Gynecomastia FAQ

Tips for the first 24 hours? 

Take your pain and nausea medications at regular intervals and begin advancing to a regular diet as tolerated. If you feel nauseated, drink clear fluids and eat simple, easily digested foods like saltine crackers, applesauce or plain, steamed rice. Keep your garment on 24 hours a day.  Make sure garment stays dry and correctly positioned.  Replace any saturated gauze. No strenuous activity is allowed. 

What type of dressing is used after surgery? 

Dr. Holzman will place you in a compressive garment that contains foam pieces after your surgery. This helps avoid the use of tape. The compression garment holds the foam in position, which provides compression to the surgical site to stop oozing and prevent bruising. 

How long is the dressing worn? 

After that, the garment should to be worn approximately 18 hours a day for the next 4 weeks. 

How should I sleep after surgery? 

Sleep on your back, slightly elevated for the first week after surgery.   

What type of physical activity should I avoid after surgery? 

Refrain from aerobic exercise, housework, driving and lifting more than 10 pounds until you see Dr. Holzman for your first postoperative visit.  You may not drive for 2 weeks postoperatively or longer if you are still requiring narcotic pain medication or muscle relaxants. 

When can I bathe after surgery? 

You may take a sitz- bath immediately after surgery. Run about 3 inches of tepid water into your bathtub, and carefully sit in the tub.  You should take care to keep your dressings and incisions dry during this bath, and you should be very careful getting in and out of the tub.   

Be careful getting in and out of the tub.  If you slip and put pressure on your upper body, you may cause bleeding in your surgical site. 

An alternative? 

If you do not feel safe getting into the tub, a sponge bath may be preferable. 

When can I shower after surgery? 

You may take a full shower after your first post-operative visit.  Carefully remove your bra before showering, and pat the incision areas dry after your shower before replacing the bra.  You may place a 4×4 gauze pad (or a panty liner) in the bra if you notice any drainage from the incision site to keep the bra clean and dry.  

*see below for showering with drain insert* 

When can I wash my hair after surgery? 

Drain Inserts: 

What is the purpose of the drain insert? 

The drain prevents blood and fluid from accumulating in the surgical site. 

Do I need to track my drainage? 

Yes, please make sure to document your drainage amount on the drain care sheet in your packet.  

Friendly Reminderplease make sure to bring your drain record to all of your appointments with Dr. Holzman. 

Can I shower with my drain insert? 

If you are going to take a shower with the drain, please do not let the drain dangle by the stitch that keeps them in position.  It will be uncomfortable and they may pull out.  Use a shoestring placed through the loop on the drain and drape it around your neck. 

Healing Process: 

What can I do for the swelling?   

You may apply ice to the chest if you desire for the first few days; however, many patients do not like the cold feeling. 

How long should I expect my breasts to be swollen and bruised? 

Moderate swelling and bruising is completely normal and will resolve over the next 4-12 weeks.  Be patient as your new and improved breasts settle in place. 

I’ve noticed one breast is healing faster than the other, is this normal? 

It is common for the two breasts to heal differently.  One may have more swelling, one may seem more uncomfortable, and the shapes usually differ initially.  With complete healing, they will look more similar and natural. 

Why does the skin over my chest look shiny? 

This is a result of the swelling that occurs after surgery.  The swelling will subside in a few weeks and your skin will look more normal. 

Why are my nibbles overly sensitive? 

If you had incisions around the areola, the nipples commonly become hypersensitive after surgery.  This too will subside with time and is treated by gentle nipple massage for 1-2 minutes several times daily. 

My incision lines itch, what can I do for relief? 

Please take Benadryl if this occurs so that you do not accidentally scratch your surgical site. 

What can I do to help reduce scarring after surgery? 

All new scars appear red, pink or purplish.  Scars on the chest may take a year or longer to fade.  Avoid sun exposure to these areas, and ask Dr. Holzman about medical grade scar reduction treatments that are available.  As always, apply sunscreen to areas that will receive sun exposure.  

Post-Op Visits:

What should I bring to my post-op visit? 

  • Drain record sheet 

What should I expect during my first post-op visit? 

At the first post-operative visit, which is usually on the fourth or fifth day after surgery, Dr. Holzman will remove the dressing to check the incisions. He will remove the foam pieces from the garment at this time.  Additional instructions will be provided during this visit that will be tailored to your individual needs.   

When will my sutured be removed? 

Dr. Holzman uses absorbable sutures that do not require removal; however, steri-strips will be placed over the wound and should be left intact. They are then usually removed after 10 days.  There is no reason to disturb the dressings unless they become saturated, and then the soiled gauze may be replaced.