There is not much written about gynecomastia surgery and Mondor’s disease. I prefer using the word “condition” rather than disease because disease sounds so terrible and makes it seem worse than it is. The condition is benign (not harmful) and self-limited, which basically means it will go away on its own – sort of like a pimple. In my vast experience with gynecomastia, I have concluded that this condition is fairly common after gynecomastia treatment and is the second most common surgery-related “issue” that I deal with (seroma being the most common).
Mondor’s disease is characterized by inflammation veins in the chest, or “thrombophlebitis” and is not uncommon after gynecomastia treatment that involves multiple Zones of the chest. The most common clinical manifestations are painful subcutaneous cords, induration (hardening) of the tissues and skin tightness.
If a patient develops Mondor’s after surgery, it is seen about 1 week after treatment. When considering my chest zone analysis, patients who had treatment of multiple zones are more prone for developing Mondor’s. This could also simply be related to the fact that I am treating more areas of the chest and therefore there is more inflammation or that I am operating close to the armpit area which can irritate the lymphatics that are concentrated in this area. Maybe it’s the use of the compression garments that I use during gynecomastia surgery recovery. The cause could be related to one or more of these scenarios, but more research is needed.
Patients with Mondor’s present themselves a bit differently from others when I see them. They appear to be more uncomfortable than usual and do not move their chest and body like those without it. They are slower and more careful in their movements because it hurts when they move. Raising the arms above the head is particularly painful, as this stretches the veins. It is possible to see “cords” or “strings” under the skin when stretching and can look similar to guitar strings. These are the inflamed and hardened veins that are visible just under the skin.
Untreated Mondor’s condition will resolve on its own. However, I prefer to treat patients because Mondor’s is painful, delays the healing process and may even compromise the gynecomastia surgery result. Treatment includes taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) like Aleve or Motrin (1 tablet, 3 times a day with food for 7-10 days). Relief is typically immediate, inflammation will subside and range of motion will improve. In some cases, I will often prescribe the use of Motrin or Aleve immediately after treatment for patients that I suspect are at high risk for developing Mondor’s.
Treatment will make your chest feel less uncomfortable and tight and will also allow your tissues to heal faster, which is a big deal to me. I want my patients to heal as fast as possible after gynecomastia surgery, especially during the first two weeks. I don’t want them to have residual inflammation and induration that delays recovery and may interfere with the natural and normal healing process.
At Austin Gynecomastia Center, decades of experience and my patient-first philosophy ensure that you are in good hands whether you develop Mondor’s disease or not. Find out more about gynecomastia surgery with a free online consultation and begin your journey to a life without gynecomastia today.
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