The aim of the surgery is an improved contour of the chest. This is accomplished with the help of minimal incisions such that patients do not have an operated look. Most of the patients undergoing correction have liposuction for removal of the fat surrounding the gland and in the lower part of the axilla (armpits). The incision is placed in the areola (pigmented skin around the nipple) for removal of the gland. The areolar incision usually settles very well and has a high patient satisfaction. We sometimes place small tubes (drains) to remove any fluids from the operated site. This is usually removed on the next day. Many of our patients do not have a drain.
Most of the cases of gynecomastia correction are performed under general anesthesia. We reserve treatment under local anesthesia for cases with minimal gynecomastia in slim individuals.
Patients are retained overnight after the procedure. Dressings are removed and operated area is inspected on the day after the surgery. Patients are instructed to wear pressure garment continuously for a month following the surgery. They are usually discharged home after an overnight stay. Due to liposuction and accompanying infiltration of the operated sites with local anesthetic most patients are comfortable on oral pain medications.
At home, patients can move about and carry light activities. We review our patients back in the clinic 2 to 3 days after the procedure. The dressings are removed and skin adhesive tapes are used to secure the suture line. Patients can shower with the skin adhesive tapes.
We review the patients after one week for removal of sutures after one week. Skin adhesive tapes are reapplied for 2 more weeks. Most patients usually return to work within a week. Heavy exertion such as weight lifting is restricted until one month following the procedure.
A normal recovery can involve the following,
- Swelling. Postoperative swelling accompanies any surgical procedure. The swelling gradually resolves over the next few weeks. Most of the swelling is gone by one month. However, some residual swelling occurs till three to four months. In some individuals, it can last longer.
- Seroma is not unusual following liposuction. In most cases, it subsides without any intervention. Uncommonly we may aspirate the collection under image guidance.
- Puffiness of the areola. This can be due to the swelling associated with the scar tissue under the areola. It may sometimes take a few months to soften. Puffiness of the areola can also be due to shortening of the areolar scar. The scar initially shortens over the first few months before it lengthens to its original dimensions. We reassure our patients to wait it out. Gentle massage along the scar helps in softening of the scar.
- Deflated appearance. In longstanding gynecomastia, the skin over the chest becomes lax and saggy after removal of the underlying fat and gland. This similar to the abdominal skin being lax after pregnancy. The skin adapts to the new shape of the chest over the next few months. An exception to this would be in individuals with significant obesity. However, we ask our patients to wait for at least 6 to 8 months before deciding on secondary procedures to address the laxity of the skin.
In most patients, gynecomastia correction is associated with a boost in self-confidence.
Learn more about gynecomastia here.