FTM surgery is a major life-changing decision. It requires a significant amount of money and courage to go through both the actual operation and top surgery recovery process. Therefore, many patients want to make sure that it’s worth it and that the results are truly long-lasting. When they first come into McLean Clinic for consultation, one of their first questions would be, “Can breasts grow back after FTM surgery?”
In this article, we’ll tackle this interesting topic in more detail, explaining why the results of an FTM surgery is definitely permanent, how weight gain impacts chest masculinization, and how different workout and lifestyle strategies can enhance the results of your operation.
Let’s delve right in!
Female to male or FTM top surgery is a mastectomy and gender-affirming procedure that surgically removes breast tissues to achieve a masculine appearance in the chest area. One of the most prevalent FTM surgery myths is that the breasts tend to grow back if you gain weight or stop taking testosterone.
This is not true at all. Whether you had a keyhole or double-incision mastectomy, the breast tissues can never grow back once they’ve been surgically removed. During an FTM surgery, your doctor will take out approximately 95 percent of your breasts. If you notice post-surgery that there’s a little bit of tissue left, do not worry. It was intentionally done, so your chest looks proportionate and easier to contour than looking hollow with a concave appearance.
Rest assured that the results of your FTM surgery are permanent and irreversible. Nevertheless, significant weight fluctuations after the procedure can potentially impact how your chest looks. Again, this is not your feminine breasts growing back. It’s a natural consequence of weight gain or loss, which can happen even to men, thus the term “man boobs,” medically known as gynecomastia.
Check out these tips to maintain and further enhance the effects of FTM surgery.
Building muscles requires more calorie intake. According to Stonewall Fitness, most physically active men’s bodies demand anywhere between 15 to 17 calories per pound of body weight to maintain their form. Meaning, to gain one pound of muscle mass each week, you’ll have to really bulk up and add 3,500 total calories more into your usual weekly diet.
While there are many ways to incorporate these calories, they recommend consuming additional calories after each chest workout for optimal results. Eating them after a rigorous workout will help you regain your strength and energy back faster and make sure you won’t go hungry as quickly throughout the day.
Here’s a sample meal plan to give you an idea. It is based on a 180-pound guy’s diet on his workout days to bulk up for chest mass. You may need to tailor this according to your own body weight and workout routines.
Bulking up doesn’t necessarily mean going on an eating spree of everything you want. You still have to be cautious about what you eat and focus on what’s healthy. Remember, you want to watch your weight and your overall health as well.
Once you have fully recovered from your top surgery and received the surgeon’s approval to hit the gym, there are various workouts and weight training exercises that you can do to improve the results of your FTM surgery over time dramatically.
It’s best if you can hire a professional fitness training coach that can customize workout strategies and routines to meet your desired goals and take into account your safety, given your post-operative condition.
On the other hand, if you do not have the funds to hire a professional trainer, you can also do your research on YouTube or other places around the Internet for FTM chest workout routines. You’ll be surprised to find exercises that can be done at home without any equipment. An op-ed article on BarBend explains that this stems from experiences from transmasculine individuals and non-binary folks of gyms not being LGBTQ+-friendly, which is why someone who may have gone through an FTM surgery would hesitate to go to the gym and prefer to workout at home, instead.
If you are taking this route, we recommend that you exercise caution before doing any extreme workouts that can cause injury or impede your current recovery progress.
If you are in the preparation stage, working out and incorporating chest-focused exercises will wonders for your top surgery. With increased muscle mass or density, your surgeon will have a better experience contouring and achieving aesthetically impressive results.
Experts suggest putting a special focus on both strength training and chest work to obtain aesthetically pleasing but rewarding results. Strength exercises are proven effective in improving strength and muscle mass in the chest area while also working wonders for your post-FTM surgery healing and recovery. On the other hand, chest-focused workouts improve strength and overall body posture while reducing your risk from injuries.
Here are simple upper-body workouts that you can start doing everyday even at home include:
You can also incorporate reverse fly, external rotations, bicep curls and tricep extensions to enhance your muscles on the back, shoulders, and arms. This is going to give your chest a more masculine and proportionate appearance.
After an FTM top surgery, it’s understandable that you will become so inspired in building up more muscle and jump into an intensive training program filled with chest-focused workouts. But as with anything in life, too much of it can be bad for you, too. It poses risks from potential injuries from bench pressing or lifting more than your post-operative body can handle. It also increases your chances of burning yourself out from excessive training. This is why a professional fitness coach is important because he can prep you with muscle conditioning exercises first and prevent any mishaps.
To err on the side of caution, here are some FTM top surgery workout safety tips to keep in mind.
When you are so focused on building your upper body, it’s easy to completely neglect to do lower body exercises, which is equally important. It plays a huge role in improving your posture and complements your upper body efforts by making it look natural and proportionate to other areas of your body.
For best results, alternate upper and lower body exercises. Dedicate a leg day to do squats, lunges, and deadlifts, which train a lot of important muscle groups. Depending on your level of conditioning, lower body exercises are usually recommended twice to three times a week at most.
Dr. Hugh McLean is a qualified plastic surgeon with specialties in gender-affirming procedures. If you are looking to get your FTM surgery in Canada, we encourage you to book a free consultation with McLean Clinic now!