A very common question that I am asked by my patients who either are having or who just had top surgery is “When can I shower?”
It is an excellent question but also one that does not have a single straightforward answer that applies to all patients. Furthermore, the specifics will depend on the time after surgery, the surgical procedure that the person is having/had undergone and particulars related to each individual patient.
Finally, recommendations will vary among plastic surgeons – so keep that in mind.
Let’s look at this based on procedure and various time periods following surgery.
FTM and FTN Top Surgery – Surgical Dressing in Place
Following your FTM or FTN top surgery, the initial surgical dressing will be in place for around two to three days before it is removed in the office and replaced with a supportive garment. During this period of time, you can take sponge baths which should be relatively easy to do. If you want to take a shower, you must be extremely careful not to get the dressing wet as this can impact the surgical outcome. The water should be directed well below the dressing and not anywhere near it.
FTM and FTN – After Removal of Surgical Dressing
Once the dressing is removed, it will be far easier to take a shower though specific precautions need to be taken based on the particular procedure and the time after surgery.
Double Incision Free Nipple Graft:
With the large dressing removed, you can take a shower but only involving your back and your abdomen and below until the dressing is removed from the new nipple-areola complex site (bolus dressing) which is usually around two weeks.
Until that point in time, DO NOT GET YOUR CHEST WET!
Between two and four weeks, you can get everything wet but do not let the shower water directly hit on your nipple areola complex. Let your chest air dry. Do not rub or pat dry your chest, especially your nipples.
At one month, the only restriction regarding showering is to be gentle when drying your nipples for another two to three weeks.
Keyhole, Concentric Circle and No Nipple Graft Techniques:
After the initial surgical dressing is removed, you can shower with the only restriction being keeping the surgical tapes (Steri-Strips) dry. Following their complete removal at around two to three week there will no longer be any showering restrictions.
MTF Top Surgery – Surgical Dressing in Place
After your MTF top surgery, your surgical dressing will be on for around two to three days until your first postoperative visit in the office. During this period, you can take a sponge bath and keep the dressing dry. If you want to take a shower you need to be very careful not to get the dressing wet.
MTF – After Removal of Surgical Dressing
After the surgical dressing is removed, it will be far easier to take a shower as the only dressing on your skin will be the Steri-Strips. Keep these dry when showering. This can be accomplished by simply taping a plastic dressing (like Saran wrap) over the Steri-Strips.
Once these tapes are removed at two to three weeks you can shower normally.
And there you go…
If you have any questions about this or anything else that we can help you with, you can contact our office by phone at (480) 451-3000 or by email.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona