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HealthInfo Canterbury

Before & after gynaecomastia surgery

Before surgery

You will be seen in the plastic surgery clinic. Your surgeon will discuss the surgical techniques, the desired outcomes, risks of the surgery and recovery. Please raise any questions or concerns you have.

After that you may be seen at a pre-admission clinic. Bring along any prescribed or over-the-counter medications you are taking. Before surgery you will talk with your anaesthetist, who will review your health and medication details.

Please stop smoking as far ahead of your surgery as possible. This reduces the risk that goes with having an anaesthetic and also improves healing after the operation. If you need help to quit smoking, use the resources on our page How to become smokefree.

When you come in to hospital for your operation:

The plastic surgery ward is Ward 20. You can find more information about Ward 20 on this page.

After surgery

If you have had a general anaesthetic, you will wake up in the recovery room after your operation. You can read about what to expect when you wake up from an anaesthetic.

You may be able to go home that day, or you may need a short stay in hospital – it will depend of the type of surgery you had. You will need someone to drive you home, please arrange this in advance.

At first your breasts will be swollen, sore, and bruised. The swelling is treated with an elastic dressing or surgical bra to provide support. Most of the swelling goes in a few weeks, but it can take three months to see the final shape of your breasts.

You may have a plastic tube to drain excess fluid out of the breast and you may have a drip giving you fluids until you are drinking normally.

To prevent blood clots you will be fitted with compression (TED) stockings, which you will wear until you are active at home. If you are at higher risk of blood clots you also get a daily injection.

At home


See your GP (or go to an after-hours GP) as soon as possible if you have:

If you want telephone advice after you have left hospital:

Wound care

Your stitches dissolve by themselves – see your GP if they are causing irritation. The wounds are covered with adhesive strips in the operating theatre. You can leave these until they fall off. Then replace them with 1 cm to 2 cm-wide paper tape from a pharmacy. The tape keeps the scar line covered, which reduces the risk of lumpy, itchy or wide scars. Continue with the tape for three to six months or until the scars fade from red to white.

It is safe to shower on the third day, but don't soak the wounds in the bath or a swimming pool until they are completely healed over (usually after two weeks).

Pain relief

Take the regular pain relief pills prescribed by the hospital. As you become more comfortable, continue with regular paracetamol (two pills, four times a day) but take less of the other pills. When you are comfortable taking only regular paracetamol, start taking it just when you need it.

An ice pack may also help reduce the swelling and pain.

Follow-up appointment

You will get an appointment at the Plastic Surgery Department to review the operation result.

Activities and work

You can drive once you are comfortable, which can be after one day or one week. Everyone's healing and readiness for work varies. It could be a few days or a few weeks until you are comfortable enough to work. Avoid heavy exercise for around three weeks or as advised. Avoid contact sports for six weeks. Avoid sun exposure by covering up or using sunscreen (at least SPF 30), as this will affect the scar pigmentation.

On the next page: More information about gynaecomastia surgery

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Approved by Canterbury DHB Plastic Surgery Department 26 June 2014.


See also:

Having an anaesthetic

Preparing for your operation

Page reference: 85857

Review key: HIGYA-125080