In most cases, patients who have undergone gynecomastia surgery can return to normal activities within four to six weeks. After surgery, it is normal to experience pain, tightness, and tenderness in the area of treatment, which should fade within the first week.
It helps knowing what to expect after your surgery so that you can plan ahead. Since you will still be under some of the effects of anesthesia, arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery. It’s also a good idea to have someone around to assist you for the first day or two while your physical activity is limited. Avoid taking a shower for the first 24 hours after your surgery.
To get a better idea of how the typical gynecomastia surgery patient recovers, here is a recovery timeline so that you know what to expect in the days and weeks ahead.
Gynecomastia recovery milestones:
|Activity||Days after gynecomastia surgery|
|First shower||24 hours after surgery|
|On pain medication||For 3 days|
|Decreased pain and swelling||Within 1 week|
|Pain-free daily routine||1-1.5 weeks|
|Sleep on back||For 2 weeks|
|Resume exercise (excluding chest)||2 weeks after surgery|
|Wear compression garments||3-4 weeks|
|Resume chest exercises||2 weeks min.; usually 4 weeks|
|Full recovery period||4-6 weeks|
First Three Days
Expect some pain, tenderness, and tightness in your chest. If it gets to be too much, pain and discomfort can be managed by over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribed pain medication. Carefully follow all instructions regarding pain relievers and the use of antibiotics.
You may experience some degree of numbness, depending upon what type of anesthetic was used during your surgery. This numbness could last for several days.
You will probably notice some initial results immediately after your gynecomastia surgery. Be aware that it will take quite a while for all of your swelling to go down, so don’t get locked into how you appear right now. Give it some time.
You will likely be advised to wear some type of compression garment to assist in your recovery and minimize swelling and discomfort. Get plenty of rest, but be sure to walk around some to promote blood circulation and prevent blood clots. Your plastic surgeon may also recommend that you sleep on your back in an elevated position.
One Week After Surgery
The pain and swelling that you have been experiencing should be markedly diminished by now, and you should be able to return to work and engage in light physical activity. Avoid vigorous physical activity for now, particularly anything involving your chest muscles.
If you received stitches, you may need to see your plastic surgeon so that they can be removed. If a drain was used in your surgery, it may also be removed.
Keep wearing your compression garments throughout the day, and avoid sleeping on your stomach or side.
Two Weeks After Surgery
Your strength is returning by the day, and you can perform many routine activities without experiencing pain. Continue to avoid vigorous physical exercise for now.
Feel free to start sleeping on your sides or stomach if you can do so without discomfort or pain. Keep wearing your compression garments during the day.
Three Weeks After Surgery
You should be cleared for normal exercise and activities that don’t risk trauma to your chest. Your compression garments should be a thing of the past, and you can begin taking baths again.
Most of your swelling and bruising will be cleared, allowing you to see the final results of your procedure.
Six Weeks After Surgery
If everything went as expected, you should be fully recovered from gynecomastia surgery by this time. You can fully engage in all types of exercise, including vigorous activity involving your chest. Enjoy sleeping in any position. While you still may notice some minor swelling near the site of surgery, it should fully resolve itself in only a few more weeks.