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What kind of recovery should I expect after my Gynecomastia Surgery?
Gynecomastia Surgery Recovery
Gynecomastia can be performed as an outpatient procedure. After recovering in the recovery room for an hour or two, you may be able to go home in the company of a friend or family member. We also have a private duty nurse available to care for you in the comfort and privacy of your own home if you so choose. For those who have large volume liposuction, they are expected to stay overnight for further monitoring.
Day of Surgery– When you wake up from your procedure, you will be in the recovery room and will be wearing a compression garment. You should plan to wear the compression garment for four to six weeks following surgery. This functions to control swelling, conform the underlying tissue and aid in skin contraction.
Care Giver– When patients leave the surgery facility to go home, they are usually groggy for about 12 hours or overnight. That is why it is very important to have an adult who can assist you with getting around and taking your medications for at least the first 24 hours.
Drains– A small, thin drain tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect. This will be removed at your first post-operative visit on day 5 or so.
Nausea– Most people are nauseated during the first 24-48 hours. To reduce this, we suggest that you take your nausea pill one hour before taking your pain pills or antibiotics.
Sleeping– During the first week after your breast reduction surgery, attempt to sleep on your back to avoid discomfort.
Painkillers– You’re likely to feel sore for a few days, but you should be up and around in 24 hours. Most of your discomfort can be controlled by the prescribed painkillers.
Showering– Remove your dressing, sponges and gauze pads on the third post-operative day. You may now take a shower. After showering, simply pat your incisions dry and replace your compression garment.
First Post-op Visit– Dr. Agha prefers to see you on day 5 for your first post-operative visit.
You may also experience a burning sensation in your nipples for about two weeks, but this will subside as bruising fades.
It is quite common for the two breasts to heal differently. One may swell more, one may feel more uncomfortable, or the shapes may differ initially. After complete healing, they should look remarkably similar and natural.
Swelling in your breasts may take three to five weeks to subside.
Driving– You may drive when driving does not cause pain. This usually occurs in 7-10 days if you have a car with power steering. It is not safe to drive a car within twenty-four hours of taking pain medication, as your reflexes and alertness may be altered.
Work– You should be able to return to work within a few days, depending on the level of activity required.
Walking– It is still important to start walking as soon as possible, usually the evening of surgery. This is the best way to reduce the chance of getting a blood clot in the legs.
Light Exercise– Dr. Agha recommends light exercise to reduce swelling and prevent clotting. Light exercise includes walking, stretching, moving arms and legs while sitting. After the first week or two, cardiovascular activities such as riding a stationary bicycle or brisk walking can be initiated. You may gradually advance your exercises as tolerated.
Activities– During the first week after surgery, you want to avoid activities that raise your blood pressure. This could cause bleeding at the operative site, which could result in a hematoma (collection of blood). Walking is an excellent form of exercise, especially during the first week. During second week, cardiovascular activities, such as riding a stationary bicycle or brisk walking, can be initiated. Running at this point may be premature. Avoid exercises which directly stress the area of your surgery for a full four weeks. Avoid heavy lift, contact sports and jugging for up to 6 weeks. By the time you are six weeks post-operatively, you will be nearing your pre-operative level. The reason to avoid stressing the surgical area has to do with healing and scarring. During the early phase of healing, one must avoid irritation around the operative site, as this can worsen swelling and fluid accumulation. This could cause development of a seroma (fluid collection) or cause problems with the wound (dehiscence or opening of the suture line, or widening of the scar).
Healing– You will begin to feel better after about a week or two and should be back at work within a few days following your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing.
Scarring– Every person’s body is different, and many factors contribute to scar healing. Your scars will be firm and pink for about six weeks. Non-smokers and those who follow the Enhanced Recovery Nutritional Supplements have a better chance of having rapid healing and thinner scar. Expect to wait at least nine months before your scars lighten in color and become as flat as the rest of your skin. During this time, you must protect them from the sun. Even through a bathing suit, a good deal of sunlight can reach the skin and cause damage. Wear a sunscreen with a skin-protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 at all times when in the sunshine.
Sensation– Regeneration of the sensory nerves is accompanied by tingling, burning, or shooting pains. As the nerves regenerate, the nipples commonly become hypersensitive. This will subside with time. You may find that gentle massaging helps. If however, this is accompanied by swelling or redness, infection, or bleeding, then you will need to see Dr. Agha at the office.
Follow-ups– Regular checkups protect against complications.
Emergencies– Some discomfort is expected following your surgery; however, be sure to tell us if:
- There is an increase in swelling, pain, redness, drainage or bleeding in the surgical area.
- You develop fever, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, or a general ill feeling.
- If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
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