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What Does Recovery Look Like After FTM Transgender Surgery?

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FTM transgender top surgery is a life-changing procedure that requires careful planning to ensure you get the most satisfying, optimal results. The procedure is designed to remove breast tissue and modify other elements to create a more masculine form and physique.

Man relaxing on couch with outstretched arms.

What to Expect During FTM Top Surgery Recovery

Following FTM top surgery, a snug surgical dressing will be worn for two to three days. This will then be replaced with a compression garment to be worn as much as possible for several weeks. 

Drainage tubes will be in for a week and a half to two weeks. If the double incision-free nipple graft mastectomy is performed, there will also be a special dressing protecting the nipple-areolar complexes for around the same period of time. However, the nipple-areolar grafts will need a total protection time of at least four weeks.

Postoperative discomfort is typically mild to moderate and varies among patients. Often, pain medication is only taken for a few days. For relatively mild discomfort, Tylenol® can be used. Blood thinners like aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil, or Motrin should not be taken until at least two weeks after surgery.

Bruising is generally minimal, while swelling can be mild to moderate. Usually, all patients are up and walking around the day of surgery—and eating.

How Long Is My FTM Top Surgery Recovery?

Recovery time after FTM top surgery is not a very specific quantity as it depends on what one is referring to. 

Is it referring to the length of restrictions of some or all activities, return to work (and what kind of work), return to school, etc.? 

Furthermore, plastic surgeons often have their own specific protocols, which can affect this answer. Finally, the specific procedure, such as the double incision-free nipple graft technique versus the keyhole approach, will influence this answer. 

Most patients can return to school by one week or even sooner if it is online. The same goes for relatively sedentary jobs. Physically demanding jobs may require one to two months before one can return.

Mild, non-strenuous activities like casual walking can be resumed almost immediately. Dr. Turkeltaub recommends waiting one month for more vigorous, aerobic activities. However, especially with the double incision approach, he recommends waiting at least eight weeks before doing chest and upper trunk activities (such as pecs and lats).

A scar-mitigating agent (scar gel) is started at around three to four weeks and continued for around six to nine months. Full healing and scar maturation will take up to a year—which is also true of any surgical procedure or injury. Often, most of this process is completed in around six to nine months.

It is important that you carefully follow your postoperative instructions as this will help you get better results with a lower risk for complications and untoward outcomes. 

Interested in Learning More?

If you are interested in learning more about FTM top surgery and how you can prepare, learn more about the procedure here

Let us help you achieve the life-changing transformation you deserve with a smooth and successful recovery. Contact us today at 480-451-3000 or fill our online form to schedule a consultation and learn more.