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Recovering from FTM Top Surgery

As with any surgery, there is a recovery period following female-to-male top surgery. Dr. Delgado has put together this information page to give you a better idea of what to expect during your recovery from FTM top surgery.


FTM top surgery is performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. After you wake up from surgery, it’s normal to feel quite groggy and confused. You’ll remain in a recovery suite for a few hours until Dr. Delgado determines that you are well enough to return home. A friend or family member must drive you home, as you will not be able to drive for the first 2 days.

During top surgery, Dr. Delgado will remove breast tissue and excess skin and may need to reposition or resize your nipples. As such, you should expect to feel sore after your surgery and will need to limit movement of the upper body. You should plan to spend the first 48 hours at home, resting quietly. Don’t try to lift anything and avoid using your upper body and arms as much as possible. Be sure to change bandages and take all medications as directed by Dr. Delgado.



After the first 48 hours, you can resume light physical activities, like walking around the house or neighborhood. This will help swelling subside more quickly and reduce the risk of blood clots. You will not be able to take a shower until your drains are removed, which typically occurs 3-4 days after surgery. In the meantime, you can take sponge baths, but avoid getting any water on your wounds.


You’ll be able to slowly resume physical activities over the coming weeks, but should avoid any activity that makes you sweat for at least 3 weeks. It’s also best not to lift anything heavier than 5 pounds for the first month. While the majority of bruising and swelling will dissipate in the first month, it’s normal for a small amount of swelling to linger for several months.



Most of our San Francisco patients choose to take 7 – 10 days off from work following their top surgery. If you have a desk job, you may feel well enough to resume working after 1 week. Patients who have very physical jobs may need to request up to 3 weeks off work after surgery.


Here are Dr. Delgado’s guidelines for when you can begin resuming physical activities after your surgery:

  • Walking around house or neighborhood at a leisurely pace – 48 hours
  • Light housework – 1 week
  • Light physical exercise – 3 weeks
  • Vigorous physical activities and weight-bearing exercises – 6 weeks


It can take up to 18 months to fully recovery from FTM top surgery. You will have a pretty good idea of your new chest shape within 6 – 9 months, but it takes longer for scars to flatten out and fade. Some amount of scarring will always be visible, but Dr. Delgado takes great care to minimize scarring as much as possible.


Our experienced team is here to support you during the recovery process. Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions or concerns while you are recovering. If you experience any of the following complications, please contact us ASAP:

  • Signs of infections (fever, pus)
  • Pain that is not responding to your prescribed pain medications
  • Excessive bleeding

Dr. Delgado will see you in his San Francisco or Novato office for follow up appointments in the weeks and months following your surgery. He will continue to meet with you until you are fully recovered to ensure that you achieve an optimal result.

We’re here to help you prepare for top surgery It’s perfectly normal to have questions or feel anxious before any surgery. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or doubts before your top surgery. Our experienced team is here to help and provide reassurance as needed Virtual Consultations. Click to Learn More
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