Breast Reconstruction Recovery Timeline

By Ravi Tandon, M.D. on November 18, 2018

Breast reconstruction healingIf a woman undergoes a mastectomy to help combat breast cancer, breast reconstruction is an essential procedure to help rebuild the breasts, ensuring a feel of wholeness and wellness. Dr. Ravi Tandon had helped countless women in the greater New Orleans, LA area by performing advanced breast reconstruction surgery, always with a focus on patient care, natural results, and compassion.

Right now, we want to focus on the recovery process associated with breast reconstruction surgery. This should give you an idea of what the process is like and why careful adherence to post-op instructions is essential.

Taking Time Off from Work

Recovering from breast reconstruction takes time, and will generally require several weeks for patients to return to normal activities. Depending on the nature of your job, you will need to take up to six weeks off from work. The exact time will be determined by the nature of your job and the type of surgery you underwent. During the consultation process, we can discuss your return to work and other expectations.

Immediately Following Surgery

Immediately following breast reconstruction surgery, you will experience pain and discomfort as the local anesthetic wears off. Grogginess is also common as the effects of the general anesthesia wears off. You will be in the hospital for medical monitoring after the surgery before being able to return home. Usually that means a day or two in the hospital, though more days may be needed if you underwent flap reconstruction.

The First Weeks of Recovery

During the first three weeks of surgery, you will experienced soreness around the chest as well as bruising and swelling. These side effects are normal responses to the surgery and will resolve as you heal. Pain medication and bed rest will help reduce the severity of these side effects. Drainage tubes will be in place to help reduce swelling and prevent fluid accumulation around the chest.

A follow-up visit or two will be scheduled during these initial weeks after surgery to check on your recovery progress and ensure you are not suffering from any complications.

The First Month After Surgery

By the end of the first month, breast reconstruction patients should notice major improvements in bruising, swelling, and discomfort. By this point, patients will notice that they have regained strength and can return to many activities before surgery. Physical therapy may be recommended for patients in order to steadily rebuild strength of the chest muscles, and help with the gradual return to normal activities.

If you experience any stress or emotional strain during this early part of recovery, rest assured that this is normal. Speaking with loved ones or a counselor can be helpful for the full recovery process.

Three Months After Surgery

Around three months after breast surgery, patients typically undergo nipple reconstruction to help complete the reconstruction process. Additional adjustments to the breast reconstruction may be performed as needed as well. A brief recovery period from this surgery is normal, with bruising, swelling, and discomfort as side effects.

One Year After Surgery

By the end of a year, the follow-up visits will generally end as patients will have sufficiently healed from surgery. At this point, the scars from surgery will begin fading, and patients will experienced regained nipple sensation.

We are here with patients every step of the way, providing support and advice during the whole recovery process.

Learn More About Breast Reconstruction

For more information about breast reconstruction surgery and how it can benefit you, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic reconstructive surgeon. We look forward to your visit and discussing these matters in greater detail. Tandon Plastic Surgery can be reached by phone at (504) 455-1000.

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