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From time to time, patients who undergo gynecomastia surgery come in for their 1 month follow up and say that they feel a firm, rope-like structure on their abdomen or chest. They usually say they noticed it around 2-4 weeks after surgery. Sometimes it is painful, sometimes not. Obviously they are very concerned especially because in some cases it occurs in an area which did not even undergo surgery.
The most important thing I can do is to reassure them. What they are referring to is Mondor’s cords or thrombophlebitis. This is an inflammation of the superficial veins that run under the skin in the upper abdomen and chest. They can become inflamed which leads to that hard rope- like feel. Mondor’s cords typically resolve on their own, although sometimes anti-inflammatories can be helpful with symptoms of pain. Below is an example of a patient of mine who underwent gynecomastia surgery without any procedures on his abdomen. One can see the Mondor’s cords on the image on the left at 4 weeks post-surgery. At his 3 month visit they are completely gone.
To learn more about gynecomastia surgery and to see before and after photographs, visit www.losangelesgynecomastia.org.