Spoiler Alert: Gynecomastia Recovery
Just like at our practice in New York, gynecomastia patients across the U.S. receive reams of paper prior to surgery to let them know how to prepare for a smooth recovery and how to manage challenges the body may have in store. But we are well aware that most patients don’t make it through every word on those pages, nor can we cover every single thing that could happen. That’s why we think you won’t mind this article as a “spoiler alert” to help make small surprises out of what could be real shockers.
Swelling is one of the body’s earliest responses to trauma—whether to an accidental injury or a scheduled surgery. It brings healing cells as it flows to the site to cushion it from further injury. Unfortunately, swelling can be one of the most fickle reactions to gynecomastia surgery. We tell New York patients it should accumulate and peak within 3-5 days—beyond that it’s hard to predict what will happen when. Swelling may be pronounced on one side or the other. It may dissipate more quickly from one side. It may eventually gather other fluids and cells and become a seroma that could need draining. The most important things to keep in mind are that swelling is normal, and that it disguises what your final results will look like.
Therefore, if you change a bandage and see that one side of your chest looks larger than the other, don’t panic! Call us if you are worried, but know that swelling can contribute to a truly odd looking chest for a while.
Strange Looking Skin
Even if you’re prepared for your skin to look swollen, there are other reasons that may have you thinking of reaching out to us in panic. We sometimes get these “I looked better before surgery calls” from New York gynecomastia patients like Michael when he first removed his wrappings. He said the “wrinkles, pale skin, bruising, swelling and iodine marks” made him look “freakish!” His torso did look better with each passing day, Michael told us, and he was much improved within a couple of weeks.
Since chances are good that, like many of our patients in New York, gynecomastia surgery has been a goal for you for quite a long time, you may not have thought much about how you will feel after recovery. Trust us, it does merit some consideration. Just like women who have had huge breasts reduced down to a more appropriate size, or even women with very small breasts whose implants now help their bodies look in better proportion, the adjustment isn’t immediate. It can take some time for you to feel differently about your shape and go about your life with a “celebrate” instead of “disguise” mindset.
Remember, when you have felt that a body part holds you back in life for so long, it can take time for your attitude to change.
The Perfection Expectation
We have always spoken with our patients about their expectations and our ability to deliver the results they’re looking for. In most instances there’s a match, but occasionally we’ll find we need to decline to operate. We’ve run into a few guys who believe male breast reduction will turn them into a “chick magnet.” That’s up to many factors, one of the least of which is the appearance of the chest. We have to try to explain to some patients that if you didn’t have a six-pack before surgery, you won’t wake up from twilight anesthesia with one. And recently, the drive for perfection has become more and more noticeable in our society, to the point where research is underway about the phenomenon. This can truly be a problem for plastic surgeons and their patients.
Ready to find out more? Give us a call at 212-570-6080 today.