Medically reviewed by Dr. John Rosdeutscher – Written by Sine Thieme
Male breast reductions can be performed using liposuction, liposuction with Radio Frequency Assisted Lipolysis (RFAL) aka skin tightening, or surgical excision of the excess glandular tissue in the chest. The first two are minimally-invasive whereas the latter requires surgery.
Depending on which procedure you have selected in consultation with your plastic surgeon, your recovery will be slightly different. Overall, recovering from a male breast reduction takes anywhere from 1-5 days.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Male Breast Reduction?
Liposuction and skin tightening are minimally-invasive. Glandular excision is a surgical procedure. Depending on which of these procedures is used for your male breast reduction, the recovery will play out accordingly.
Recovering From a Minimally-Invasive Procedure
Male breast reductions that rely on fat removal using liposuction and/or skin tightening have a fast recovery for the following reasons:
- The procedure is done under local anesthesia, which is easier to recover from than general anesthesia. You will be fully awake during this treatment. Any potential discomfort can also be treated with additional IV Sedation, particularly if you have several or larger areas you want treated. However, many patients undergo a male breast reduction without IV sedation.
- The procedure does not require any stitches or sutures. A thin wand is inserted beneath the skin through very small incisions that heal easily by themselves and won’t leave any noticeable scars. You will not need any time for your wounds to heal like you would with surgery.
Most patients are able to return to work or their regular activities within 1-2 days as tolerated. You will typically have to refrain from strenuous exercise for 1-2 weeks, but most activities will not be impacted. As an added bonus, any scarring caused by the small incisions typically disappears within a few weeks, leaving you without any outward signs of having had the procedure.
Recovering From Gland Excision Surgery
If you had to have surgical excision of glandular tissue performed, your recovery will take slightly longer to allow for wound healing. This can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks. However, the incisions for this type of procedure are typically small and heal quickly. Most patients are not impacted beyond 5 days after their procedure.
Is It Painful to Recover from a Male Breast Reduction?
Like with any minimally-invasive procedure, you may expect some mild discomfort over the first two days post-op. You may experience some bruising and swelling, which is perfectly normal during the first week. If you experience a small amount of drainage from the incision sites, it typically resolves after 2-3 days. You may also have to refrain from baths for a few days, but make sure you ask your plastic surgeon for specific recovery instructions.
Overall, you should not experience much pain during your male breast reduction recovery.
Your Male Breast Reduction Recovery Step by Step
Directly after the procedure
Your post-op instructions will likely include for you to arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home after the procedure while you are still under the influence of sedation.
Your surgeon may also give you a compression garment to wear for some time after the procedure. Longer is typically better to reduce swelling and help the skin to shrink to the desired shape. 6 weeks post-op is common.
First 24 Hours
Your post-op instructions will include tips for showering and icing. It is important to follow all instructions closely and make sure you attend your follow-up appointment.
Showers are typically permitted after the first day, but not baths. Saunas, hot tubs, and other excessive heat should be avoided, as well as any kind of strenuous activity or heavy lifting.
First 2 Weeks
Most patients return to their day-to-day activities including light exercise within 1-2 days of their procedure. You are encouraged to move around to avoid any blood clots as soon as you get home. Many patients feel well enough to return to work after one or two days. I
After 2 weeks any restrictions on strenuous exercise or heavy lifting are typically gone. But again, it’s important to follow the specific post-op instructions your surgeon has given you.
After 6 Weeks
After 6 weeks, your recovery is fully complete and there are no more restrictions on any kind of activity. You are likely done wearing your compression garment by now and should have resumed all levels of exercise.
However, your chest may still continue to improve. RFAL skin tightening continues to deliver results even after you’ve had it done. The tissues will continue to contract and tighten which will improve your results for up to 12 months!
Is a Male Breast Reduction Permanent?
A male breast reduction is designed to be permanent, especially if you have excess tissue and skin surgically removed. If your procedure is done by liposuction, the fat cells are also permanently removed, but it is not a guarantee against new fat cells accumulating if you don’t maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Maintaining Your Results
Many patients find that it is easier to stay motivated to maintain their great new looks than trying to use diet and exercise to achieve a trimmer body. A male breast reduction is a great way to achieve results that affect your looks and confidence for the rest of your life.
To prevent any new fat cells from accumulating, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise and good eating habits are important to maintain your results. You might establish a workout routine that fits into your daily schedule, such as walks, light weights, or an activity like pickleball. You don’t need to put yourself on a diet, but eating healthy foods such as vegetables and foods rich in fiber while also limiting your sugar intake will go a long way.
We hope that we’ve given you a better understanding about recovering from a male breast reduction. Please contact us if you have any other questions.