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Male Breast Reduction Recovery

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Reviewed by Walter Erhardt, MD

Your male breast reduction surgery recovery process will depend on the extent of your surgery. Liposuction-only breast reduction may involve a shorter recovery period than gynecomastia surgery plus liposuction.

You will likely need someone to drive you home after surgery and possibly help out at home for a day or two following the procedure. There will be some discomfort for a few days after your surgery. The pain can be managed with a prescription from your doctor. He or she will tell you which over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications are considered safe if you decide to go that route. Some OTC medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin can increase your risk of bleeding and should not be taken after male breast reduction surgery. Smoking can also compromise your recovery and should be avoided.

You will probably need to wear an elastic pressure garment after your surgery to help reduce any swelling. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how often to wear this garment. Be patient. It may be three months or more before the swelling abates and the final results become apparent.

You’ll be encouraged to begin walking around on the day of surgery. Early ambulation (moving about) decreases your risk of developing a blood clot following your surgery. Your surgeon will give you specific instruction on when you can return to work. You will be told to stay away from any sport or job activity that could result in any trauma to the chest area for at least four weeks. Your surgeon may advise you to avoid sexual activity for a week or two and heavy exercise for about three weeks. Make sure you are clear on what you can and can’t do before you leave the hospital or surgical center.

Stitches are removed one to two weeks after the procedure. It’s important to avoid exposing surgical scars to the sun for at least six months. Sunlight can permanently affect the skin’s pigmentation, causing the scar to darken. If sun exposure is unavoidable, use a strong sunscreen. Ask your surgeon if he or she recommends any topical products to minimize scarring.

Be sure to discuss the details of your male breast reduction recovery with your surgeon during your consultation. He or she will be able to fill you in on the specifics and let you know how much time you will need to take off work. Your surgeon will also tell you about potential male breast reduction risks, including infection, that may occur during your recovery. Start your search for the right surgeon now.