Every surgery causes bruising and swelling, and FTM top surgery is not an exception. This swelling and bruising will be noticeable for at least a few weeks. Even after it fades, healing will still be going on below the surface.
The final appearance of your new chest will likely not be reached until the three-month mark. Still, these tips can help you feel better faster:
- Eliminate any medications and supplements known to increase bleeding or bruising
At least two weeks before your surgery, eliminate any blood-thinning medications or supplements, if possible. These include Advil, Midol, ASA, ginseng, and vitamin E. Give your surgeon a complete list of all drugs you take (including prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal) in order to prevent negative effects after surgery.
- Reduce salt intake
Extra sodium can lead to swelling even when you’re not recovering from major surgery. When you are recovering, sodium keeps the swelling going longer.
- Get light exercise
Light exercise is good for circulation, and circulation is good for reducing swelling. Aim for 30 minutes a day of walking, once you’re ready.
- Avoid strenuous exercise
Although you should get moving within the first few weeks, you should still avoid sports, heavy lifting, sprinting, and other highly physical activities. Even after your sutures have been removed, your tissue is still healing and can be damaged if you push it too hard.
- Quit smoking
Smoking reduces blood flow to the skin, making it take a lot longer for your bruises to heal. It can even lead to permanent discoloration of the skin or visible scars.
- Limit or eliminate alcohol
Alcohol slows healing in two ways. First, it dries out the body, making it harder for your lymphatic system to clean out inflamed areas. Second, it thins the blood, making it harder for your tissues to control bruising.
Getting rid of it entirely during recovery is best, but if you don’t want to, stick to only one drink a night, and chase it with a glass full of water.
- Take supplements recommended by your surgeon
Many natural and artificial supplements can help you heal faster, but may also negatively interact with your other medications. Consult with your surgeon to find the best combination of products for you.
- Use ice packs
Ice packs make body tissues hold less fluid, which is good for both swelling and bruising. Avoid hot pads and hot tubs: they feel great, but can make swelling worse.