University of Virginia Plastic Surgery
1300 Jefferson Park Avenue 4th Floor
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Phone: (434) 924-1234
Location Hours: Monday–Friday | 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

How Do I Prepare for FTM Top Surgery? What To Expect

Man standing in front of windows with jacket over his shoulder. (Model)

As you prepare for female-to-male (FTM) top surgery, you likely have many questions and concerns running through your mind. It’s normal to feel a bit anxious and excited as you take this big step toward your new and hopeful future. You want to make sure that the surgical team you are partnering with for this life-changing procedure is experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate. Our team will take the time to answer your questions and provide expert care during your FTM top surgery.

How Does FTM Top Surgery Work?

Your plastic surgeon will make an incision to remove breast tissue, creating a flatter, more masculine-looking chest. They may also reduce the size of the areola and change the positioning for a masculine appearance. If you have small breasts, your plastic surgeon may use liposuction to remove breast tissue and a periareolar incision.

Which method is used to remove breast tissue depends on factors such as the size of the breasts, amount of skin, and position of the areola. Your plastic surgeon will discuss your options and help you pick the procedure that will give you optimal results with minimal scarring.

How Do I Prepare for FTM Top Surgery?

Here are some steps you can take to prepare for your transmasculine top surgery provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons:

  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
  • Provide a letter of recommendation from your therapist
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements, as they can increase bleeding

You should also coordinate with a family member or friend to stay with you for the first few days after surgery.

How Should I Prepare a Recovery Space for FTM Top Surgery?

Prepare your recovery space ahead of time so you have everything you need within easy reach. Having items such as ice packs, electronic devices, incision care items, gauze, hand sanitizer, and soft pillows handy can make your recovery easier. If your plastic surgeon prescribes pain medication, make sure to fill the prescription before you leave for your procedure. Many people prefer to spend their first few days in a recliner so they can keep their upper body slightly elevated and more easily get up several times throughout the day to move around.

You should also stock up on cleansing products such as dry shampoo, body wipes, and a long-handled bath sponge. These items will make showering and cleaning easier after the procedure. In addition to practical things, some scented plugins, soft music, and salt lamps can help create a restful atmosphere while you recover.

You can learn more about preparing for gender affirmation surgery in our related blog post.

What Should I Pack for My Surgery?

Top masculinization surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, so you typically won’t need to take many items with you on the day of surgery. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing that will be easy to pull on after surgery. A button-down or zip-up top works nicely. Remember to bring your ID and any paperwork your surgeon will need.

FTM Top Surgery Recovery Process

After your procedure, you will need to wear a compression wrap to stabilize the chest area, control swelling, and promote healing. You also may have drains in place that help to prevent fluid buildup; they’re usually removed within a week of your surgery.

Your plastic surgeon will advise you to refrain from sleeping on your stomach or side and to keep your torso elevated. You should avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for around 3 or 4 weeks. Do not lift your arms greater than 90 degrees away from your body or over your head. Additionally, you should not push, pull, or lift anything greater than 10 pounds for the first 2 weeks. These restrictions will protect your incisions and reduce the risk of your scars stretching and getting larger.

How Can I Improve the Appearance of Scars After the Procedure?

The amount of scarring you have after top surgery will partially depend on the surgical technique used. Those who had periareolar incisions and liposuction may have scars that are very well concealed. Other techniques, such as those for larger breasts, may create more pronounced scarring.

You can begin scar therapy around the 8-week mark when your incisions are completely healed. Simple techniques such as massaging the scars with a thick moisturizer or cocoa butter are beneficial. You can also try silicone-based gels or scar patches for raised scars. You can’t expect to eliminate the scars completely, but you can greatly improve their appearance with these techniques. Over time, your scars should naturally fade to pink and then white and flatten.

Will I Experience a Lot of Pain After the Procedure?

You may experience some discomfort after the procedure, but it should subside after about a week. Your plastic surgeon will advise you on pain medications you can take to manage the discomfort.

You are taking a big step with top masculinization surgery, and you don’t have to do it alone. Your plastic surgeon is a key partner in your journey. Take a look at our before and after gallery to see how we have helped many people achieve a more masculine-looking chest. If you are ready to see how we can help you through your journey, request a consultation or call us at (434) 924-1234 to schedule an appointment.

Leave a Reply

Fields marked with * are required.