentage, how active I was, and my core strength going into this kind of thing, it reduced the risk of complications and also aided my recovery.
Recovering From Abdominoplasty 5 Week Wrap Up
At this stage, everything was going well and there were no concerns. My surgeon said he won’t need to see me again for another little while so my next follow-up was booked for 4 months later, in August 2022.
He did of course say that if there is anything I want or need to see him about before then, to just call the clinic and they will make time for me.
So things were definitely going the right way but I also had a nice little safety net in case I needed help with anything.
So all in all, I was very happy at this stage.