Details & Requirements for FTM and Non-binary Top Surgery


We are able to offer both types of top surgery drainless! Dr. Gallagher uses a technique that allows her to leave you without drains after surgery. Going drainless improves overall healing, reduces chance of infection and is overall far more comfortable for you.

Why are drains placed anyway?

Drains are placed to get rid of fluid (serum) that your body produces whenever a space is made, in this case where the breast tissue has been removed from. If that fluid is left in there it will cause swelling take a long time to go away and may get infected.

Why do we try to avoid placing drains?

Patients hate drains! Patients complain they are the uncomfortable part of the process. If drains are placed they must stay in until they stop draining which is usually about 2 weeks (or longer!).

If drains are left in for a long time there is we know that bacteria can “crawl” up there and cause infections. For this reason most surgeons will keep patients on antibiotics while the drains are in. Antibiotics can cause diarrhea and thrush.

How do you get away without placing drains?

If there is no space left behind there is no need to place a drain. To simplify we get rid of the space by using a technique of placing multiple internal stitches to “tack down” the tissue. It takes a little longer to do (15-25 mins.) but we believe it’s worth it.

With Drains

Without Drains

How long do I have to stay in the hospital?

Most of our top surgery procedures are done as outpatient, meaning you go home the same day as your surgery. Due to other medical circumstances Dr. Gallagher may choose to keep you as an ‘observation’ patient. This means you are admitted to the hospital and released 23 hours after your admission. In very rare circumstances, we will keep you beyond 23 hours.

  • I live in the Indianapolis area
    You will be sent home and will follow up in clinic 3-7 days after surgery with Dr. Gallagher or with our PA to have your nipple bolsters removed. We will plan your first post-op visit when you are discharged.
  • I live outside of Indianapolis
    If you do not live in the Indianapolis area Dr. Gallagher will ask that you spend the first 24 hours here in case of complications, she and our plastic surgery residents are nearby to treat you. We can provide you with discounted hotel information if you will need it. You will be scheduled to follow up to clinic 3-7 days after surgery.

General Pre-Operative Information

The following information is meant for your general information. When the time edges closer to your surgery date, we will issue you further detailed instructions. Items may be individualized as patient needs vary.

As of May 1st, 2018 we are no longer requiring our FTM and Non-Binary Top Surgery Masculoplasty patients to stop or withhold their Testosterone prior to surgery! You may continue your regular schedule regarding your Hormone Replacement Therapy. This new rule change currently only applies to our FTM and Non-Binary patients who are having top surgery. All other procedures for our FTM, Non-Binary and MTF patients are still subject to pausing their HRT at this time.

We have determined this to be medically safe and are happy to discuss more about why we made this change during your consultation or by contacting us at anytime!


Post-Operative Information

This portion is meant to give you general information about your post-op healing time. Once your surgery has been scheduled, you will be issued greater detail on the items of importance.

Time off work

Dr. Gallagher will ask that with top surgery you take 2 weeks off work to allow for adequate healing before you are back to your regular schedule. For the first few days to week after leaving the hospital we will ask that you have someone home with you to help with anything you may need.

  • Things to consider with your time off is having enough savings to be able to take the required time off work and still manage your bills and other financial responsibilities comfortably.
  • If you are able to take FMLA at your job we will fill out all necessary documents for you and file them back to your employer. Please do this well in advance of your surgery date to allow enough time for us to process these for you. We prefer that these be emailed or faxed to us to complete. Waiting until the last minute to file for time off may cause your surgery to be delayed or not being paid while you are off work.

Things to plan for

  • Additional appointments include: 1 post-op three to seven days after surgery, 1 six weeks after surgery, 1 six months after surgery and 1 twelve months after surgery. If you have complications after surgery this plan may change for you. You may also see our Physician’s Assistant, Ashley Jacob, instead of Dr. Gallagher on occasion.
  • Meal prepping, meal delivery services and friends willing to help you with meals after surgery will make things much smoother. Maintaining a healthy diet after surgery is strongly recommended.
  • You will not be able to lift, push, pull more than 5-10 lbs. for about 6 weeks after surgery.
  • You will not be allowed to drive for at least the first week post-surgery. You will need to arrange for help in getting to and from appointments as needed.
  • Whoever will be staying with you to help during surgery should be some-one dependable who will be able to stay with you during the entire time you need help. If you do not have someone that can stay with you please let us know so we can work to get you the appropriate support.