Recovery Following Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction recovery is a critical part of the process, and proper at-home care can help you heal comfortably and safely. Whether you are planning to undergo a natural or implant-based reconstruction, it is our goal to help you achieve a smooth and speedy recovery. Dr. Ravi Tandon and his team in New Orleans, LA, can help prepare you for the healing period and monitor you throughout to evaluate your progress. We understand that choosing to undergo breast reconstruction is an important decision, and we are here to guide you through your journey.
Recovery in the First Six Weeks
The healing period will vary from patient to patient and will depend on many different factors, including the technique used and your body's natural rate of healing. Patients who receive implants typically stay at the hospital overnight, while those who undergo natural reconstruction usually remain at the hospital for three nights.
Most women can expect to return to their daily routine four to six weeks after surgery.
During the first six weeks, you will meet several times with Dr. Tandon to monitor your recovery. If you have received a tissue expander, he can add more saline or air during these visits. Over the next several weeks, the incisions will begin to heal and the swelling will subside, making it easier to resume your normal activities. Most women can expect to return to their daily routine four to six weeks later.
It is common to experience soreness, numbness, swelling, and bruising for two to three weeks after surgery. Pain medication can help to alleviate any discomfort. You should refrain from smoking, use sunscreen when you are outdoors, and also:
- Encourage proper circulation: Even though it may be difficult for the first couple of days, it is important to take short walks around your home every two to three hours to encourage healing.
- Keep your head and chest elevated: Use pillows to raise your back, and elevate your knees if you have undergone a flap procedure. You should also avoid sleeping on your side or stomach for three weeks.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Every two hours, you should drink at least eight ounces of water. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
- Keep surgical drains clean: Before you leave the hospital, you will be taught how to clean and care for any drains that have been placed at the incision site.
- Avoid heavy lifting: Minimizing pressure on the treatment site will ensure minimal scarring.
- Refrain from driving: You will need to avoid driving for two weeks to protect the surgical site.
- Do not wear an underwire bra: Avoid wearing an underwire bra for six weeks to allow for proper healing.
- Refrain from sexual activity: This tip is important to follow for the first three weeks.
Dr. Tandon can take the time to explain common side effects as well as signs of infection or complications. If you are experiencing any excessive bleeding or pain, or have any other questions at all, please contact us. If you have chest pain, trouble breathing, loss of consciousness, or any other medical emergency, contact 911 immediately.
Schedule an Appointment
Breast reconstruction can transform your appearance and confidence after a mastectomy. You can learn more about what to expect following breast reconstruction during a visit to our office. Please send us a message or call (504)455-1000 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Tandon.