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5 Common Gynecomastia Surgery Complications

March 30, 2023

One of the most important steps in undergoing surgery is fully understanding the risks and rewards. The best way to make a fully informed decision is by consulting a board-certified plastic surgeon who can give you the most up-to-date information and help you determine if your chosen procedure is the best option. Gynecomastia surgery is no exception – despite the confidence-boosting results, it’s still important to understand what you can expect after surgery. Here are some of the most common complications to know about if you’re considering gynecomastia surgery as outlined by  gynecomastia expert, Dr. Joseph Cruise.

Bruising and Bleeding

Bruising and bleeding are the most common side effect of surgeries like male breast reduction. Some bruising and bleeding are to be expected and shouldn’t be cause for concern. But if you have excessive bleeding that isn’t lettting up, it’s important to contact your doctor’s office. Additionally, the best way to minimize bleeding and bruising is by avoiding medications that thin the blood, like fish oil, Vitamin E, ibuprofen or aspirin. 

Fluid Buildup

With surgeries like gynecomastia, where tissue is removed, it is normal for fluid to collect in the remaining empty space. This is a normal part of the healing process, but it can be a concern if too much of it builds up. The best way to prevent fluid buildup is to wear the compression vest and take care of the drains according to instructions – these are specifically placed to collect fluid to drain it away from the site. Drains are typically removed within a few days of surgery.


Similarly to bleeding and bruising, swelling is to be expected. Swelling can negatively impact the results if it becomes too extensive, so it’s essential to take steps to minimize it. The best ways to minimize swelling after gynecomastia surgery include avoiding elevating your heart rate, staying upright, using cold packs, and wearing the compression vest as much as possible. If you notice the swelling is worsening or is accompanied by significant amounts of pain, make sure to contact your doctor  immediately.


As your skin heals, it may become itchy and uncomfortable. Although this is a sign of your body healing, it can be frustrating. This is normal, and it’s important to avoid scratching or aggravating the area. Dr. Cruise recommends using hydrocortisone cream to alleviate any itchiness.


Scarring is an inevitable product of any surgery. Scars are caused by the body’s reaction to incisions in the skin. It begins to generate new collagen to repair the incision, and the rapid nature of this process can mean the skin doesn’t always heal flawlessly. One way that you can ensure scars don’t become visible is by using scar products during your recovery as well as keeping your incisions protected from sunlight. It is also important to keep tension off the incision site. With gynecomastia, this means limiting the movement of your arms and keeping activities such as lifting, carrying heavy items, and working out to a minimum until you are cleared for physical activity. Typically, scars fade into their final appearance within one year.


It’s possible to have some numbness around the nipple after gynecomastia surgery. This typically happens because of minor damage to the nerves in the area during surgery. In most cases, numbness is temporary and feeling returns within a few months. Because nerves take time to heal, it’s important to remain patient and trust the process.

Schedule a Consultation

It’s important to fully understand what to expect after your procedure. Dr. Cruise is a foremost gynecomastia expert and can answer your questions during a private consultation. He is based in Newport Beach, California and serves the surrounding areas of Los Angeles County and Orange County. Dr. Cruise can help patients regardless of where they reside, as long as they can travel to his location for surgery. To schedule an appointment, contact us by calling our office or filling out our online form.

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RealSelf Patient Reviews of Joseph Thomas Cruise, MD